Sharbot Lake Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Sharbot Lake Provincial Park is located along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, which is known for its abundance of rocky outcrops, lakes and wetlands. It has around 175 campsites and includes two hiking trails, two sandy beaches for swimming and a boat launch for canoeing, fishing or boating.

We arrived at Sharbot Lake in the early afternoon. We were a bit concerned that the park would be full since it was a hot Sunday afternoon and when we visited the nearby Silver Lake Provincial Park earlier they were turning cars away. But surprisingly Sharbot Lake wasn’t very busy.

After stopping at the Park Office to pick up a patch and information guide, we drove through the campground and found an empty campsite to eat a sandwich for lunch. Afterwards we headed out to first hike along the Discovery Trail (1.7km loop, rated moderate). The trailhead is located in the Ridgeview Campground by site #176.

To start, it’s a steep descent down a hill to the water. There’s even a dock located towards the bottom of the hill which serves as a portage from Sharbot Lake into Black Lake.

The trail is signed with eight numbered posts that correspond to a description of the trail guide located at the trailhead. The first post is located in a sheltered bay on the western part of Sharbot Lake.

The trail then leads through a classic Southern Shield landscape of extremes from lakeshore to rock-face, rich forest to barren ridge. The first stretch hugs the shoreline of Sharbot Lake and provides great views of the water and windswept pines.

The trail then leads up a ridge through the forest to the boundary of the park. The path continues through the forest and crosses an open meadow. There’s also a short detour to a lookout, which is located up a ridge. The views were just okay as they were mostly obstructed by the greenery.

We then drove to the trailhead for the Ridgeview Trail (500m, rated easy to moderate), which is also located in the Ridgeview Campground by site #182. The first portion of the trail involves a steady ascent up a ridge through the shaded forest. The path eventually levels off and leads to an open clearing of tall grass and wildflowers. We could somewhat glimpse the water through all the greenery, but we couldn’t find a clear view of the surrounding area. Either way it was still really scenic. We continued onwards until we reached a marker that signals that this is the end of the trail. We turned around and walked back the way we came.

After sufficiently working up a sweat we figured it was finally time to go for a swim. Sharbot Lake features two sandy beaches on Black Lake. We drove to the smaller beach area as we figured it would be less busy. The beach was relatively quiet and the swimming area was buoyed off with different sections depending on the depth. The first buoyed area had a depth of 15m. We swam out to the second area and we could see that the third area had a sign to signal no motor boats. Perhaps it was because it was really hot outside, but this felt like the warmest lake we’ve swum in so far this summer. It was a nice way to cool down and rinse off all the bug spray and sweat.

After taking a shower at the comfort station, we headed out. We planned to spend our final night of our road trip at the cabin, which is located about an hour away from Sharbot Lake.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

55 thoughts on “Sharbot Lake Provincial Park

  1. Ab says:

    That looked like quite a wonderful park, reminds me of Bon Echo in some parts and that dock and water look very inviting.

    Good for you for also using the comfort station! We haven’t gone camping yet because I still feel a tad iffy about using the shared showers. Maybe next summer! I really do miss camping. 😊

    Hope you get some dry weather this weekend! We’re hoping to hike in the Kawarthas tomorrow. 🤞🏻

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Sharbot Lake is actually located near Bon Echo, so no wonder the landscape reminds you of it. The comfort stations, especially the showers, can be hit or miss. It looks like these were cleaned recently, which is why we jumped at the opportunity to use the showers. We went to Forks of the Credit Saturday yesterday afternoon, which was pretty nice. It was a bit too crowded for my liking and we got rained on mid-way through. Hopefully you had better luck at the Kawarthas!

      • Ab says:

        Sounds like you found some nice plans this weekend in addition to horror movies on Netflix! I do notice the crowds becoming bigger at places now too.

        We ended up visiting Port Hope instead of Kawarthas. It was a 40-minute shorter drive each way and got to visit a part of the province we haven’t explored much.

        Enjoy your week ahead!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I was honestly surprised at how busy the trails were considering the weather. But hey, I guess some people enjoy hiking rain or shine. I’ve driven by Port Hope countless times over the years but have yet to actually stop to check it out. It’s crazy how even though I’ve lived here my entire life, there are still so many places in Ontario that I have yet to explore. Enjoy the rest of your week as well.

      • Ab says:

        It’s great how much there is to discover in our fair province. One of the blessings from the pandemic was it forced us to explore it more. 👍

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh yah, some of the parks closer to the Toronto have an insane number of campgrounds and campsites. Take for instance, Killbear, which is one of the most popular parks in Ontario, has nearly 900 campsites. I much prefer to stay at a smaller campground and in the radio-free zone. Either that or camp during the off-season.

      • Monkey's Tale says:

        900! We actually camped at Awenda this summer for a night. We don’t usually car camp and this campground was so huge it turned us completely off car camping. At least the sites were huge and tons of trees, but too many people. I prefer the backcountry 😊

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I hear yah. This summer has been especially bad in terms of us having to deal with noisy people in the campgrounds. We’ve been contemplating buying a camper van, but in the meantime I think we’ll stick to the backcountry or camping during the off season. That’s the only way to escape the crowds (and the noise).

  2. carolinehelbig says:

    I’m glad to read that the lake was as nice to swim in as it looks. You guys continue to impress me with your exploration of Ontario’s many parks. We really are fortunate in this country to have so much nature and recreational space.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! Our parks have become so popular these past two years during the pandemic, which goes to show just how important it is to have these green spaces. Now that summer is over many of our parks are closing up for the season, which is too bad as I’m not done exploring!

  3. kagould17 says:

    So jealous of Ontario lakes. Alberta lakes outside of the mountains are all shallow sandy bottom lakes….more potholes than lakes. In fact, the one we used to camp at in our younger days (wow, that was a long time ago) has long dried up. That dock and water look so inviting, I can almost hear “Cannonballllll” from here. Happy Saturday. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The grass is always greener on the other side. Or rather, the lakes are always clearer on the other side. We certainly have no shortage of freshwater lakes here in Ontario. If it was overcast, Sharbot Lake wouldn’t have looked so inviting though. The sun has such a way of making the water sparkle and shine. That’s too bad that the lake from your childhood has dried up. Sounds like you’ll need to find a new spot. Hope you had a good weekend. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks Lynette. We were quite surprised at how empty this park was in comparison to Silver Lake, which is less than a 15 minute drive from here. No complaints as it’s always nice to have the trails all to ourselves and not have to elbow our way for a spot on the beach. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Hope you had a good weekend. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. We had a bit of a rainy start to our road trip so it was was nice to finally have some blue skies and sun towards the end. If it weren’t such a nice day I doubt we would have gone for a swim. Take care. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Sharbot Lake is a real gem. It’s located on the southern edge of the Canadian Shield and the area is so incredibly scenic with windswept pines, freshwater lakes and exposed rocky outcrops. It sure makes for some great hiking and swimming opportunities.

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Fantastic photos, Linda 🙂 Nothing beats being outdoors and exploring national parks under the spills of sunlight – – the colour of the water looks quite inviting and so are those white, fluffy clouds 🙂 Aiva xx

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. I love how the sun makes the water sparkle and shine. It was a lovely day to spend outdoors and I’m glad we found a quieter spot to go for a swim. Enjoy the rest of your week. Linda

  5. wetanddustyroads says:

    Definitely a scenic walk (although you mentioned your views were obscured by the beautiful trees 😉). Just a question: Do you pay for those patches or is it part of the entrance fee to the national park? Some of them are really beautiful. And your weather was just great! I’ve read now in the comments you say the parks closing up for the season – is it then only open during summer (because it’s too cold or inaccessible during winter)?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Some of the scenic lookouts were obstructed by the trees, but it was still a nice hike overall. As an added bonus we had the trails all to ourselves. We pay extra for the park patches. They are a bit pricey, but they are nicely designed and it’s all going to a good cause.

      The majority of our parks close towards the end of September or mid-October, largely because of the weather and not as many people camp in the cold. There are a few parks that are open year-round. We tried winter camping for the first time earlier in the year, but I’m not sure I could do it again. I like to have somewhere warm to go to in the evening.

      • wetanddustyroads says:

        I wouldn’t mind to pay for those park patches (wish our parks had something like that). Although I love camping, I’m not so fond of sleeping in a tent when it’s cold and miserable outside either! We are camping with friends this weekend and it looks as if Saturday will be cold and rainy … will just have to take enough wine then 😄.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The park crests were introduced a couple of years ago and come in the form of a patch or sticker. It’s a great way to encourage people to visit all the various parks to try to collect them all.

        Camping in the cold and rain is always tough, but at least you have good company. Just make sure to protect your wine from the mice!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We had a bit of a rainy start to our road trip, so I’m glad we finally had nice weather towards the end. There’s nothing better than spending time outdoors when the sun is shining and the weather is pleasant. Oh how I wish it were still summer.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks, it helps that we had such nice weather. The landscape in this area is extremely scenic with rocky outcrops, windswept pines and crystal clear lakes. It’s always a real treat to go for a swim after a day of hiking in the heat.

  6. Oh, the Places We See says:

    I want to jump off that dock into the water, but am I right in saying it would be icy cold? I guess that’s a stereotype for me, thinking that Canadian lakes and streams would be cold than we have here, but I could be wrong. Did you test the waters?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We were contemplating whether to turnaround and grab our bathing suits to go swimming off the dock, but we had just hiked down a super steep hill and we really didn’t want to have to walk all the way back up and then down it again. Instead we finished the trails and then hit the beach for a swim. The water was surprisingly very warm. We do have some lakes here that never seem to warm up, but others that are quiet pleasant during the summer. The only way to find out is by jumping in!

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