Sauble Falls Provincial Park

Length of stay1 day
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

66 thoughts on “Sauble Falls Provincial Park

  1. kagould17 says:

    Noisy inconsiderate camping neighbors can really ruin camping. Not sure why they think everyone needs to listen to their music when all we want to hear are nature’s sounds. The radio free zone should be the one with the best sites, as the radio users likely do not look at the view anyway. As to the hikes and scenery, they look well worth the effort. Great to sight a heron. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m glad we were able to switch sites at least. This is exactly why I usually try to reserve a site in the radio-free zone (if offered). I like your point about how they should be the ones with the best sites! I learned my lesson for next time to not risk it. Spotting the heron at the falls was such a real treat! Thanks for reading. Linda

  2. Diana says:

    Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than inconsiderate neighbors. Glad you guys were able to change sites. Even just walking down the stairs to the river looks like a fun experience! Cool to spot a heron as well. I can’t wait to read about your trip to Manitoulin Island!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Totally. All it takes is one noisy group of people to ruin it for the entire campground. I’m so glad we visited early in the season and on a Sunday as there were still plenty of sites available. Sauble Falls is a relatively small park, but is definitely worth the visit to view the falls. Spotting the heron was such a bonus. I loved loved loved our time in Manitoulin Island and we’re already making plans to return for longer next summer.

  3. Ab says:

    We’ve heard and seen only great things about Sauble Falls. It’s great you got to go and get another crest. It looks wonderful there!

    Noisy campground neighbours are the worst. I can’t stand the inconsiderate ones who act like they own the entire site. 😑 Glad you complained and got moved to a quieter spot! 👍

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Sauble Falls is a fairly small park, but the views of the falls alone are worth the visit. Plus it’s also near Sauble Beach. I hate noisy campers, especially late at night. They can sometimes ruin the whole trip. It seems like Ontario Parks have been taking noise complaints very seriously this year. We camped at Arrowhead a few weeks ago and I complained about someone playing music in the radio-free zone and the park ranger wrote up a ticket for that site right in front of me. Since camping has become more popular this summer, there have been a lot of new campers who aren’t aware of the proper camping etiquette. While it’s great for people to try something new, it sometimes brings out the worst in people’s behaviour (e.g. leaving their trash behind, playing music loudly, trying to feed the wildlife). Makes me wonder whether we should just buy a camper van or something!

      • Ab says:

        Arrowhead is another beautiful park that’s on my list to check out. I really do miss camping – but can’t quite go yet due to the shared washroom situation. Next year hopefully!

        The littering pisses me off so much. We saw so much beer cans and bottles, candy and chip wrappers during our recent trip and it just irritates me how people can’t do their part to keep these natural resources litter free. Rant over. 🤣

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The nice thing about Arrowhead is that it’s open all-year round. I bet it’s quite lovely in the fall when the leaves are changing colour. But yah, the washroom situation can be hit or miss. I find they are much cleaner in the parks in Northern Ontario, likely because there are less visitors!

        Littering makes me so mad too. Clearly these litter bugs don’t appreciate nature very much if they just leave their trash everywhere. We’ve started picking up garbage on the trails this summer. We’ve never had to before because it hasn’t been a big issue until now.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Sauble Falls is a fairly small park, but provides great viewpoints of the falls and features a nice hiking trail through ancient sand dunes. It’s also located near Sauble Beach, which is a super nice sandy beach on Lake Huron. Hopefully you’re able to visit someday as this is such a beautiful area in Ontario.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. No one wants to camp next to noisy people. I’d much rather have some peace and quiet and just enough the sounds of nature. I’m glad we were able to switch sites and that we did it straight away before setting up our tent or anything. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m glad we didn’t wait it out and decided right away to move sites before we set up our tent. I have no regrets about giving up our nice site by the river to go somewhere quiet! That’s one of the reasons why we like to go camping, it’s to get some rest and relaxation and just enjoy nature (not someone’s terrible music)! One of the perks to hiking later in the day (or first thing in the morning) is that we usually have the trail all to ourselves!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Sauble Falls is quite impressive and definitely a great reason to create a park here. I love the sound of rushing water. It definitely is a great way to calm the mind and block out the noise.

  4. Vignesh M says:

    Sorry to hear that you had to encounter noisy neighbors. It’s definitely not the point you expect in the place. Glad you found a place to be with Nature and hear the natural sounds ie of lake and waterfalls. I may never get a chance to explore this part of country but I can virtually go to these places from your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s never fun to camp next to noisy people and it usually puts me in a bad mood (especially if it interferes with my sleep). Thankfully the campgrounds weren’t fully booked and we were able to easily switch sites. Ontario is a lovely place to spend time outdoors, especially in the north along Lake Superior. I feel fortunate that we’ve been able to spend time in all these green spaces during the pandemic. Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment.

  5. Christie says:

    I don’t really understand these kind of people, putting loud music is defeating the purpose of going into the nature.. but the rest looks awesome, a great park. I’m really impressed with that blue heron standing in the middle of the river. I normally saw them in calm waters😊
    Love the badges you’re collecting, how many so far?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Same. Why bother coming camping if you’re just going to blast your music all day? Just hang out in your backyard or something. I still can’t get over that they also took our picnic table. As if we wouldn’t have noticed! Thankfully we were able to switch sites right away! Seeing the heron in the falls was such a pleasant surprise! To date I’ve collected 37 badges so far this year. We’re heading back to Northern Ontario for two weeks in the beginning of September so I’ll definitely be adding to the collection!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I looked up some pictures of the Ausable Chasm and it looks beautiful. It’s incredible to think how much of our landscape has been shaped by the glaciers. They definitely left us some amazing rock formations and scenery!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. It’s amazing how soothing the sound of rushing water is. I sometimes put on white noise to fall asleep and usually pick something water-related, like rain or the sound of waves.

  6. ourcrossings says:

    Wow, what a beautiful place to explore and the falls are so wide! The river looks like a perfect place for canoes, long exposure photos and fishing. When the water levels drop during the dry month it could be fun to cross the falls from one side to another one – we have a similar type of waterfall in Sligo, and that’s what we usually do in the summertime! Thanks for sharing and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The falls are definitely the real highlight of this park. There apparently is a 18km canoe route through here, although it seems challenging as there are a few sections of rapids. Not sure I’m that confident in my paddling abilities! That’s neat that you have a similar type of waterfall in Sligo and are able to cross to the other side when the water levels drop. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your week. Linda

  7. carol hopkins says:

    Such beautiful images! I am glad you were able to get a more secluded spot, even though you had to give up your view of the river. Ontario has such beautiful parks, I’ve only visited a handful but enjoyed them all. Enjoy the rest of your summer!!!!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. I’m so happy that we were able to switch sites so quickly and without any further issues. I can’t stand being next to noisy neighbours! I feel so fortunate that we have so many beautiful parks to explore in Ontario. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors and get some fresh air and exercise! Take care. Linda

  8. winteroseca says:

    That is so cool that you saw a heron! Those campers sound really bad though. How are you feeling about the easing restrictions in Ontario?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was a real treat to see the heron in the falls. I’m so glad we were able to switch sites otherwise I’m sure it would have been a sleepless night. I still can’t get over that they took our picnic table and didn’t bother returning it when we arrived. Cases have started to rise in Ontario, which has me worried. I’d rather have a slower reopening rather than doing it quickly only to shut it back down again. I don’t think many people will tolerate another lockdown. How are things on your neck of the woods?

      • winteroseca says:

        Cases are rising too and the Alberta government is trying to get rid of testing, contact tracing and just not listening to the evidence that you should wear a mask indoors! People are protesting and also worried about their kids going back to school. It’s bad

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That sounds terrible. I heard on the news that Canada has entered a fourth wave. It’s crazy how despite this some provinces are still easing restrictions or getting rid of testing and contact tracing. It’s complete chaos. I’m glad I’m fully vaccinated now, which gives me some peace of mind, but I’m not looking forward to yet another inevitable lockdown …

      • winteroseca says:

        Hopefully it won’t have to come to a lockdown. I’m still wearing a mask indoors and on main roads. Although I think now a federal election has been called, they might be backtracking to make themselves look good

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Fingers crossed. I’m a bit surprised that Trudeau is calling for a snap election. Seems like there are other priorities to deal with (like COVID or the wildfires). Voting should be … interesting.

      • winteroseca says:

        Well, I am going to be taking a tech break when voting starts. I can’t deal right now

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Good call. I’ll be in Northern Ontario for the first two weeks in September so I likely won’t be following the news or any of the election coverage either. Which to be honest, I’m perfectly fine with. I’d rather not deal with it either right now!

      • winteroseca says:

        I hear you. After 2016, elections make me sick! 🤢 Plus, the fact my Mum and I moved here to Canada right before the US 2020 election speaks volumes!

      • winteroseca says:

        Well, I feel you’re right about that 😊. And I have been learning about how government works in Canada and I am relaxing more. At least I am not responsible for said provincial government. And it’s certainly better than the US!

  9. Dee Min says:

    Absolutely divine. I’m a Canadian living in the USA. I’m glad I stumbled on your sight so I can live vicariously through your journeys through the magnificence that is Canada!!!! Dee

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. Always glad to meet another fellow Canadian, eh? The landscape here is so incredible from the east coast to the west and everything in between. We’ve spent the past two years exploring more of our home province of Ontario, but we’re hoping to see more of Canada next year (assuming there isn’t another lockdown). Have a wonderful weekend. Linda

      • Dee Min says:

        Hi Linda. Absolutely—good to meet a fellow Canadian anywhere and it’s the first time on this space. Cool eh?! 😉the Canadian landscape is fascinating indeed. I haven’t see enough of it. I left just after university for work overseas. I’m also from Ontario. Looking forward to living vicariously through your posts. Stay safe. Yes, praying no more lockdowns 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Cheers, Dee

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I’ve lived in Canada my whole life and still haven’t seen enough of it either. Looking forward to having you follow along on our adventures around Ontario. We’ve been trying to explore as many provincial parks in Ontario as we can this year. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. I find the sound of rushing water so soothing and comforting. Thankfully we were able to switch campsites and enjoyed some peace and quiet at our campsite.

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