Camping at Neys Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: September 2021

Neys Provincial Park is located on the sandy shore of Lake Superior. It offers a variety of hiking trails that weave through the different habitats in the park, including ancient sand dunes, dense forests, pebble beaches, and rocky overcrops. It’s no surprise that this scenic landscape and wild shoreline provided much inspiration to the Group of Seven painters.

We arrived at Neys just after 6:30pm. After checking in at the Park Office, we drove to our site to set up our tents. We planned to stay here for two nights and managed to reserve an awesome site that had its own private path to the beach. The forecast was calling for 10-15mm of rain the next morning, so we decided to set up a few tarps over our tents. Afterwards we had a late dinner and walked down to the beach to look up at the night sky.

We slept in later than usual the next morning, largely because it was lightly raining outside, which always makes it hard to get up. Eventually we got up. I even walked down to the beach to check out the water and all the driftwood scattered along the sand.

Neys offers a sheltered picnic area, but since it was cold outside, we decided to treat ourselves and drive into Terrace Bay for breakfast. It was a nice way to spend the morning indoors and wait out the rain. While we were in town, we decided to pick up some groceries to kill some time.

By the time we returned to Neys, it was early in the afternoon. It had mostly stopped raining for the day. The clouds were even starting to clear and the sun was poking out. Our campsite had some serious flooding issues. But luckily we set our tents up on higher ground so all our stuff stayed dry.

We then drove to the Visitors Centre, which was closed, but there were a few interpretive panels outside that provided more information about the Neys Camp. The region in and around Neys was once the site of a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. There’s also a Moments of Algoma art installation behind the Visitor Centre as well as access to the beach.

After all that rain, we weren’t sure what the conditions would be like along the trails. We decided to try our luck with the Point Trail (2.2 km round trip, rated easy), which is relatively short and flat. The trail weaves through a mossy forest and leads to a rocky outcrop where there’s nice views of the bay and a few old boats scattered along the rocks. The path is mostly sandy, which meant there was pretty decent drainage.

The boats were once used in the mid 1940s by the Pigeon River Timber Company to haul workers and supplies to logging camps that were located up the Pic and Little Pic rivers. Prisoners of war from Neys Camp 100 provided some of the labour for logging in this area in the Pic and Little Pic River valleys.

We then hiked along the Dune Trail (1.3 km loop, rated easy), which loops through an ancient sand dune system. The path is relatively flat and sandy and is signed with seven numbered posts.

Afterwards we hiked along the Lookout Trail (1.6km loop, rated moderate). The trail weaves through the forest, along rocky outcrops, and provides sweeping views of Ashburton Bay and the surrounding area. The trail then leads down the ridge, back through the forest and through a series of sand dunes. There were some wet, muddy and slippery sections, but we took our time.

After all that hiking, we had worked up an appetite. We returned to our campsite and made an early dinner. We spent the remainder of the evening by the warmth of the fire. It felt great after such a rainy morning and damp day.

The next morning we woke up to blue skies and sun. I would have loved to stay another day, but we had other plans. We still had time to visit the beach one last time though.

After eating breakfast, we packed up and headed out. We planned to spend the morning at Pukaskwa National Park.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

59 thoughts on “Camping at Neys Provincial Park

  1. Ab says:

    This was such a lovely way to start my Monday and work week, Linda. 😊 That beach looks so inviting, even on a cloudy day and I am glad that you both got to enjoy a nice blue sky morning even if it wax shortlived.

    Sorry for the rainy day and flooding but good thing you set up your tent on higher ground. The hikes looked wonderful and it was neat to run into those older boats.

    I read somewhere that Neys also has connections to ancient volcanoes and dinosaurs too. Such a fascinating park and one I hope to visit one day. So thank you for whetting my appetite even more! 😊

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m such a fan of Neys rain or shine. The beach is beautiful and we were lucky to snag one of the campsites that have their own private path down to the shore. Even though we had a torrential downpour, the nice thing about having a sandy site was that we had pretty decent drainage. I’m also happy that we set our tents up where we did.

      The hiking at Neys is also incredible and there are a variety of trails that range in length and difficulty. We didn’t have time for it on this trip, but last summer we hiked along the Under the Volcano Trail and learned about how this area used to be an active shield volcano. I hope that you’re able to visit someday (maybe when you return to hike to the Top of the Giant) as it really is an extraordinary park.

      • Ab says:

        Ok, so it was you that I learned the volcanic history from. I knew I read it somewhere. 😆 And yes, I really do hope to visit again one day. The drive, as you say, is quite long though!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I love Neys so much that we went there twice in 2020. One of the big reasons we returned was because we wanted to spend more time there … and because there weren’t many (or any) other travel options available during the pandemic and on such short notice! It’s a long drive, but at least it’s scenic.

  2. kagould17 says:

    I can see why you stayed 2 nights here. A beautiful park with art, history and scenic beauty. So glad the rain stopped for you. It would have beena shame not to explore all those trails. Thanks for sharing and have a great Monday. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Neys is always a fan favourite of mine. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, I’m glad we were able to hit the trails in the afternoon. The great thing about staying somewhere sandy is that the trails weren’t flooded or very muddy even after all that rain. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of the week. Linda

  3. Diana says:

    What a pretty park! I always enjoy when there’s a mix of history and scenery. There’s nothing worse than a wet tent… I’m glad yours stayed dry and was out of the flood zone.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I know I say this about a lot of parks, but Neys really is one of my favourites. We always try to camp here whenever we’re in the area because their sites are awesome, the beach is beautiful, and there’s a great selection of hiking trails. The flooding situation on our site was a bit sketchy, but I’m glad we planned ahead and set up our tarps again. Better be safe than sorry (and wet). Having a campfire in the evening was the perfect way to get rid of all the dampness.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I could probably spend a whole week at Neys and not get bored of being there. The water is always chilly, but the beach is beautiful. There’s also some fantastic hiking trails that weave through the different terrain and habitats in the park. Agreed, the history of Neys is quite unique. The POW camps in Ontario is not something that we learned about while in school so it was interesting to read about while visiting Neys.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Neys is definitely a great place to hike and camp. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal in the morning, I’m glad we made the most of the afternoon and were able to explore some of the trails.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m never a fan of camping in the rain, especially when it’s torrential. I’m glad we decided to go into town for a late breakfast to escape the cold and rain. By the time we returned the clouds were starting to clear and we were able to hike a few of the trails. Having a campfire at the end of the day was a great way to keep warm and get rid of the dampness.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Setting up a tent in the rain is terrible. Some of your stuff is bound to get a bit wet and when it’s cold outside, there’s no opportunity for things to dry. Thankfully we were able to set our tents and tarp up before the storm.

  4. leightontravels says:

    The flooded bench shot made me chuckle (sorry). Wondering how you pronounce “neys”, “nees” or “nays’? Love the beach shots, plus I feel there is something intrinsically calming about driftwood.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Neys is pronounced nays, but it’s more like yays as it’s such a great park. We had quite the downpour that morning and I’m glad we decided to treat ourselves and went into town for breakfast. Thankfully our tents stayed dry and we were able to hike a few of the shorter trails later in the afternoon.

  5. Rose says:

    Good camping advice – be sure to tent on the highest level of the campsite when it’s raining, and bring tarps. All your ‘trails into the woods’ images make me think of fairytales. I almost expect to see some shimmering beautiful creature at the end of the trail. Thought-provoking history about the POW camp, and interesting that the boats were left to the elements.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We never used to set up a tarp over our tent, but started to on this road trip whenever the forecast was calling for a lot of rain. It can be a lot of work to set up, but it keeps our tent clean, which makes it easier to pack it away. The trails through the forest did look enchanting with all that moss! I’m glad the weather cleared in the afternoon and we were able to explore a few of the trails. Neys certainly has an interesting history. I didn’t even know that there were a few POW camps here in Ontario along the north shore of Lake Superior.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It could have been a lot worse! Our tent could have been in the flood zone! It gave us a good excuse to go into town for breakfast and to just take it easy that morning. I’m glad the weather cleared and we were able to enjoy a few of the trails in the afternoon.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, I’m glad we made the most of it. This was a lovely spot to camp for a couple of nights. Take care. Linda

  6. Bama says:

    Despite the wet weather, it still looks like a nice hike. Just now I realized something: in all of your hiking photos, there are barely any other visitors. This is a stark contrast to how things are in Indonesia, except for a few rare moments when I barely saw other people during hiking.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      My favourite time to travel is in the shoulder season when it’s not too busy. We embarked on our Northern Ontario road trip in the fall when all the kids were back at school and the parks were noticeably quieter. It was awesome. We saw a few people on the trails, but it wasn’t too bad and it never felt crowded. I also don’t like randoms in my pictures so will sometimes wait to get a good shot of the trail.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. The scenery in Neys is simply stunning. Even though we got a lot of rain in the morning, I’m glad we were able to go for a few hikes in the afternoon and enjoy the landscape.

  7. wetanddustyroads says:

    Oh, I love your views at the beach! That first photo (is it sunset?), is really beautiful! I had to smile when reading about “the sun that was poking out” 😉 … we just came back from a long weekend of camping and hiking in the mountains and we had way too much sun – it was unbelievably hot! But at least it looks as if you had a great hike (despite the muddy and slippery conditions).

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Neys has a beautiful sandy beach and we were lucky enough to snag one of the campsites that has its own private path down to the shore. The first picture is of a sunset and was taken on our first night. It’s funny because I typically don’t pay attention to the sunrise or sunset unless I’m on vacation.

      A long weekend of being in the mountains sounds amazing. I’ll trade your sun and heat for our coldness and snow. We’re actually supposed to get a big snowstorm this afternoon.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m just glad it only rained in the morning. It was the perfect excuse to drive back into town and go somewhere for breakfast. By the time we got back to the park it had stopped raining and we were able to hike a few of the shorter trails. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, I’d say we made the most of it. It helps to have great company 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was neat to learn about the history of the park and how the boats were used back in the day to transport loggers and their supplies along the rivers. The rocky outcrop also provided a nice view of the bay.

  8. BrittnyLee says:

    The photo you took with the picnic table and puddle is absolutely stunning. The reflections in that photo are incredible! I love wandering in nature parks after a good rain. Also, I agree 💯 about rainy mornings making it difficult to get up. They’re so calming. You just want to keep curled up and sleeping. Beautiful photos and great post 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It is always hard to get started on a rainy day, but I love how quiet everything is and how the forest just smells amazing. Thankfully we were able to escape the worst of the downpour by driving into town and going out for breakfast. By the time we returned the clouds were starting to clear and we were able to hike along some of the shorter trails in the park.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        That’s awesome. I find when I travel that’s one of the best things to do. Go into town and enjoy the shops, grab a bite to eat and then head back when the rain slows or stops. You got really nice photos in this post. I love the smell of fresh rain too. It’s such an earthy, raw scent. I love it like I love the smell of fresh cut grass. Apparently, this is random- cut grass emits a scent to express distress -, that’s the scent we smell when grass is being cut. I found that fact to be macabre but interesting. Poor grass 🙁 I’m glad you got to take your hike though, these photos were worth the wait for you 🙂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The smell of fresh cut grass is incredible. I didn’t know that fun fact about how it emits a scent to express distress. That’s interesting. While I don’t like hiking in the rain, I do love the smell of the forest afterwards. It sure makes sitting by the fire afterwards even more enjoyable. The smell of a campfire is another one of my favourites.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        Ohhh, me too! I can remember as far back as age 3 sitting by a campfire on my dad’s lap, watching the sparks spiral into the night sky. The light from the fire always made the trees look so alive and wild, almost like they were making faces at me. These are some of my favorite childhood memories. I will never forget them. Yeah the fact about the grass is sad. I felt so bad when I learned that. I kind of wish I never learned that fact haha . Hiking the rain, I only enjoy during summer because it cools me. Any other time of year, I do what you do, visit shops and grab a bite to eat. I’m glad you share the love of nature and the amazing scents it gifts us. I can’t wait for spring 🙂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        My parents used to take us camping when we were younger and I have fond memories of sitting around the campfire too. There’s just something so mesmerizing about watching the flames flicker. Spending time in nature is my happy place. It’s a great way to slow down and just live in the moment, something I don’t as often as I should. Most of our snow has melted, the days are getting longer, and it’s definitely starting to feel more like spring with each passing day.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        That’s so great. Our days are getting longer too. However, the weather decided to want to snow today and it’s snowing. Haha 😂😆 so who knows ? The rest of the week is supposed warm up a little with no more snow but we’ll see. Aww so you have gone camping too. That’s awesome. The fire is mesmerizing and so calming to watch. I also love the crackling and pooping noises the wood makes when it starts to ignite. That sound can put me to sleep in no time if it’s the only sound present. I’m very grateful to have parents that exposed me to nature when I was young. I bet you are, too. It’s just such an amazing gift that I wish more people could appreciate. I think people want to appreciate it, but sometimes they just aren’t aware or weren’t shown the joys of nature

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