Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: June 2021
Sauble Falls Provincial Park is located just north of Sauble Beach and is situated on an ancient coastal dune. Much of the sand for Sauble Beach is washed into Lake Huron by the Sauble River. This sand was deposited here thousands of years ago by the glacial Lake Nipissing. Sauble Falls offers camping and a hiking trail, but its main draw are its falls, which used to power a timber mill and generating station.
We booked the last week of June off to go on a road trip within Ontario. Public health measures have been gradually easing and after spending the past couple of weeks moving and unpacking, we were looking forward to having a break. We planned to spend the first night of our road trip at Sauble Falls (after cancelling the first two nights at Pinery Provincial Park due to a rainfall warning). After spending the day hiking at Morris Tract Provincial Nature Reserve and going for a swim at Inverhuron Provincial Park, we arrived at Sable Falls just before 6p.m. We drove to the Gatehouse to check in and collect our permit.
There are two campgrounds in Sauble Falls, the West Campground, which is a radio-free zone and the East Campground. Normally we try to book a site in the radio-free zone, but we decided to risk it for a site that backed onto the Sauble River.
We arrived at our site only to find that our neighbours were blasting their music, set-up one of their tents on the edge of our site and had taken our picnic table. This wouldn’t do. We immediately called the Park Office to complain and asked if we could switch sites. Luckily it was a Sunday evening and they had plenty of availability. The guy let us know which sites were empty so we drove around the West Campground (we’re taking no chances this time with the noise) and found a secluded site with no neighbours. While we were sad to give up our site along the river, we were happy to escape our noisy neighbours.
After eating dinner and setting up our tent, we headed out to check out the attractions in the park. There’s no rest of the wicked. We drove to the Gatehouse and parked at the parking lot behind it. From there it’s a short walk to get to the Sauble Falls Viewing Area, which features a couple of small platforms at various points along the falls.
At the last viewing platform we spotted a heron in the water.
We then walked through the East Campground to get to the trailhead for the Sauble Falls Trail (2.5km, rated easy). The entrance to the trail is located between sites #139 and #140. The trail loops through the forest and leads through an area of ancient dunes.
The landscape at Sauble Falls was shaped by the meeting of glaciers. When the water of Lake Nipissing receded for the last time about 5,000 years ago, a series of parallel dunes were left behind.
The trail is signed with blue markers with a hiker symbol and contains eight numbered posts that correspond with the information printed in the booklet at the trailhead.
The trail also weaves through a red pine plantation. As a result of early logging operations, much of the area around Sauble Falls became open sand plains. To help control the blowing sand, red pines were planted here in the early 1940s.
We wrapped up our hike at 8:30p.m and walked back to the parking lot. We checked out the viewing platform once more since there were fewer people around.
We then drove back to our site to get ready for bed. We had an early day ahead of us as we were planning to take the ferry to Manitoulin Island.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here