Often referred to as the jewel of the north it is easy to see why this Provincial Park is a summer hot spot. Located on the Eastern Shore of Georgian Bay this park offers a diverse landscape from the granite rocks to the soft sandy beaches to the thick green forests. Offering seven different campgrounds with 882 campsites, miles of scenic hiking, warm waters to swim or windsurf in, cliffs to jump off of and those infamous Georgian Bay sunsets; it is best to book early if you want to spend a night or two.
A day at Killbear can be spent in or out of the water; or a combination of both exploring the park.
To get your blood pumping we suggest starting off with one of the hiking trails. Killbear offers three hiking trails along with a 6km hiking/biking trail. The trails range in length from 1km to 3.5 km and offer breathtaking scenery and wildlife spotting.
The short Lighthouse Point Trail is a favorite of visitors to the park as it takes you along the rocky shoreline and provides views of the 30,000 islands. The looped trail should only take you about an hour and be sure to keep your eyes out for the 1940’s lighthouse that was once used to guide passenger ships into Parry Sound.
If you want something a little more challenging the Lookout Point Trail will wind you through numerous forests and rock outcrops and keep you informed with a trail guide along this 3.5km loop.
The Twin Points Trail which is a 1.5 km loop provides a beautiful view of Georgian Bay and the beach that extends from the Kilcoursie to Georgian campgrounds.
If you don’t quite feel like getting your feet wet in the warm Georgian Bay waters yet; the Visitors Centre should be your next stop. This new centre features exhibits such as the popular live snake display with daily snake talks throughout the summer. Here you will also find out about various children’s programs, guided hikes and special activities happening throughout the summer. Make sure to check out their special events such as the summer concert series happening at the amphitheatre.
Once you are ready to hit the beach, the options are endless. If you are staying at a campsite there will be a designated beach for you to use but that doesn’t stop you from exploring the many shorelines whether rocky or sandy. The largest beach is three kilometers long and stretches from the Kilcoursie to Georgian campgrounds.
For folks who are heading up just for the day there is a beautiful sandy day use beach packed with amenities and is host to the children’s programs throughout the day. The shallow waters are great for kids and families and are often warmer than expected. It is important to be aware that a lot of people like to bring their boats to this area and it can get crowded in the boating waters.
Camping at Killbear is an experience unlike any other and if you want to book a campsite it is suggested you do so early on in the season. There are seven different campsites to choose from all situated less than a 10 minute walk to the shoreline. Car camping is available at all seven campsites and every one except Granite Saddle offers comfort stations with laundry. Electrical campsites are offered at Kilcoursie, Beaver Dams and Harold Point campgrounds. Harold Point campground is often thought to be the favorite with its large private campsites along with less crowds than others.
Other popular activities
at the park include fishing where you can catch lake trout, smallmouth bass, walleye and pike. Canoeing and kayaking remain an ever popular sport as does biking the 6km trail.
Saving the best for last there is no better place in Ontario to be to watch the sunset than Killbear Provincial Park. You can do no wrong watching the sun sink from any point in this park but the most popular spot to watch the sky magically turn from blue to orange is Harold’s Point; a popular cliff jumping spot in the daytime. Most visitors to the park choose to end their nights, stretched out amongst the big beautiful rocks watching the glorious colors amongst friends. A perfect ending for a perfect day at Killbear Provincial Park.
Contributors: Lindsay MacNevin