Did this trail on a clear, sunny day. Do not attempt if it's wet or raining. Very challenging, lots... read more
Did this trail on a clear, sunny day. Do not attempt if it's wet or raining. Very challenging, lots... read more
On this occasion I decided to stick to hiking (no canoeing). I did three of the hikes - The Crack... read more
Killarney Park, also called ‘the Jewel of Ontario’, is one of the most beautiful parks in Canada. Its main features — wilderness, picturesque lakes and unique La Cloche Mountains, composed primarily of white quartzite — attract plenty of travellers who want to experience mother nature at her best. Although there are drive-in campsites in the park, the only way to really come into contact with its beauty is to hike or canoe along its many hiking and canoeing routes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of canoe routes require plenty of portaging, some over 4 km. long (some people say that if you go canoeing in Killarney Park, you do two trips at the same time: hiking and canoeing!). Luckily, Carlyle Lake at least does not require any portaging and is connected to Johnnie Lake and Crooked Lake, allowing for several hours of leisurely paddling.
Of course, getting a campsite in Killarney Park, especially over a long weekend (after all, we were going to stay during the Canada Day long weekend) is not an simple thing: you cannot just show up and get a permit! In fact, we had made the reservation some time in March, meaning that we could stay on any vacant campsite on Carlyle Lake. Since each campsite can legally accommodate up to 6 people, we also invited several friends who were going to join us later.
The drive to the park from Toronto, although long (over 400 km), was quite pleasant and we arrived at the park before 3:00 pm. First, we had to go to the main office (Lake George), get our parking & camping permits and then drive back to the Carlyle Lake Access Point, just off road 637. It took us probably over one hour to finally commence our trip. There was a nice campsite just across from the parking lot (well, if somebody were determined to camp in Killarney without a canoe, it would probably be possible to swim there), but we kept paddling towards a channel on the left leading to a bay with two campsites. In about 30 minutes we entered the channel and spotted a nice campsite. It seemed to be very lovely: located on a hilly rock, faced the west (meaning wonderful sunsets!) and gave us a breathtaking view of the lake. It was a little difficult to unload the canoe, as there was not any natural bay, but we managed. Dragging all our stuff up the hill was not something I enjoyed, but once I reached the top, I agreed that the site was awesome.
Soon, we were sitting on the rocky top of the hill, drinking cold beer and enjoying a sunset. I suggested that we hang our food for the night, but Catherine, as always, did not want to bother, hoping that no bear or other animal would be interested in our food (and fortunately, this time she was right). Even though it was the end of June, we got bitten by black flies that were still active; fortunately, after two days the very warm weather killed them off. There were mosquitoes, but well, it was something we had to accept! We also set up a cheap picnic shelter which was supposed to protect us from bugs and rain, but when it was windy, it would twist and turn so much that even being near it was probably much more risky than being getting a few bug bites. I attached a big, Canadian flag to it to celebrate the Canada Day.
On June 27, 2013, we paddled back to the parking lot, chained the canoe to a tree and drove to the lovely town of Killarney where we traditionally had Fish & Chips at the Herbert Fisheries and bought cold beer at the nearby LCBO store. This small town has certain charm, especially in the evening, when the sun is setting, all businesses close and streets become empty. We walked to the town’s only General Store, Pitfield’s, and then to the Killarney Mountain Lodge. While standing on the shores of the channel (between the town of Killarney and George Island), far away I saw an outline of the Foxes, a group of islands in Georgian Bay, just south of Philip Edward Island. In 2011 we stayed on West Fox Island and I was pretty sure it was the island I was looking at. In fact, some canoeists (especially kayakers) depart for the Foxes from the town of Killarney, yet this route requires paddling on totally unprotected waters of Georgian Bay... as well as is much more boring than paddling from the Chikanishing River access point. After sunset, we drove past the airport, to the very picturesque lighthouse. On the way back we also stopped at the local garbage dump, but it was locked and no bears were in sight. It was past 9:00 pm when we got back to the parking lot, put our canoe on the water (it was still where we had left it), attached the headlights and soon were paddling on Carlyle Lake in total darkness, eventually reaching our campsite after 10:00 pm.
Over the weekend our friends arrived. Since the weather was very nice, all of us paddled through a narrow part of the lake to Johnnie Lake and back. We saw a few beaver lodges — I remember that in 2009 one of them was actually occupied by a family of otters, who got quite agitated when we were paddling by and made various sounds, presumably trying to scare us off. Another day some of us decided to paddle on Kakakise Lake; since a portage of about 900 meters was required, I passed on this opportunity. Apparently the portage was quite rough, they got bitten by mosquitoes and while paddling on Kakakise Lake back to the campsite, they had some problems finding the portage! Of course, they did not bring a GPS unit with them — and I never leave home (or a campsite) without it or a map!
On our way back to Toronto we took a shower at Killarney Park, then stopped at the Hungry Bear Restaurant and several hours later safely arrived in Toronto.
Overall, it was an excellent and relaxing trip—Killarney Park has so much to offer!
Especially in the fall.
We went for a 9 day back country hiking trip... everything self serve, but the views and experiences come on a silver platter.
If you can't to a long duration trek, go to the park to see the fall colours, the pristine lakes and aroma of earth.
If you are up for a 2-4 our hike get a tour to Silver Peak or walk to "The Crack" from the secondary parking lot, again a spectacular view once you get through the 90 minutes of hike.
Be sure to pack out your garbage, don't leave any trash behind for someone else to clean up or animals to eat.
This was our first time here and we absolutely loved it! Our campsite was very nice and private. The washrooms were clean. We hiked the Granite Ridge Trail, beautiful, breathtaking views! Later in the day we did the Cranberry Bog Trail, this is a longer and more trying trail! Still some beautiful scenery and nature at is finest! Didnt see any bears, deer or moose, had chipmunks visiting our site as well as a racoon! Definately a place I would go again!
One of the most incredible places in eastern Canada. Just Great! Bring your kayak and explore the crystal clear lakes. The campground is well kept, sites are very ok and it is quiet. Enjoy!
Killarney is truly a unique area. Pristine sapphire lakes that are surrounded by one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth. The hills of the park are made of white quartzite which is a brilliant white rock almost gem like in appearance and smooth to the touch. You can paddle through the interior of the park with a canoe or kayak and the shoreline on Georgian Bay offers excellent sea kayaking through a world of pink granite outcroppings and crystal clear water. Killarney is one of the most beautiful areas in Ontario and probably Canada.
Killarney Provincial Park - is great for canoeists. One could could spend many weeks visiting all the lakes and islands, in and around the confines of the park. Or just do leisurely day excursions. Best to obtain a park map if you are planning to go into the interior of the park to locate the portages and hiking trails.
As for hiking, try the Granite Ridge Trail or the Cranberry Bog Trail - each trail can be done in well under 3 hours, taking you time.
There are 2 beaches at the George Lake Campground. And motor boats are not allowed in the park.
If you like to have close access to showers (7 private stalls) and flush toilets, campground B & C is the choice. If the group that you are with, is insistent upon having flush toilets, than choose a campsite close to any of the washrooms that have a "Barrier Free" logo (wheelchair accessibility). Otherwise it is back to nature and the Out House.
Book at least 5 months in advance if you want to have a specific campsite. This park is extremely popular.
If you like sunsets, campground D probably would be your best option, as it is slightly more isolated, with fewer campers and some of the sites sit right on the lake.
In our case we opted for the non-reserved sites (no other option as all the other sites were booked), first come, first serve and good luck. We arrived at the park at 09:00 (park office opens at 08:00) - the park gate sign read "Campground Full", and we were fortunate to get one of two sites still available at George Lake.
Campsite 141 was what we got stuck with - if you can, avoid this site, as the tent pad and the area around is quite angled - not level whatsoever, can be interesting in a tent when the person next to you literally slips and slides over. Had to place a 4 inch branch under the picnic table to level it, so that the frying pan would not slowly but surely make its escape off the stove onto the table. This site is extremely small and can only accommodate 1 large tent (8' x 8'), camp shelter (8' x 8'), with the picnic tables, fire pit and car, that is all that you can place here. The one nice aspect of this site is that it is somewhat isolated with Campsite 142 directly across - a better site than 141.
There appears to be at least 2 picnic tables at all campsites, including a fire pit. Wood bundles can be purchased for $7.00/bundle from the park office.
Set aside at least 4 nights for this park. Best time of year if you do not like the bugs, try late August or Autumn.
If you require a canoe rental, shop around, the prices vary substantially between outfitters for comparable canoes. And bring your own paddle and life jacket. The outfitters do supply 2 life jackets, 2 paddles and bailer with their rentals. An additional fee will be charged if you need another paddle or jacket.
Park's Campsite Fee - approximately $43/night for a maximum group size of six, with parking for one vehicle. This includes day use of the park facilities, trails, etc, for six individuals. i.e. the same fee is charged for 1 person or a group of six.
Would we return: Yes
Would we recommend this attraction: Definitely Yes
One nice aspect of this park is that they do not charge for usage of the showers.
At the Quebec Provincial Parks we visited, they charged for use of the showers, and in many cases, they gobbled up our coinage, and did not provide the shower - the park admin were not responsive to our issue, nor would Québec Provincial Parks - Parcs Québec - Sépaq respond to our e-mails regarding the issue.