The fall colors were in full change when we visited Killbear Provincial Park north of Parry Sound. It is a pretty, small park on the edge of Georgian Bay. We have been to Awenda a number of times, north of Barrie and also on the Bay. We wanted to try a longer hike in a different location and decided on Killbear.
The autumn colors in central Ontario are beautiful and were turning around the time of a long weekend. After looking at some longer trails in Algonquin – which is both further away and offers more challenging trails, some without pets – we decided on the Parry Sound area. The Ontario Parks Web site has a nice map showing the current state of the leaves. And the Ontario Trails site has a Find a Trail tool that lists a huge number of trails but most of them are not very well described. It was hard to know what the trail would look like.
We decided on the Killbear recreational trail, which is a hard packed multi-use trail for hikers and cyclists. The trail head is normally at the main gate but when we arrived it was closed and we were directed to the Park Office a kilometer further in. If you were fastidious, you could hike the kilometer out and back. The trail follows the length of the main road all the way to the lighthouse at the tip of the park.
If you are looking for seclusion, this isn’t your trail. While you nearly always have trees and plants on either side, you’re rarely more than 10 feet from the road. I didn’t particularly notice it after we had been hiking for awhile. We started off at about 9:30 and had the trail almost entirely to ourselves.
At the end of the trail is a parking lot and then there is the very short Lighthouse Trail loop that takes you out to the tip. The lighthouse is a tall cylinder – not terribly nautical feeling – and the loop is very rocky. We enjoyed sitting on the rocks with the sun almost at its height and a clear blue sky.
There was a bear in the park while we were there but we didn’t see it. Loads of ground squirrels and chipmunks, though, and we were about 10 feet from a feeding deer. This is a great trail for families. We went 9 kilometers but even the 12 kilometers is not going to tax most pre-teens. It’s mostly flat and clear.
And the autumn colors were amazing. It was a fun day out.