Lake St. Peter Provincial Park

Length of stay1 day
May 2021

Lake St. Peter Provincial Park is located along Lake St. Peter in Hastings County. It’s a relatively small park that offers car camping at 65 campsites, features two sandy beaches for swimming and boating and has two hiking trails through the forest.

Most provincial parks in Ontario officially opened yesterday. We pulled into Lake St. Peter just after 10:30a.m and stopped at the Park Office to pick up a visitor’s guide and buy a park crest. Unfortunately because of the revised rules around the stay-at-home order, only essential items can be purchased in person. Doesn’t the government know that my obsession to collect all the park crests is essential!?

We hopped back in the car and parked across from the Park Office. After covering ourselves with a layer of bug spray and sunscreen (just in case), we walked down to the beach to check it out. The beach has a nice sandy shore and a shallow swimming area that was marked off by buoys. Too bad the water was too cold.

There are two hiking trails at Lake St. Peter and both originate from the trailhead located on the other side of the Park Office from where we parked. The trails are connected to form a longer loop. Shortly after starting there’s a helpful map of the trails located along the path.

We first hiked along the Lookout Trail (2.5km, rated strenuous), which leads up (key word being up) through the forest to a scenic lookout of the surrounding area including Lake St. Peter and Kettle Pond. We’re glad we visited during the spring before the leaves could obstruct the views.

Shortly after the scenic lookout there is a junction. We kept to the left to then hike along the Cabin Trail (4km, rated strenuous). Those that have had enough of the rough conditions on trail can opt out by turning right to finish the loop around the Lookout Trail.

Both trails are signed with blue markers with a hiker symbol. The paths are narrow and neither looked very well used. Granted it’s still early in the season. But if it weren’t for the trail markers there was no way we could have navigated these trails.

The Cabin Trail was in worse shape than the Lookout Trail. It’s reputed to pass by the remains of “Ole Joe’s” cabin, but it wasn’t clear where this was. Perhaps we were too busy looking down at the path to ensure we didn’t trip over any rocks, roots or fallen branches. The Cabin Trail connects back with the Lookout Trail. We followed the remaining part of the loop through the forest and along the shore of Kettle Pond.

The trail then leads to the main road. We followed this for a couple hundred metres back to the parking area. By the time we wrapped up our hike darker clouds were rolling in, which was a good sign for us to head back to the cabin.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

53 thoughts on “Lake St. Peter Provincial Park

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I am terrible with directions, so I appreciate a well-signed trail. The trails at this park were in rough shape when we visited and it wasn’t always clear where the path continued, so we relied quite a bit on the trail markers. Despite the tough terrain, it was still an enjoyable hike with nice views of the surrounding area. Thanks for reading.

  1. kagould17 says:

    Too bad about the park crest. I think we are still learning what is essential these days. Looks like some decent hikes, but I am always a bit leery of overgrown or under utilized trails. We found a few in NZ like that and simply opted not to take them. I mean what if nobody comes along to carry my body out? Ha Ha. I always like the lakes in Ontario, so much cleaner with their rocky bottoms as opposed to the shallow sandy lakes here. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m still a bit annoyed that I couldn’t purchase the park crest since the only way to obtain it is by visiting the park in person (you can’t purchase them online). But hey, I guess safety first, right? I guess this means that we’ll just have to return at some point, perhaps when the weather is warmer so we could go for a swim. I totally agree about underutilized trails. I’m glad we visited during the spring before the trail became overgrown with vegetation and bushwacking would likely have been required considering how narrow the “path” was. Then there’s the concern about ticks, which are becoming a growing problem here in southern Ontario. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend as well. Take care.

  2. Little Miss Traveller says:

    Kettle Pond looks peaceful and very pretty in the sunshine. What a delightful name it has! So pleased you timed your walk whilst it was still sunny. It’s gorgeous here and we’ve just got off a train at the start of a little holiday so we’re very happy. Just having a late pub lunch before dropping our bags off at the hotel. Have a great weekend too! Marion.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Much of the trail is through the forest so it was a real surprise when it passed by Kettle Pond. There is no shortage of kettle ponds and kettle lakes in Ontario, many of which are just named “Kettle Pond” or “Kettle Lake”. They were formed by blocks of ice left behind by retreating glaciers. Enjoy your little holiday, it’s always good to get away. Take care.

  3. Rose Vettleson says:

    Do you see much wildlife on your Park Challenge? Is there anything you have to be concerned about or prepared for, like bear, wolves, etc… I’m curious about the wildlife you’ve encountered. In our local Minnesota area, we have to stay aware – not frightened, but aware. Last summer my granddaughter and I went for a walk near our home. On our way back, a bear crossed the road in front of us. I immediately prayed she would not scream or attract the bear’s attention. She was very calm, and we simply walked backwards to a neighbor’s home to warn their children, who were playing outside, that a bear was near. We were so fortunate to not have a confrontation.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Usually it’s just birds, squirrels and chipmunks that we see along the trail. Last summer when we took a road trip through Northern Ontario we came across larger forms of wildlife like bears and moose while visiting a few of the parks (mostly from the side of the road when we were driving). We are definitely more aware and alert when visiting remote parks outside of the city and try to leave nothing out in the open when we’re camping. I’m happy to hear that your granddaughter didn’t attract the bear’s attention. It always helps to stay calm and collected.

  4. Pierregy says:

    I’m enjoying your park adventures. Since so much camping has been cancelled this year it’s wonderful to see the parks through your eyes. Thanks, P

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks. Our challenge of trying to visit as many of Ontario’s provincial parks as we can has certainly given us something to do and look forward to during this pandemic. It’s too bad that camping has been closed. We had a few trips planned in April (to beat the crowds and the bugs), but of course all of those were cancelled as part of the stay-at-home-order. We have a few road trips planned this summer and fall, so we’re hoping it opens back up again soon. The only issue now is that everyone else is interested in camping too and it’s become challenging to reserve campsites at many of our favourite places. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Right!? Thankfully St. Peter’s Lake PP isn’t too far from our cabin. I guess this means we’ll just have to return to collect our park crest and perhaps go for a swim in the lake.

  5. Ab says:

    “Doesn’t the government know that my obsession to collect all the park crests is essential!?”

    Another reason not to vote for them! 😂🤣🤣

    That beach looks so very inviting. I love the color, clarity of that water. Can’t wait to jump in this summer!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      LOL!! Don’t even get me started on our current government! It’s too bad that it was too cold to go for a swim when we visited, but we’ll obviously have to return at some point to pick up that park crest, so maybe we’ll have an opportunity then. We’re planning to visit a few parks along Lake Erie today and might even go for a swim since it’s so hot and humid outside.

      • Ab says:

        We’re trying Darlington today and bringing out swim stuff. At the very least, dip our toes in. Will let you know how it goes. 🙂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Yesterday was definitely a beach day! It was nice being by the water, even a bit chilly at times because of the breeze rolling off of the lake. We didn’t end up going swimming but I did dip my feet in the water. Hope you had a great time at Darlington and managed to find a parking spot.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ontario has a surprising number of nice sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming. It was way too cold to go for dip when we visited, but who knows, we might end up returning later in the summer. And agreed, adventure definitely is food for the heart. Thanks for reading. Take care.

  6. ourcrossings says:

    What a lovely place to explore! If I lived in Ontario I would most likely collect all of the crests available at the parks I’ve camped/hiked at. And I love how America’s National Park patches can be ironed or sewn onto jackets, bags, hats, and more, and wish we had something similar in Ireland too. Maybe one day Aiva 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ontario Parks introduced their park crests a few years ago and each one has its own design reflecting the park’s identity. They are very well designed and come in the form of either a sticker, patch or on a t-shirt. It’s a great way to motivate people to try to visit all the various parks and collect them all. Who knows, maybe Ireland will start to do the same. Take care.

  7. Planet Paul says:

    That looks like a good one. I’d be tempted by a swim! It looks like there’s great variety on the trail.

    I personally get sunburned even when the clouds are grey, so it’s always worth putting on. If you don’t then… you might pay the price!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Lake St. Peter is a relatively small and quiet park. It’s nice how there weren’t too many people when we visited. It’s too bad that it was still a bit too cold outside to go for a swim. Now that we’re under a heat warning, I would sure love to go for a swim in the lake now! And yes, it’s always good to be prepared for the sun and bugs!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Lake St. Peter PP was a great spot to spend the day, especially since there weren’t too many other people around. It’s always nice to go for a swim after a hike, but unfortunately it was still too cold outside when we visited. Toronto is currently under a heat warning and it sure would be nice to go for a swim now!

  8. winteroseca says:

    Park crests are definitely essential! How dare they stop you! Looks like you picked a beautiful day to do that hike!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Right!? Especially since you can’t even buy them online. The only way to pick up a park crest is by visiting the park in person. Oh well, it’ll give us an excuse to return someday. And yes, it was a lovely day to go for a hike. It rained later in the afternoon after we had finished exploring, so the timing worked out well.

      • winteroseca says:

        I find it can be a good thing not to buy them online. I have seen some pretty exploitative and/or weird stuff out there

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s true. It makes it more special to only purchase the crests in person. I’m happy to say that our stay-at-home order was lifted a few days ago and we were able to purchase a park crest from two of the parks we visited this weekend!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The trail was in rough shape and gave us quite the workout, but we were up for the challenge. Overall it took us just over an hour to complete both trails. Luckily the bugs weren’t out yet, just the sun.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks!! The view of Kettle Pond was easily one of the highlights from our hike. By the time we wrapped up our hike, the sun was no longer out and it became overcast. I’m glad we visited during the morning as it ended up raining later in the afternoon. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  9. Lookoom says:

    If you come back to this park maybe you will have some more information about Ole Joe and his cabin. Living in a remote area of the woods is still a fascinating thing.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Definitely. I’ll need to come back to this park anyway to pick up its park crest, so we might as well hike the trails again to search for the remains of this cabin. And agreed, it seems so peaceful to live in a remote area of the woods. Too bad Ole Joe didn’t set up shop next to the lake though because that would have been even better.

  10. Janet says:

    It looks like the bench was a nice place to sit and gaze out at the lake, even if it’s a little obstructed. Can you buy the park crest on-line?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. It looks like a great spot to take a break, eat a snack and just enjoy the views. You can only buy the park crests in person, which in some ways makes it more special, but can certainly be frustrating during the pandemic due to closures and restrictions around what you can purchase in person. Our restrictions are finally starting to ease. Last weekend we visited a couple of provincial parks and were able to purchase their park crest.

  11. alisendopf says:

    What are these Park Crests you speak of? Does each park have their own logo??? If so, how incredibly cool is that? Are they stickers or like a patch you can sew onto something? You could do an entire blog about collecting these crests. Inquiring minds want to know!!! 🙂

    Oh my goodness! That beach! Sandy beaches and warm water. *sigh* It looks lovely. You’ll definitely need to return for a swim and your crest.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I have become obsessed with collecting them. A few years ago Ontario Parks came up with these park crests that come in the form of a sticker or a patch. There are 84 of them in total from some of the most popular parks in Ontario. Each one has a unique design that’s meant to be representative of that particular park. And you can only purchase them in person. It seemed fitting to try to collect as many as I can during our Ontario Parks Challenge. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them afterwards, but they’re really pretty. And yes, I will definitely have to do a post about them towards the end of the year to see how many I managed to snag. I’ll have to return to a few of the parks we visited in the off season or during the stay-at-home order, like St. Peter’s Lake, to pick up the crest.

  12. travelling_han says:

    Another beautiful hike – the lake looks so lovely in the sunshine. I can imagine sitting there for a while reading my book with a cup of tea – perfect 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to take a stroll through the forest, especially in the spring when the trees are starting to bud and there’s lots of greenery on the ground. It’s too bad that it was still a little cold outside as this lake looks like a great spot for swimming. I like that idea of sitting on the beach, reading a book and drinking a cup of tea. That does sound like an ideal way to spend the day.

  13. wetanddustyroads says:

    Beautiful lake … and a very nice beach. I bet this might be a popular place during summer! Ahh, those strenuous walks … but that normally indicates that there is a view somewhere UP there to enjoy 😊. And love the reflections of the trees and clouds in the water.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s been talk recently of expanding this park, which I’m all in favour of. It’s usually the challenging trails that are the most rewarding. It’s too bad it was still too cold when we visited, otherwise I would have loved to go for a swim after our hike. I guess this means we’ll just have to return sometime in the summer!

  14. kagould17 says:

    It looks like you had a great day for the hike. So nice to see the start of spring. I hear you guys are in Stage 3 now with more freedoms. We have been there since July 1, but are proceeding cautiously. Have a great weekend. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The path is narrow and the terrain a little rough, so I’m glad we visited earlier in the spring as I’m sure the trail is overgrown with vegetation during the summer. We’ll be entering Stage 3 earlier than expected on July 16th. This doesn’t impact us much as I typically don’t go to the types of stores or businesses that will be reopening then. It’s nice to see progress though and that more people are getting vaccinated. Take care.

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