Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021
Sandbar Lake Provincial Park is located in northwestern Ontario and features several crystal clear lakes and a long, flat sandy beach. Within the park there are remnants from the last retreat of the glaciers, including erratics strewn throughout the forest and a series of ridges of sand and gravel known as eskers. Sandbar Lake offers camping, swimming, hiking and a series of canoe routes for those that want an additional challenge.
We arrived at Sandbank Lake just before noon. The Park Office was closed, bu there were a few people in the campground, so we figured the park was still open for the season.
We first hiked along the Red Pine Trail, which is located in the campground along the main road. We got a bit confused as to where to find it and ended up by the boat launch instead. No complaints as we got a nice view overlooking the lake. After consulting the map, we backtracked and managed to find one of the access points to the trail.
The Red Pine Trail (500m one-way, rated easy) leads through a natural red pine stand. The first stretch of the trail shows the remains of burnt trees as a result of a forest fire in the early 1900s. It was windy outside and we could see the tops of the pine trees swaying back and forth.
Afterwards we hiked along the Silhouette Trail, which is located just north of the park entrance along Highway 599. The trail actually consists of three interconnecting loops, with the shortest being 1.5km in length.
The trail weaves through jack pine woods, aspen forest and wetlands. Along the way there are signs that provide more information on the flora and fauna in the area, along with a series of wildlife silhouettes with signs that contain more details about the featured animals.
The second loop leads to a picnic table at Savitsky Lake.
The third loop circles Savisky Lake and leads to a picnic table at Crocker Lake. At this point there weren’t any animal silhouettes left to see and the interpretive signs were few and far between. The trail then passes an old gravel pit and follows along an old logging road back to the trailhead and parking lot.
Instead of having lunch afterwards, we decided to eat a snack in the car as we didn’t want another late night. Plus, we’d be losing an hour due to the time change. From here it’s about a 3 hour drive to Thunder Bay where we planned to spend the night.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here
98 thoughts on “Sandbar Lake Provincial Park”
Everything in this park looks crisper. Is this my imagination, or just the weather and lighting? Looks like a lovely park with nice trails and signage.
It’s funny how the sun can make such a huge difference in terms of how the landscape looks and how my pictures turn out. It was such a lovely day to be out on the trails. The Silhouette Trail was pretty neat with all the interesting fun facts about the the different types of plants and animals found here along with the wildlife silhouettes.
I think this park is all about those trees. Amazing 🙂 I love those trees
Watching the red pine trees sway in the wind can be very mesmerizing. I also like how they are planted in such neat lines. It’s very visually appealing.
The trees are amazing. Beautiful photos of the red pine forest. I do appreciate most the trails that come with lots of info about flora and fauna.
Pine trees are among some of my favourites. It was a windy day and watching them sway back and forth was captivating. I’ve come to appreciate parks that provide storyboards or signs that add an educational component to the trails. It’s a neat and dynamic way to learn more about the history of the area or about the different types of plants and animals found here. The wildlife silhouettes were also very unique and nicely designed.
Those red pines are huge! So nice to have a bight sunny day too. Maggie
It was neat to see the difference in the size of the trees from the start of the trail where a forest fire raged through over a hundred years ago compared to the end of the trail with all the mature red pines. It was a beautiful day to be out on the trail and just enjoying nature. Take care. Linda
Another beautiful Provincial park! 🇨🇦❤️
There seems to be no shortage of beautiful provincial parks in Ontario, especially up north. It’s been so much fun to visit some of these smaller ones off the beaten path.
I love your shot up to the tree tops. I often forget to look up, but it is a good thing to do in a forest. I think the bear silhouette might be a bit scary if you had bad vision. Great lakes and hike Linda. Thanks for sharing. Allan
The red pine trees were beautiful and it was mesmerizing to watch them dancing in the wind. The Silhouette Trail was very educational and scenic. The wildlife silhouettes were a unique feature and some of them took us by surprise, which gave us a good laugh afterwards. Thanks for reading. Linda
Wow! So beautiful Linda! Thanks for share.
Have a wonderful time!
It was a beautiful day to be outside and just enjoy the remaining days of summer. We had a fabulous time at Sandbar Lake. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Linda
The red pine frees are gorgeous and you have captured them so well Linda. Yet another beautiful provincial park.
I love how visually appealing the red pines are and how they are typically planted in such neat lines. It was mesmerizing watching them sway in the wind (something I was unable to capture by picture). This was a great park to spend the afternoon. Take care. Linda
Like everyone else here, I just love the pine trees! But I would be a little bit hesitant when spotted the silhouette of that bear 👀.
The wildlife silhouettes were a unique feature along the trail. The first one that we spotted took us by surprise. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that it it took us awhile to clue in that that’s why the trail was called the Silhouette Trail. We clearly didn’t read the trail description very closely!
Beautiful photos on a beautiful day. It looks like you had a great time here. I have to ask what is the photo with the bear cutout about?
The trail featured a series of these wildlife cutouts which the park refers to as silhouettes. Some of these silhouettes also have a sign that provided more information about the featured animal. The first one that we came across was a wolf (or maybe it was a fox) and it took us by surprise. It must have been a lot of work to make the animal silhouettes and then place them along the trail. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.
I’m completely lost in vicarious living! Such a beautiful park. I love the tall pines and the incredible lake views. Just beautiful!!
Oh how I miss those last remaining days of summer. I’m glad we took advantage of the nice weather and made the most of our time at Sandbar Lake. It was hard to move on.
Looks like another beautiful outing! I had to do a double take on the black head silhouette! Looked real for a second.
The tall red pines are lovely and your photo of looking up at the red pines and the sky is wonderful!
These summer days are nearer and nearer…
I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought so. Those animal silhouettes looked a little too real sometimes. The first one that we came across was a wolf (or maybe a large fox?) and it scared the crap out of me. I’m okay with just seeing a cutout of a bear as opposed to a real bear on the trail.
The red pines were beautiful and it was fun to watch them sway around in the wind. It was all very mesmerizing.
That reminds me, I need to start reserving campsites soon. I imagine it’ll be another competitive summer of camping.
Good luck with camp registration! It will be competitive for sure. Sadly I foresee another camping miss for us this summer but will make weekend day trips to more local parks. 🤞🏻 Happy weekend!!!
I think we’re going to try to camp more in the off-season to avoid the summer crowds and just make day-trips to nearby parks in the summer too. The exception is that we’re planning a trip out west and out east that I’ll need to book some campsites for.
Have a wonderful weekend. Stay warm out there.
Ooh, where out West are you planning to go?
Have a great weekend too. We’re all still in bed and I don’t quite want to get up yet. 🙂
We’re planning on flying into Edmonton and visiting a few of the national parks in the Rockies, including Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and Kootenay. I can’t wait!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and hope you were able to sleep in again this morning. We’re up in Huntsville and planning to return to Arrowhead today to do some cross-country skiing. It’s absolutely beautiful here with all the snow.
Oh, the West Coast itinerary sounds amazing. All on my bucket list. 🙂
And Arrowhead is lovely too. Enjoy your day. Check out the skating trail if you have time! 🙂
I am counting down the days! It’ll be our first time flying since the start of the pandemic, which I’m still a bit anxious about.
We were too exhausted to check out the ice skating trail after spending the morning cross-country skiing. We tried to get ticks for the Fire and Ice event Saturday night, but they sold out so quickly. There’s always next year!
I can understand the anxiety for flying. Our experience flying out East in Christmas was a good one. I felt safe and they seemed to move people through the airport fairly quickly. The plane ride did feel claustrophobic and we made sure to double masks and get a good pee in before the flight so we didn’t have to use the washroom.
It will be worth the anxiety to be out West! 😆🙏
Good to hear. It’ll be interesting to see how much the airport has changed during the pandemic. And hey, at least it’s a short flight and we’re not travelling internationally!
Magnificent view of earth nature and grace photography 🌷🙏♥️🌷
Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. The scenery in northern Ontario is beautiful. I’m glad we had such nice weather to explore the area.
It looks like it might have been somewhat cooler weather – there’s something about your photos that suggest that. I love the shot of the tree tops – beautiful. At first I thought the bear silhouette was a real bear, and I briefly wondered why you would get so close. Then I realised that it’s a cutout!
The weather was definitely starting to cool off up north. The days were still comfortable, but the nights (and mornings) were chilly. The wildlife silhouettes were a neat feature along the trail, but a few of the larger ones, like the bear and moose, took us by surprise. It does look deceivingly real. I’m okay with not encountering any large wildlife on the trail!
The photos really are a feast for the eyes, Linda. I love how blue and bright everything looks. Like in other comments, that cutout of a bear is a bit of a surprise. I wonder how many people actually thought it was real upon seeing it for the first time.
Sandbar Lake was a lovely park to spend the day, especially when the weather was nice. I was one of those people that was taken by surprise by a few of those wildlife cutouts, especially for some of the larger animals like the bear and moose. I’m just glad there were four of us on the trail. Safety in numbers. The park designed them a bit too realistically!!
I absolutely LOVE your tree photo looking up at the sky. You could definitely get that one framed.
I see from the comments that I’m not the only one to go into high alert at the bear photo. I can only imagine the fright it causes to see it in real life.
Thanks for your kind words. Pines are among some of my favourite trees and it was so mesmerizing to watch them dance back and forth in the wind. Some of the wildlife silhouettes along the trail looked a bit too realistic and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that did a double take. The first one that we came across actually scared the crap out of me. It makes me wonder how I would have reacted if it was real.
It’s amazing how calm you can be. I’ve had several grizzly bear encounters 🐻 So far I’ve managed to keep it together. The worst by far are the moose. Those things have no problem bluff charging repeatedly.
I’ve only ever seen a grizzly bear once, and that was while we were driving. It was my ideal bear encounter. We have seen a moose on the trail before though, but thankfully it just crossed over the boardwalk in front of us and went on its way. The scariest wildlife encounter we’ve had though is when we saw two wolves chase down a deer a few feet away from us. We lived to tell the tale. The deer not so much.
Ha! I agree 100% that the best place to see a bear is from the car 🙂
Your wolves and deer story – how scary. I imagine that left some emotional scars.
It sure did. We were on the trail and uncertain about whether to continue or turn around. We ended up finishing the hike, but on the way back we passed a hiker with two dogs, except the dogs were off their leashes and they were the first things I saw when I turned a corner. Needless to say, it gave me quite the scare!
Off leash dogs are referred to as Bear Retrieval Systems. Bears hate dogs, and will chase them, usually right back to their humans. I’m so sorry for your scare. That can ruin a really good day out.
If anything it made for a great story afterwards!
Another beautiful trail, so well described. You’re selling this area very well!.
Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s a far drive to get to northwestern Ontario, but it was well worth the road trip. The scenery was stunning and it’s always nice to explore an area off the beaten path.
Like other commenters, I loved the tree photo looking up. And the bear silhouette would have stopped me in my tracks.
Thanks. I don’t often look up while in the forest, but there was something so captivating about the red pines, especially as they swayed back and forth in the wind. Some of these animal silhouettes took us by surprise, especially the first one we came across! It certainly added a unique twist to the hike.
Looks like a nice trail and lake!
Sandbar Lake was a lovely place to spend the day. I’m glad we had such fabulous weather to enjoy the trails and soak in the views of the lakes and wetlands. I sure miss those warm summer days now that it’s winter. We’re currently under an extreme cold warning here in Ontario.
I have had enough of winter for sure. I’m in Colorado this week to visit my newest Grandbaby and the weather has been up and down! Had a couple of nice enough days to walk!! Heading back to Iowa today and cold streak starting. Monday 🙄
How exciting!! Congrats!! What a great reason to visit Colorado, even if the weather has been a bit dodgy. We’ve had an usually cold winter here in Ontario. We’ve been trying to take advantage of all the snow by going cross-country skiing, but some days it’s tough to the leave the house. Safe travels back home and stay warm out there!
Your tree shot reminded me of some that I like to take 🙂 Look up….waaaayyyy up!
I don’t often look up while hiking through the forest, but it’s a good reminder that I should do it more often. The red pines were beautiful and it was fun to watch them dance in the wind.
Wild and untamed. So exciting. And there’s a Bear! Thank you for a fun hiking adventure. Perfect Friday!
The trail was pretty neat with all the wildlife silhouettes along the way. Some of them, like the bear, looked a bit too realistic. It gave us a good scare and then a good laugh afterwards. Have a wonderful weekend. Linda
Such a fabulous place to see . Love to see those Red pine trees and great photos
Thanks. The red pines were beautiful and I love how they are usually planted in such neat lines. I don’t often look up while in the forest, but I’m sure glad that I did on that hike.
Some stupendous scenery there. Looks like a great place to spend a day.
Sandbar Lake is a lovely area in Ontario. I’m glad we had such beautiful weather to enjoy the trails and just soak in the scenery. It’s funny how the weather can make such a huge difference when camping. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
Beautiful as ever! It took me a bit to figure out those black bear silhouettes. 🙄
The first animal silhouette that we came across took us by surprise. They looked a bit too realistic sometimes, especially the larger ones like the bear and moose. I’m glad they were fake animals as opposed to the real ones. While I’m all for wildlife encounters, I’d much rather to be in the safety of my car or in a large group.
I would definitely prefer encountering a fake bear than a real one. 🙂
Thankfully I’ve never come across a bear while on the trail and I hope it stays that way. We have seen a moose and a wolf before though, both were such an incredible and incredibly terrifying experience.
My daughter loves to drive through any conditions, but there was one time she was shaken. We were turning onto the highway and two massive moose(s) came strolling onto the access and started walking around our car. 😳 Those guys are huge!
Yikes!! Exciting to see a moose, but also scary since they can be quite hazardous when driving. Hope she was okay.
She was fine! Back to driving through blizzards and backroads in no time. 😂
Ha, that’s too funny. Our car is also an old beater and its days are numbered. So now we think twice about taking the road less travelled!
Jennifer will drive any road in anything. She drove down to Idaho one summer. By herself – she needed the drive. 🥴
That sounds like quite the road trip. Sometimes it’s good to have that time to yourself, temporarily escape from what’s going on in your life, and just think things through. Hope it gave her what she needed.
Well obviously not, but it helped her at the time. It is supposed to help one move past their past. Maybe she didn’t drive far enough.
Sorry to hear that. Perhaps one day she’ll be able to move (or keep driving) on from her past.
I have no idea. I hope so but she is the one that has to do the work at this point. 😢
Wow! I need to visit Canada!
If you enjoy spending time in nature, then you’ll love it here in Canada! It’s incredible how the scenery changes so drastically depending on whether you visit the west coast, east coast and everything in between.
That bear! False alarm. I was startled again on the second reading of this article 🙂
Imagine my surprise when we came across some of these animal silhouettes on the trail! A few of the larger ones like this bear looked a bit too realistic. It gave us a good scare and a good laugh though.
Really love the shady tree!!!
It was pretty neat to walk through the forest and look up to see the red pine trees swaying back and forth in the wind. They also provided some nice relief from the sun. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
Another lovely spot to hike. The bear did worry me for a moment! I see you did a double take as well.
The Silhouette Trail was quite unique with all these animal cutouts along the way. A few of them took us by surprise, but we got a good laugh afterwards. There were also a series of signs with more information about the types of plants and animals that can be found in the area. It was a very the educational and scenic hike.
How well does Thunder Bay function as a tourist stop look for a possible future trip for us who wishes to go east to west across Canada on a driving tour?
The fastest way to drive across Canada would require passing through Thunder Bay. It’s a far drive between the east coast and west coast, but it seems like a great way to see a bit of everything in each of the provinces along the way. I would love to make that drive someday, likely in retirement as it would take a lot of time and driving!
Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. We had such wonderful weather to be out on the trail. I’m such a fan of wetlands and it was neat to learn about the different types of plants and animals that are found in the area along our hike.
So beautiful! I thought that was a real bear at first glance!! Such lovely photos- i really enjoy your posts!
Thanks for your lovely comment. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one that thought those animal silhouettes looked a little too realistic!! It was a nice trail and very educational with all those signs about the various types of plants and animals found in the area. I’m glad we opted for the longer route.
I’m excited to go back again and check it out soon!!
I find it’s always neat to return to the same place either in a different season or a few years later to see what you remember. The only issue is that I have a huge list of other places I want to visit, which makes it increasingly harder to want to return somewhere. I’m ready for retirement!
Yes!! That’s exactly it!!!! The list of places undiscovered is longer than the list of places to return!!!!
It’s always fun to explore and try something new. Your sailing adventures have been a great source of inspiration.
I’m so glad!! All of your trips are as well!!
Aww thanks, you are too kind 🙂
Great post with beautiful images.
Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. It was a lovely day to be outdoors and just enjoying nature.