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“Great Canoeing and Camping Experience!”

Massasauga Provincial Park
Ranked #8 of 39 things to do in Parry Sound
Attraction details
Reviewed October 2, 2011

The Massasauga Provincial Park has plenty of reservable campsites which are only accessible by water. Some are less than 30 minutes by canoe from the put-in point, others may require several hours of intensive paddling and even a few portages.

Since 2008 I have visited this park 5 times, once I camped on an island (Wreck Island) whose at least one other occupant was an inquisitive black bear. Actually, bears can sometimes be a nuisance and thus it is advisable to hang food on tree branches—otherwise be prepared for smashed coolers, stolen food and even damaged tents. Also there is a relatively good chance to come across the only venomous snake in Ontario, the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake—not a very common sight, though, as this species is quite rare and endangered.

We stayed for 3 days on a campsite located on the shore of Blackstone Harbour which was about 20 minutes by canoe from Pete’s Place and then paddled for almost 3 hours north to a campsite at Three Fingers Bay. Both campsites were great, although Three Fingers Bay was a designated mooring area and there were about 10 big yachts which spoiled the pristine view a little. The Moon River Marina, that we visited as well, had a store and an LCBO outlet (i.e., selling beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages). There are two hiking trails relatively close to Blackstone Harbour—the Moon Island Trail (4 km) and the Baker Trail (5.5 km). The latter starts at Calhoun Lodge and meanders around a blue heron rookery and the abandoned Baker pioneer homestead. It is also worth visiting the very picturesque Moon River Falls, less than 2 hours by canoe from the Moon River Marina. While staying at Three Fingers Bay, we paddled to Frying Pan Island, where the famous Henry’s Restaurant is located, and went to a small store which has an LCBO outlet with cold beer!

The whole area is quite scenic, has plenty of islands and bays and offers fairly good fishing. Wreck Island has amazing geological rock formations—the Wreck Island Trail (1.5 km) has a number of interpretive stops that explain the geology of the area. There are some private cottages in the park, cell phones worked pretty well. In the summer, especially on weekends, motorboat traffic can be quite heavy; their wake, especially in narrow channels or passages, may sometimes rock smaller crafts if they are not positioned properly towards the waves. Getting to some areas/campsites requires crossing of open and exposed waters of unpredictable Georgian Bay (which can be very risky or outright impossible to do if it is windy); therefore, it is important to listen to weather forecasts and have appropriate canoeing or kayaking skills—once I was unable to leave Wreck Island for several days due to strong winds and waves.

22  Thank Canadian_Guy1000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"canoe trip"
in 7 reviews
"pete's place"
in 4 reviews
"water access"
in 5 reviews
"almost hours"
in 3 reviews
"fire pit"
in 3 reviews
"provincial park"
in 12 reviews
"spider lake"
in 2 reviews
"georgian bay"
in 19 reviews
"peace and quiet"
in 2 reviews
"bear proof"
in 2 reviews
in 7 reviews
in 3 reviews
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in 11 reviews
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41 - 43 of 43 reviews

Reviewed June 14, 2011

Why is it one of Ontario's best parks? Simple: You can't drive to the camp sites.

The Massasauga is a huge park carved out of Georgian Bay cottage country, which has pros and cons. The biggest pro is that all the sites are accessible only by water. If you enjoy canoeing, kayaking, or small-craft sailing this is the park for you. If none of that sounds like it's up your alley, read no further. But you'll be missing out on some of the quietest, most expansive camp sites in southern Ontario. Even the crappiest site I've been to in the Massasauga is better than most sites in more developed parks. The Canadian Shield rolls in and out of the water, creating fantastically Byzantine shorelines and random rocky islands covered in white pine, jack pine, red oaks and maples. It is absolutely incredible.

The cons: As this is in the middle of cottage country there are a lot of cottages that front on to areas of the park. They're all pretty far from the camp sites (so far as I've seen) but it means that there's a fair deal of boat traffic in the south end of the park. The north end is much more isolated, but there is one mandatory portage - it's pretty minor, though. In the north end you'll really only see other canoers and kayakers, and occasionally a park boat will motor by. But, it's the closest thing I've gotten to feeling the isolation of a northern Ontario campground without having to travel that far.

That's it for the cons.

If you're in to sailing a small boat like a laser or a snark, definitely try the south end. There are a few straights where you'll have to row, but otherwise the waters are open enough to sail small craft and there's usually decent wind.

Definitely get a map of the park ahead of time, book well in advance, and consult the internet about better sites. Some are windier than others, but don't forget: More wind = fewer mosquitoes.

18  Thank kerux
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 27, 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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