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.
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