One of my favourite places to go in the summer is Killbear Provincial Park. The park is located just north of Parry Sound, Ontario, about a 2.5 hour drive from Toronto. It is an extremely popular campground, especially for families partly because of it’s proximity to Toronto but also because the abundance of activities. There are beautiful, sandy beaches with shallow waters, diving/jumping rocks with heights from a stones throw to insane, hiking trails, and a path that runs along the road through the length of the park, perfect for cycling or jogging. So despite having a total of 881 campsites in seven different campgrounds within the park, reservations must be made well in advance. My love for Killbear started when I was a child, as this would be our summer vacation. I have great memories of playing in the sand, hunting for crayfish, and of course, even at a young age, taking pictures there. After a ten year hiatus, I finally returned to my old summer stomping grounds a couple of years ago. And even though I know have children myself, I have yet to take them here. This vacation, remains for me…a time for the three R’s: time to reboot, reset, and recharge.
Hiking at Killbear
The main hiking trail is Lookout Point trail. This trail is about a 45 minute loop of mild to moderate difficulty. At times you’ll be climbing slopes with rocks as steps or walking on a board walk through a bog. The trail is clearly marked so no risk of getting lost. Along the way you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation and if you are quiet enough you might even see a deer or two. The reward is the view at the farthest part of the loop.
The Dog Beach at Killbear
One of the other great things about this campground that I didn’t mention is the dog beach. Most parks advertise a dog beach, but it is hardly a beach at all. More like an area of grass and mud not good enough for the uprighted two legged creatures so it’s relegated to their furry, four legged friends. But Killbear’s dog beach is very different. There are actually three different sections of beach in the “Pet Exercise Area” with lots of smooth granite rocks that slope gently into the water if that is your preference. The beaches for the dogs are beautiful, natural, and sandy. They are east facing so the sun starts to dip behind the trees at about 3-4pm. This is where I prefer to spend my days, hunkered down on the beach reading a book, refreshing myself with a dip in the water, all while my trusty companion can run, swim, and play with his ball or other dogs all leash free.
Wildlife at Killbear
There is an abundance of wildlife in Killbear. Deer is a common site and even bears will venture off into campsite in the search of food, apparently not even deterred by the name of the park.
Sunsets at Killbear
A post about Killbear would be incomplete without some pictures of the glorious day’s end. Sunsets are enjoyed from various vantage points, but the most popular is Harold’s point, which serve as the diving/jumping rocks for most of the day. Many people choose this way to end their day at Killbear. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Ah beautiful Killbear. I promise, someday I will bring my kids here, but for now, I’m keeping Killbear all for myself…well myself and the 250,000 to 300,000 people that enjoy the park each year.
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