Restoule Provincial Park

Length of stay: 2 days
Visited: July 2021

Restoule Provincial Park is located near North Bay and provides a mix of camping opportunities from backcountry to car camping. Restoule also offers great paddling and swimming options along Restoule River and Stormy Lake and features a few trails for mountain biking and hiking.

We arrived at Restoule around 7p.m. We booked one of the walk-in sites along the lake based on the great experiences we’ve had with these sites at Windy Lake Provincial Park. Parking for the walk-in sites is located at the boat launch at Bells Point Beach and from there it’s a few hundred metres to get to your site. We figured it would be quieter here since there’s only ten walk-in sites and it requires a bit more effort. But this was not the case at Restoule.

We made a few trips back and forth to the car to get our tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and pillows. After eating dinner, we walked down to the small beach and dock where we parked. But there was a large group of partiers blaring their music, so needless to say, we didn’t stay long. This was only a preview for what was to come.

Day 1: Hazy (And Not So) Lazy Day

We slept horribly. Turns out it wasn’t just a group of partiers and their loud music that were annoying. There was also a large family across from us who stayed up very late and were very loud. We woke up feeling grumpy. We contemplated making a lot of noise in the morning to give them a taste of their own medicine, but we’re not complete jerks. Instead we drove to the beach area in the Putts Point Campground to make and eat breakfast.

The sky looked overcast, but it was actually hazy from all the recent wildfires in northwestern Ontario.

After finishing breakfast we drove to the day-use picnic area, which marks the trailhead for a few trails in the park. We first hiked along the Fire Tower Trail (4.1km loop), which is reputed to be the most popular trail in Restoule. The trail loops through the forest, crosses a few boardwalks and rocky ridges, and provides a few scenic lookouts along the way.

The trail is well-signed with blue markers. The first stretch weaves through a red pine forest. After crossing the road, the terrain becomes progressively more rugged and rocky. There were a few boardwalks though, which provided a nice relief from the rough terrain.

The first scenic lookout along the trail, which includes a viewing platform and bench, overlooks Amber Lake.

Shortly after we reached the next viewpoint, for which the trail is named after, of the historic Fire Tower. Climbing up the tower is not permitted.

The trail then leads to the third and final scenic overlook, which provides a panoramic view of Stormy Lake. We sat along the rocks and admired the views. We even saw a few people canoeing in the lake below.

The trail continues through the forest and loops back to the trailhead and parking area. After taking a short break back at the car, we set off to hike along the River Trail (1.2km loop), which is located across the bridge from the parking lot.

The trail is signed with blue markers and winds through the forest. The first stretch follows along the west side of Restoule River. There’s a turnoff for the Gibs Bicycle Trail, but we continued on the main path.

Once we finished, we took another break at the picnic area. We then walked down the road for a couple hundred metres to reach the trailhead for the Ranger’s Point Trail (700m). The trail is short and sweet and winds through the forest and provides a nice view of Stormy Lake from a rocky outcrop. We could even see the historic fire tower perched high atop the cliffs from here.

Once we wrapped up our hike we returned to the picnic area once again. This time to eat some lunch. We then spent the remainder of the afternoon in North Bay. We went for a short hike at Duchesnay Falls, which was really a choose your own adventure along the rapids. Afterwards we drove into town to walk along the waterfront. But it was much too hot for walking. So instead we went for a swim in Lake Nipissing.

We drove back to Restoule to eat dinner. We spent the remainder of the evening at the picnic area and returned to our site to go to bed. Thankfully it was much quieter at the campground, likely because we (and someone else) filed a noise complaint.

Day 2: Red Sun

We woke up bright and early and figured we might as well take down our tent and pack up. At the boat launch near the parking area, I took a few pictures of the sun, which looked red in all the smoky haze.

We then drove to the picnic area to make breakfast before heading out back out on the road.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

50 thoughts on “Restoule Provincial Park

  1. Ab says:

    What a beautiful park! The noisy partiers and family sound like annoying jerks but thankfully it was only for one night.

    The park looks very well maintained and the water area, boardwalk and scenic views look great. I thought about climbing the tower too when I first saw your picture!

    I believe this was on our itinerary for this past summer before we cancelled our trip. I’ll remember to have to check it out when we do get to visit one day! 🤞🏻

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I was honestly starting to question why we even bother with camping anymore. Thankfully we weren’t the only ones that complained about the noise. The person ahead of us at the Park Office was also staying at one of the walk-in sites and we heard him file a noise complaint too. I’m glad the park enforced the rules and we had some peace and quiet the next night.

      Restoule is definitely worth checking out. The trails are all well-signed and there’s plenty to choose from, although the trail to the fire tower was easily my favourite. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to visit sometime. Just don’t stay in one of the walk-in sites!

      • Ab says:

        It’s wonderful when the park office is responsive to the noise complaints!

        I do hope to check out Restoule one day. 🤞🏻

        Enjoy the rest of your week. Almost the weekend!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure. I don’t think we could have handled another night of all that noise. And yesss, we’re almost done the work week. I am so looking forward to the weekend. I am counting down the days until we go on vacation at the end of the month. Hope you’re feeling better. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  2. kagould17 says:

    A beautiful park and walk. Loved the first shot through the red pines. They look so orderly and I assume the area may have been reforested. Too bad about the noisies. The seem to think camping is just for them and that everyone wants to hear their music and noise. Glad you managed to have a good time anyway. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always such a treat to walk through a red pine forest. The best is when it’s windy and you can see them all sway back and forth. I agree, they must have been planted since they were in such neat lines.

      We’ve had our fair share of noisy neighbours while camping this summer. Due to COVID, it seems like everyone is into camping and most of the campgrounds in southern Ontario were booked solid in July and August. I think next year we’ll either stick to the backcountry or camp in the off season.

  3. Rose says:

    I like the lake views and the view from the bridge.
    We visit a lot of parks, but rarely camp anymore because of the noisy, loud, partying campers. I’m a bit more old fashioned, I like dark and quiet when I sleep (with the exception of starlight and woodland sounds). Loud human noises defeat the purpose of enjoying the peace and beauty of nature.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I completely agree with you. We usually try to camp in the radio-free zone (if there is one) for that very reason. I think next summer we’ll stick to camping in the backcountry or going in the off season when there are less people around.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m always such a fan of trails that have a boardwalk. It’s a nice way to enjoy the scenery without having to constantly look at my feet so I don’t trip over any roots or rocks. I’d love to visit Finland someday, especially if there are lots of lakeside views.

  4. John says:

    Another fun adventure, complete! Who would want to climb that fire tower anyway, heck no. Your adventures remind me so much of the 1980s when my folks owned a huge piece of land in northern lower Michigan. So many great times were had there!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      No kidding. While I’m all for enjoying a nice view, that fire tower seems super sketchy to climb. I have no idea how the fire rangers did it back then. I’ve only driven through Michigan, but I would love to return and spend some time hiking as I imagine the scenery is just as beautiful as Northern Ontario. There never seems to be enough time (or vacation days).

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The further up north we drove, the worse the hazy skies became. Thankfully it didn’t smell smoky though. But I agree, it makes for some interesting photo opportunities, especially of the sun.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. Thankfully the air didn’t smell smoky or anything or hinder our ability to hike. We typically don’t experience smoky or hazing conditions from forest fires, so this was a first for us this summer.

      • winteroseca says:

        Well, California has has forest fires and smoke problems the last few years. Canada is at the point California was a few years ago. Although, I do see more climate change action here. California seems to be stuck in an infinite loop. Here’s to hoping Canadians will be able to get more results fighting for a Just Transition. The way I see it is, our summers are already short and do we really want fires affecting our summers? I don’t

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I don’t either. Let’s hope we take climate change more seriously and we can learn from our mistakes. Although after how the federal and provincial governments have handled this pandemic, I honestly don’t have much faith.

      • winteroseca says:

        Well, if it’s going to happen, it will be because people are making their governments afraid

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        It’s too bad that that’s the only way to get our voices heard sometimes. I’m optimistic that things will change, but I just hope that it’s not too late.

        P.S. How’s your mom doing? Has your dad returned to the US?

      • winteroseca says:

        Jane Goodall said that entire species have come back from the brink of extinction. I take hope in her words.
        Mum is doing a lot better. It’s still a slow recovery. Dad stayed for a week, and it was great, but I wish he could have stayed longer. Our cat is living with him and she gets separation anxiety, so he could only stay a week

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Glad to hear that your mum is recovering, even if it is slowly. That’s too bad that your dad couldn’t stay longer. That’s always the downside to having a pet is that you can’t leave them for too long. Hopefully he can visit again though.

  5. wetanddustyroads says:

    Oh, those noisy campers … had more than our fair share of them! Lovely pathways once again with stunning views – I’m just more than happy that climbing up that tower is not allowed (my palms are sweating just thinking about that 👀). And I realise that the fires were a bad thing … but the smoke did offer a beautiful photo opportunity of the red sun!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I don’t get why people like that even bother with camping. Just stay home and party in your own backyard. We’ve done a lot of camping over the past two years during the pandemic and I think we’re ready to try something else and explore somewhere new.

      I can’t even begin to imagine how the fire rangers climbed up this fire tower back in the day. I’m glad it was closed for climbing, I don’t even know how you would get up this thing (or back down). And agreed, the hazy skies were a bit eerie, but created some great conditions to photograph the sun.

  6. carolinehelbig says:

    So unfortunate that some folks aren’t considerate when camping. At least the view down to Stormy Lake from your rocky perch looks very peaceful. I can relate to the red sun scenes from our own smokey skies this summer.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      All it takes is one loud person (or group) to ruin it for everyone nearby. We usually try to stay in the radio-free zone, but this park didn’t have one. I think we’ll stick to the backcountry or camping during the offseason next year. Despite the noisy campground, the trails in the park were very scenic and well-signed. The fire tower trail was easily my favourite.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I have no issues about complaining to the Park Office if people are making excessive noise in the campground. The park is for all to enjoy, but not all of us want to enjoy your tacky music. Thankfully the park did not disappoint when it came to the trails. There were lots of scenic viewpoints and all the trails were in good shape and well-signed. I would come back to Restoule, but I probably wouldn’t camp at one of the walk-in sites again.

  7. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    Gorgeous lake photo! And it looks like it’s a beautiful park, too. So sorry to hear about the party crowd; very inconsiderate and selfish. There’s boorish behaviour everywhere, no matter where you go.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks. The park itself is quite scenic and offers a good range of activities. It’s too bad that people come camping and have no consideration for others. I think next summer we’ll try to avoid front country camping or save it for the off-season.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, the nice weather and views along the trails more than made up for a sleepless night. Thankfully the second night was a lot better in terms of the noise and we were able to get some sleep.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m such a fan of hiking through a stand of red pine, especially when all the trees are planted in neat little rows. It’s great when it’s windy and you can see them sway back and forth. It definitely is mesmerizing.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Having noisy neighbours is easily my least favourite part about camping. Thankfully the park rangers took our noise complaints seriously and we got some peace and quiet the next night. It helped that the people in front of us at the Park Office also complained about the noise for the same site!

  8. Lookoom says:

    I’m with you in criticizing those who don’t respect others, it’s good that a little authority can make them think and maybe change their mentality. I didn’t know the name ‘Restoule’, which sounds French but means nothing. I just read that it was an Ojibwa name, probably a Francization in this part of Ontario, which was once very francophone.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. I don’t understand why people like that even bother with camping. Just stay home and have a party in your backyard or something. I’m glad the rules were enforced on the second night though. Good to know more about the name Restoule. It definitely sounds French, but it taking on an Ojibwe name makes sense as there’s a nearby provincial park that did the same.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. It was nice to get away and spend some time up north, even if the skies were a bit hazy from the wildfires. It’s also always fun to explore new trails and a new park.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The hazy skies were a bit erie, especially first thing in the morning as the sun appears red, but it definitely makes for some interesting photo opportunities. Thankfully it wasn’t smokey and didn’t hinder our ability to hike or camp.

  9. Janet says:

    Beautiful area. Love the picture of the trail through the trees. It’s so frustrating when fellow campers are inconsiderate. You took the higher ground that morning. 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I continue to be amazed at how many great provincial parks we have in Ontario. There’s no better way to explore the area than by taking a hike. Don’t even get me started on noisy campers. It’s too bad we can’t stick them all in one campground on the opposite side of the park!

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