Introduction to Killbear
Arriving for our Killbear Park Hiking trip the sign at the entrance stated “active bear in campground”. And staying with the Outdoor Club of East York at the staff lodge we didn’t have to go far to find them as a bear came strolling up the sidewalk shortly after dinner that first night.
The 35 members of our group quickly piled out the door for a view and the bear changed direction and slowly wandered into the woods.
Located on the shores of Georgian Bar Killbear Provincial Park offers a number of short hiking trails. Combining a few of these hikes we were able to enjoy a good outing.
Killbear Park Road
Killbear Park Road starts from park entrance and continues through the entire park until reaching Lighthouse Point. It is a pedestrian/bicycle path which parallels the main park road. Fairly flat and sometimes with the road still visible it provides an excellent opportunity to see wildlife including deer, porcupines. etc/
Twin Point Trail
We started our walk from the staff lodge (near the park office) and headed along the road next to the Kilcourse Bay campground. In late September there were only a few campers despite the fact that it was quite warm. We crossed the day-use area to the start of the Twin Point Trail.
The park newsletter description stated this trail showcases the breathtaking scenery of Killbear Provincial Park so we were looking forward to seeing this route. We started along the short 1.8 km trail through a hardwood forest crossing sections of rocky outcrops. About half way through we reached the shore of Georgian Bay, a highlight of the hike. Rocky fingers struck out into the waters providing superb photo opportunities while on shore wind swept trees looked like they were right from a Group of Seven painting.
The group wanted to linger here and there were several benches with great views of the water. We then headed inland a bit along a boardwalk before reaching another rocky promenade. It was then back into the woods and back to the park office for about 5 km in total distance so far. And yes this short hike did offer breathtaking scenery as promised.
We then continued our hike along the pedestrian/bicycle path which parallels the Killbear Park Road for about a kilometer until reaching the start of the Lookout Point Trail. The park newsletter description stated this is a 3.5 km loop which winds through a mixed upland forest with a view of Georgian Bay.
So heading into the hardwood forest again we had to watch as there were many rocks and roots along the path. There were also many different types of mushrooms providing photo opportunities as well. Shortly we reached a boardwalk boarded by trees draped in autumn colours.
A short climb brought us to the lookout with breathtaking views of Georgian Bay. Even better there were two picnic tables where we could enjoy the scenery and our lunches. We completed the loop and headed back for a distance of 11-12 km on both trails.
For both these trails you could pick up guides located in the parking lot and there were corresponding numbered posts along the routes highlighting features.
Lighthouse Point Trail
The official hiking route is quite short so we extended it to about 14 km total for a full day outing. Starting from the staff lodge near the park office we cut through the Kilcourse Bay campground to straight to Georgian Bay.
While there is no formal trail we followed the waterline across a series of beaches, rocky outcrops and forest paths for about 8 km. The very last section was the short Lighthouse Point Trail and we stopped for lunch to enjoy the views.
Heading back for the 6 km distance we walked along the pedestrian/cycle path which parallels Killbear Park Road through the entire park. A brief stop was made at the park museum with exhibits on the wildlife plus a gift shop.
Another stop was made to watch some deer grazing along the edge of the trail. Some of the other group members walking behind also spotted a fox, a porcupine and one of the bears. We knew the bears often used the trail because fresh “bear poo” could be found each day.
Other Nearby Trails
In Parry Sound there is an 8 km Waterfront Trail along the shoreline. The Park to Park multi-use trail (hike/bike) stretching for 230 km from Killbear to Algonquin (includes the Seguin Trail) although part of our group found the section near Killbear too rugged to ride.
We stayed in the staff lodge which is available to groups off season. There are 18 bedrooms, a huge kitchen and several lounges with televisions. Also there are a number of campgrounds.
From Toronto take Highway 400 to just north of Parry Sound and exit along Highway 559 for 22 km, takes just over 2 ½ hours. Click on link for park information.
Other hikes north of Toronto – Coopers Falls Trans Canada Trail
Killbear Park hiking provides plenty of opportunity for easy hiking with spectacular scenery and the opportunity to see some wildlife.
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