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