Sandbar Lake Provincial Park

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.

L

My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

98 thoughts on “Sandbar Lake Provincial Park

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

      Liked by 2 people

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

      Liked by 2 people

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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

      Liked by 1 person

  1. kagould17 says:

    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

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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!

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

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  2. Ab says:

    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…

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        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!!!

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        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.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        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.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        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! 🙂

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        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!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        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! 😆🙏

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  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    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!

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bama says:

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. alisendopf says:

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

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      • alisendopf says:

        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.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        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.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        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!

        Liked by 1 person

      • alisendopf says:

        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.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thegenxtravels says:

        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 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        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!

        Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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!

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      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.

      Like

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