MacGregor Point Provincial Park in the Spring

Length of stay: 3 days
Visited: March 2023

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located along the sandy shores of Lake Huron. It is open year-round and offers a variety of activities depending on the season. MacGregor Point also offers roofed accommodations such as yurts and rustic cabins, to keep you warm and cozy during the off-season.

Day 1: Wetlands

Reserving a campsite in southern Ontario has become super competitive in the summer. We’re also not a fan of the crowds or the noise that the warmer weather brings. So we’ve been making the most of the off-season and checking out some of the roofed accommodations offered at some of our favourite parks.

We booked a rustic cabin at MacGregor Point at the end of March and planned to spend the weekend there with my mom and uncle. Check-in time starts at 4p.m, so that’s when we aimed to arrive at the park. The weather can be hit or miss this time of the year. While there was still some snow on the ground, the sun was shining and it felt like spring had finally arrived.

We checked in at the park office and picked up the permit for our campsite. We then headed to our rustic cabin to make ourselves at home for the weekend. The cabin consists of a single room with an enclosed front porch that was also heated. It can sleep up to five people and came fully furnished with a queen bed, a double/single bunk bed and a table with five chairs and two benches. The cabin also has lighting, a propane fireplace and a small kitchenette with a mini fridge and microwave. There is also a BBQ outside for us to use.

After unpacking the car, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and go for a hike along the Tower Trail (3.5km loop, rated easy). The trail loops through the forest and passes a few wetlands. Along the way there’s a series of storyboards that provide more information about the geology of the area and importance of wetlands.

For the most part the trail was in pretty good condition with a few icy and wet patches. It was even starting to feel like spring. One of the highlights of the trail is an observation tower that provides a panoramic view of the wetlands.

After following the shore of the wetland, there’s a short detour to a bird blind. This shelter contains a few windows to better observe the wildlife and admire the views.

Once we looped back to the trailhead, we headed back to our cabin to settle in for the evening. As we were cleaning up from dinner, we noticed that the sun was starting to set. We headed to the beach to get a better look.

We then retreated back to our cabin to play boardgames for the rest of the evening.

Day 2: Rain

The forecast was calling for a lot of rain throughout the day. When we got up in the morning we went for a walk through the campground since it was still dry. But after 30 minutes or so, the rain had begun so we headed back indoors to make breakfast.

Since we didn’t have any interest in hiking in the rain, we headed to Owen Sound to check out the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, which showcases a small collection of Canadian artwork, including pieces from Tom Thomson. The famous Canadian artist drew much inspiration from nature and the Ontario landscape. He unfortunately died at the young age of 39 from drowning in Canoe Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park. Even though he died before the official formation of the Group of Seven, a famous group of Canadian landscape painters, Thomson is considered an unofficial member.

We returned to MacGregor Point to eat a late lunch. There was a break in the rain later in the afternoon, so we headed to Southampton to check out a couple of lighthouses. First up was the Southampton Front Range Light, which is located near the mouth of the Saugeen River. From the parking lot, we headed down to the water and walked along the short pier to get a better look. The water was calm. There were a few icy patches along the edge, including an impressive display of icicles.

The Saugeen River Light is located nearby on the north side of the Saugeen River and acts as a back range light. It is nearly identical to the Southampton Front Range Light.

We went for another walk through the campground before it started to rain again. So we headed back indoors to play more board games. It continued to rain throughout the evening.

Day 3: Fun in the Sun

We woke up to a beautiful day of blue skies and sun, which was a real treat after dealing with the miserable weather from yesterday. Check out time for our cabin was at 10am, so after eating breakfast, we packed up. We could still enjoy the park for the day though.

We headed to the visitor centre, which was still closed for the season, to hike the Huron Fringe Trail (1.2km loop, rated easy). The trail features a series of storyboards that provide more information about the landscape and the different habitats found in the area. The path follows along a boardwalk through the forest, which is part of an old sand beach, and wetlands. It passes a couple of ponds and leads to the Lake Huron shoreline.

From here the path connects with the Old Shore Road Trail which follows the Lake Huron shoreline. Back in the day, this trail was part of a larger route that connected the towns of Goderich and Southampton. We hiked to Sunset Point, a narrow peninsula.

The wind forced us to retreat back the way we came to the Huron Fringe Trail to complete the rest of the loop.

The trail passes another wetland before heading back into the forest towards the visitor centre. We’ve recently started to bring bird seed with us while hiking and were soon rewarded with some friends.

Afterwards we headed back to the Algonquin Campground to hit up a viewing platform of the Pitcher Plant Marl. This marl wetland is a fragile habitat in MacGregor Point due to its mucky soil with low levels of essential nutrients. There are some plants that have adapted to these harsh conditions though, including pitcher plants.

Given that the ground was still pretty wet from yesterday’s heavy rainfall, we figured it was best to end on a high note and head home.


73 thoughts on “MacGregor Point Provincial Park in the Spring

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s hard to predict what the weather will be like in the early days of spring. The same can be said about the conditions on the trails. I’m glad we had some sun to help balance out all that rain. And at least we got to enjoy a stunning sunset.

  1. kagould17 says:

    The accessibility ramp looks bigger than the cabin. The cabin does look well built and nicely appointed. I think we would be more into that kind of accommodation rather than tents. Spring hiking can be iffy between the mud, rain and wind, but the views you have captured make it all worth while. Thanks for sharing Linda. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ha! The accessibility ramp seemed a bit over the top and unnecessarily long. This cabin looked pretty new and was a bit bigger compared to all the other rustic cabins that we’ve stayed at before. The windows inside even had blackout curtains, which was a nice feature. I’m afraid we’ve grown too accustomed to these roofed accommodations where it’s going to be real tough to rough it in a tent again. I guess that would explain why we only have a couple of summer camping trips planned. The weather and trail conditions can be pretty dodgy in the spring, but at least we made the most of it. And hey, I’ll take wet trails over ones that are infested with mosquitoes. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to share our love for Ontario’s provincial parks with our family and friends. The weather can be hit or miss during the off-season, but we came prepared. And it was nice to experience a quieter side of the park without the crowds or the bugs. I’m a huge fan of Tom Thomson’s work as well. While the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound isn’t very big, it was a great way to avoid the rain while still appreciating nature, but through art.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. I’m convinced that sunrises and sunsets look even more stunning by the water. Even though we had some pretty heavy rain, at least we were able to enjoy some blue skies and sunshine as well over the weekend.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Tom Thomson Art Gallery is pretty small, but it’s definitely worth the visit if you’re in the area. I have so much more of an appreciation of his work after spending so much time enjoying Ontario’s provincial parks and nature.

  2. wetanddustyroads says:

    The cabin looks good to me (you know, the mention of an outdoor BBQ won me over right away). What a beautiful sunset on your first day – the colours are lovely. I had a bit of a laugh …here in SA you will never find the words “icicles” and “spring” in the same sentence 🙂, but I guess when the sun is out there with you, it is definitely spring!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The outdoor BBQ is one of the main highlights of booking a rustic cabin (well that and the fact that it’s heated)! We try to cook all our meals on it. Food just tastes so much better when it’s cooked over a fire. That sunset was spectacular. But here I thought red skies at night meant the next day would be nice. Oh well, all that rain makes you appreciate the nice weather when you have it. I’m glad to say that all our snow and ice is now finally gone!

  3. Rose says:

    What a lovely variety – sun and rain, outdoors and art. Love that sunset shot on your first day, and the sparkly sun on the water on your third day.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was pretty wild just how much rain we got. But I’m glad we got to enjoy some blue skies and sun the day before and the day after. Overall it was a quiet and relaxing weekend where we got to spend time in nature and appreciate nature from art.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’re certainly lucky to have so many lakes in Ontario. Lake Huron is one of my favourites. We’re hoping to do a road trip to Michigan one of these days to explore Lake Huron and Lake Superior from the other side.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. That sunset was pretty spectacular. But here I thought that red skies at night were a sign of nice weather for the following day. Apparently not. But thankfully we had a nice warm cabin to retreat to from the rain and we brought a lot of board games to keep ourselves entertained.

  4. elvira797mx says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! So beautiful place, very relaxing. Love the cabin, stones, water…
    Thank’s for share, Linda. Have a lovey Wednesdey! Keep well.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I must say, these rustic cabins are a very comfortable way to camp, especially during the off-season. It was especially nice to stay in one with all that rain we had. It’s going to be tough to return to a tent this summer. I’m a fan of Tom Thomson too and have more of an appreciation for his work after visiting a few of the places in Ontario where he drew inspiration from.

  5. Little Miss Traveller says:

    Another very enjoyable short stay Linda and MacGregor Point Provincial Park looks beautiful. Your cabin appears spacious and well equipped for a relaxing stay and my husband would have been in his element taking the hike to the bird hide as he is a keen ornithologist. I liked the appearance of the lighthouse and those icicles were impressive too though it must have been a bit slippery walking near there. I’ve been half watching ‘Race Across The World’ to take in the dramatic Canadian scenery and to give me ideas for trips. I say half watching as I don’t like reality programmes but do like Canada’s natural beauty!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The weather was all over the place, which made us appreciate being in a rustic cabin even more. We saw a few people who were camping in a tent and they looked pretty miserable. It was very convenient that it came furnished and that it even had a BBQ for us to use outside. It’s a great way to stay in the park overnight without having to do much work and still have access to many modern amenities like heating and electricity.

      I just looked up Race Across the World. Sounds like an interesting concept for a show and a great way to get ideas for future adventures!

  6. ourcrossings says:

    I love the rustic cabin, the wonderful gallery and that cute little lighthouse, Linda. We visit National Parks to get away from civilization, yet often find ourselves trapped in a crowd of tourist bus patrons fighting for a view. Therefore, I find that in order to get the communion with nature that I really desire it is best to visit parks in their off-season. This way, I don’t have to fight for parking space or deal with the traffic jam up ahead because someone spotted a wild animal and parked in the middle of the road to take a picture! Sure, winter can bring extremely unpredictable weather and colder temperatures can be uncomfortable, but there are countless options for a warm puffy jacket that will fit every budget. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’ve come to appreciate visiting our provincial and national parks in the off-season too. The weather can be a bit variable though, but I’ll take the cold and rain over the crowds. As you said, it’s not so bad if you have the right gear. It’s great that some of our parks offer roofed accommodations like this rustic cabin, which is a great option to stay overnight without having to worry about the weather. They are so much easier to book during the off-season too. I’m with you on not wanting to deal with the stress of traffic or finding parking or dealing with randoms blocking my shots. I’m over it! Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. I’m such a fan of lighthouses and I love how each one is a bit different. I’m glad there was a break in the rain for us to check it out. But hey, I’ll take the crappy weather over the crowds any day!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’ve been to MacGregor Point a few times. There’s always something so relaxing about being by the water. Plus it’s a great spot to enjoy the sunset. The icicles along the water were pretty cool. I’m glad the water was calm and we were able to walk across the pier to check them out, along with the lighthouse.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m glad we made it to the beach just in time to watch the sunset. It was pretty spectacular. It’s too bad about all the rain the next day, but it gave us a good excuse to check out the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (and to play some board games).

  7. Ab says:

    This looked like a wonderful weekend, Linda. I agree with you that camping reservations are so competitive and stressful. I’m amazed I got Killbear.

    If it wasn’t for school, I’d love to explore off season camping more. Those cabins sure look cozy and I bet it’s a great experience!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s crazy how popular camping has become. I can’t blame people as I enjoy it too and I’m part of the problem trying to reserve campsites! Hopefully our government takes this as a good sign to invest in a few new provincial parks (rather than just expanding campgrounds). That’s awesome that you snagged something at Killbear, especially if it’s over a weekend.

      And yes, those rustic cabins are a real treat. It’s so nice to not have to set up (and take down) a tent. Plus, having heating inside is also a huge plus.

      • Ab says:

        I read just yesterday that 20 provincial parks now require you to sign up for day passes – so they’re operational using the pilot from last summer. I take that as a good thing and can minimize stress with planning or parking.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I saw that too! I’m a huge fan of the day-use reservation system as it’s never fun to deal with the crowds. It’s too bad that you can only book five days in advance, but in some ways it’s nice as you have a better sense of what the weather will be like.

  8. Bama says:

    That sunset photo is beautiful! I just love how blue the skies were (if there was sun) during your stay — it’s something I often miss since living in such a big city like Jakarta where it’s often hazy. I wonder how nice it would be to watch the stars at night in this provincial park.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s always something so magical about watching the sunset by the water. I’m glad we made it to the beach just in time. It’s funny because I often don’t pay too much attention to the sunset unless I’m on vacation. It’s too bad. The stargazing here is fantastic since there are no bright city lights around.

  9. leightontravels says:

    As soon as you said the words ‘rustic cabin’ you had my full attention. I love the heated enclosed front porch. The scenery is magnificent and what a beautiful sunset. The Tom Thompson gallery looks very interesting and is a perfect shelter on a rainy day. Your article features as always great photography, but I find myself particularly drawn to the photo of the first lighthouse with the background of moody skies and the ocean.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You are too kind. The heated enclosed front porch was a nice feature. Most of the rustic cabins that we’ve stayed at before had heating, except the front porch area wasn’t. It was much appreciated with the gnarly weather we had on the one day. It was nice to just leave all our wet boots and jackets there and let them dry off. The Tom Thomson Art Gallery is quite small, but it was a fun activity to avoid the rain. There’s just something special about watching the sunset by the water. The colours in the sky were quite stunning and it was nice to see them reflected in the water.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Tom Thomson Art Gallery is pretty small, but it was a fun excursion to avoid the heavy rain. I’m glad we had some periods of nice weather during the weekend so it wasn’t a complete bust. And watching that spectacular sunset was such a highlight.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Lake Huron is one of my favourite lakes in Ontario. It’s also one of the best places to watch the sunset. I can only imagine how scenic Point Pleasant Park is with a name like that! We’re actually thinking of visiting Halifax either in May or June.

  10. Bernie says:

    A)you avoided mosquito season in the marshlands
    B)you had the trails to yourself.
    C)perhaps it’s cheaper off season
    D)board games are a perfect rainy day activity.
    Love love love the sunset and the blues of the water are amazing!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The weather in the early spring can be hit or miss. But I’d rather deal with some wet and muddy trails than the bugs or the crowds. The cost of booking a rustic cabin is the same regardless of the time of the year, but it’s so much easier to book them during the off-season. That was easily the best sunset that we’ve seen all year so far. But here I thought that red skies at night were a good sign of nice weather for the following day. Apparently not! Oh well, at least we came prepared with board games!

      • Bernie says:

        Red sky at night
        Sailers delight
        Red sky in the morning
        Sailers warning…
        Seems rather greedy that off season isn’t a least somewhat cheaper.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I hear yah. But then again, if it were cheaper in the off-season, it might be harder to reserve. Besides, I’d rather visit during the off-season anyway as I have no interest in dealing with noisy campers or crowded trails.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m always a fan of boardwalks. The Huron Fringe Trail is relatively short, but passes a huge variety of the different habitats found in the park, including the forest, wetlands, sand ridges and the Lake Huron shoreline. The Presqu’ile Lighthouse is very picturesque. It’s too bad we couldn’t inside.

  11. rkrontheroad says:

    If I get up that way again, I will try to stop at Owen Sound for the Thomson gallery. I’m a fan of the Group of 7. I bought a wonderful print by Allan Smutylo in Tobermorey years ago, that hangs over my sofa, and met him. Do you know his work?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Tom Thomson Art Gallery is pretty small, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. It was also a great activity for us to avoid the rain! I haven’t heard of Allen Smutylo, but I just checked out some of his work and it looks beautiful. Thanks for putting him on my radar. That’s amazing that you bought some of his work and even got to meet him.

      • rkrontheroad says:

        His girlfriend/partner is a friend. She worked with my brother years ago. She’s a potter (we had that in common) and lives on Georgian Bay. So I actually had dinner at Allen’s house and got to see his printmaking studio and hear some of his amazing travel stories. So impressive.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        It’s nice to have such wonderful stories from some of the art you’ve collected. It becomes more than just a piece of art. Sounds very impressive to meet the artist and get a special behind the scenes glimpse into his studio.

  12. BrittnyLee says:

    I bet herons would love the wetlands in the warmer parts of spring. That place looks gorgeous. Good idea to go during off season . I could see how it would get packed during the peak season.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. I bet the bugs would also love the wetlands later in the spring too! Our parks have become crazy busy these past few years so we’ve been trying to make the most of visiting during the off-season. Even though the weather was all over the place, I’m glad we had some periods of blue skies and sunshine to enjoy the trails and the scenery.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        Yes!!! It’s nice to enjoy. I could definitely do without the humidity though lol 😜 I’m glad you guys are trying during the off season. It’s probably a lot less stressful that day 🙂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I hear yah. We had a taste of some hot and humid weather last week and I wasn’t a fan. Thankfully it’s cooled off quite a bit this week. However, an issue that we’re dealing with now is smoke from all the wildfires in Quebec and eastern Ontario. It’s super hazy outside and there’s an air quality warning. You can even smell the smoke. It’s very weird.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        That’s terrifying . We had that here, too. The smoke was so bad, the sun turned red and pink through the haze. I took some photos of it. We weren’t allowed outside much this week bc of the smoke. At my client’s house, we had to stay inside until Thursday and Friday as the smoke left. I was worried about you , hoping you weren’t traveling that way. I’m glad to read these comments and know you’re ok.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        It was very eerie. It sounds like you had a similar experience in terms of the smoke and haze. I tried to limit my exposure to the outdoors too, but unfortunately I still had to go into the office on one of the worst days. I ended up wearing a mask when I had to go outside. Thankfully we got some much needed rain the past couple of days and the air quality has improved significantly.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        Thank God. I’m glad the smoke lessened for you guys. It’s still here a bit but it’s gone away quite a bit here, too, thankfully.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        We’ve dealt with hazy skies from wildfires before, but this was so much worse. And it’s hard to believe it’s just the start of summer. Here’s to hoping the wildfire situation doesn’t get worse or that this is the new normal.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I know. It blows my mind that most of our politicians refuse to admit that the increase in wildfires in recent years is linked to climate change. It’s a good reminder that we can and should be doing more to protect our environment.

Leave a Reply