Killbear is one of Ontario’s best parks for summer camping. The park is loaded with beaches and great hiking opportunities. And, yes, you can even try cliff jumping, plunging 10 meters into the waters of Georgian Bay.
Where is Killbear Provincial Park?
Killbear is just 3 hours north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada on beautiful Georgian Bay. It is one of Ontario’s busiest provincial parks with its close proximity to heavily populated Southern Ontario and its many things to do.
Killbear Provincial Park Map
Killbear is a large campground with over 1,000 campsites with both electrical and non-electrical sites. A few sites are classified as “barrier-free”. Pull-through sites are available as well for large camper/RV units. Though none of these sites have individual sewer or water service, a trailer dumping station and potable water fill-up are available. If you are searching for more peace and quiet, several of the campgrounds are also radio-free.
Where are the Best Campsites at Killbear?
Answer: The best campsites at Killbear are at Beaver Dams Campground.
AvrexTravel conducted a survey of 113 campers who visit Killbear every summer. Beaver Dams came out on top, with Kilcoursie a close second place. Here are the results of that survey:
|Blind Bay (non electric only)||10%|
|Granite Saddle (non electric only)||4%|
|Georgian (non electric only)||3%|
My personal pick for best campsite is the Kilcoursie Bay Campground. The sites tend to be larger and have the best access to the main beach. Beaver Dams Campground would be my second choice for its access to the beach and the best spot to watch the spectacular Georgian Bay sunsets.
2022 Update: There is news that electricity will be added to sites in Lighthouse Campground. We may see that campground become more popular.
Killbear is such a great provincial park, no matter which campground you choose, you really can’t go wrong.
Killbear is a busy and popular park in the summer. Even with over 1,000 campsites, the park fills up quickly. Book early! Killbear reservations can be made at the Ontario Parks Reservation. The system accepts reservations up to 5 months in advance of your arrival date (meaning book February 1st to make a reservation for July 1st).
Killbear Hiking Trails
There are several hiking trails to choose from at Killbear, varying in length from 800 metres to 6 kilometres. None of them are considered technically challenging. Vehicle parking is available at each trailhead.
Killbear Provincial Park Hiking Trails Map
Here are basic details about the 4 trails at Killbear Provincial Park.
|Lighthouse Point Trail||Easy to Moderate||800 m / 0:25|
|Twin Points Trail||Easy||1.6 km / 0:40|
|Lookout Point Trail||Moderate||3.5 km / 1:30|
|Recreational Trail||Easy to Moderate||6 km / 3:00|
Lighthouse Point Trail
The trail is an easy 800 metre loop through the woods to Killbear Point to the Killbear lighthouse. Spend some time at the rocky beach by the lighthouse, skimming stones into the water and watching the boats go by. Lighthouse Point is another great location for sunsets.
You can get to the trail by driving to the parking lot at the trailhead. Alternately, take your bike along the Recreational Trail to reach the trailhead.
Twin Points Trail
This pleasant 1.6 kilometre loop trail takes you to great views of the entire Killbear Peninsula on Georgian Bay. You’ll walk through forest, along sandy beaches and across bedrock ridges. Look down as you walk across the rock. You may notice scratch marks on the rock from boulders being dragged across the bedrock by the glaciers during the last ice age.
There is plenty of parking at the trailhead which is in the Day Use parking lot.
Lookout Point Trail
On the longest loop (3.5 kilometres) you’ll walk through a mixed forest. Enjoy the beautiful shade provided by oak, sugar maple, yellow birch, cedar and pine trees. Hike to the top of the escarpment for an amazing view of Georgian Bay.
A small parking lot is beside the trailhead. The Recreational Trail is just across the main road from the trailhead as well.
This trail is a 6 kilometre dirt trail that runs the length of the park along the main park road. This is a great trail, taking hikers and cyclists through hemlock groves all the way to Lighthouse Point.
Things To Do at Killbear Provincial Park
In addition to hiking, Killbear has a great range of summer activities for everyone.
- Cliff Jumping
- Photograph the Killbear Tree
- Enjoy the Sunsets
Killbear Cliff Jumping
One of the most unique and exhilarating activities at Killbear is cliff jumping at Harold Point . Please note this activity is not encouraged by park staff. You are jumping at your own risk. On a hot summer day it is especially enjoyable but take care and practice common sense. At its highest point, the jump is over 10 meters. You need to step out far enough to clear the ledge below. It’s not as scary as it sounds. There are ledges below the cliff top so that even the kids can participate from a lower spot.
Swimming and Beaches
Beaches are within easy walking distance of all campgrounds at Killbear. The 2 kilometre long horseshoe-shaped beach at Kilcoursie Bay is by far the top choice. There’s plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the sun. The swimming is great. The large shallow area makes it easy to keep an eye on the kids.
The other campgrounds have beaches near them but they are smaller with rockier terrain. They’re still perfect places to relax and unwind.
The Day Use area at the west end of Kilcoursie Bay has a beautiful beach with plenty of parking.
There are 2 beaches for pets. One is beside the Day Use beach so pets must remain on-leash. The second is near the group camping area on the eastern side of the peninsula and is an off-leash area.
The water surrounding Killbear Provincial Park is perfect for paddling. There are lots of opportunities to land and explore some of the park’s 12 kilometres of shoreline. Davy, Scott, and Cousin Islands are also nearby. Many more islands are a short paddle away.
When the winds are calm, the near-shore paddling is easy. Be mindful that wind and wave conditions on Georgian Bay can change quickly. One thing for sure, the views are exceptional on this body of water.
You will need to bring your own canoe or kayak. There are no rentals onsite, but rentals are available from outfitters just outside the park.
I spent an entire day kayaking along the adjoining Parry Sound strait. I went as far as Lighthouse Point before turning around after an exhilarating day.
Killbear is in the 30,000 Islands, the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. This makes Killbear the perfect base to explore the area by boat. You can go sailing, cruising or even waterskiing. There are boat launches in Blind Bay Campground and Lighthouse Point Campground. However, low water levels limit the launch to smaller boats under 20 feet.
The 6 kilometre dirt-surfaced Recreational Trail along the main road is used by cyclists and walkers. Please be on the lookout for walkers when cycling. The trail is perfect for the kids, keeping them away from the vehicle traffic on the road.
Bring your fishing gear! Lake Trout, Smallmouth Bass, pike, perch and walleye can be found here. Lake Trout fishing is only permitted in Big Sound, the eastern side of the Killbear peninsula. These waters are known for a very productive Lake Trout fishery. On the western side of the peninsula, Kilcoursie Bay, is closed to Lake Trout fishing. The bay is now a sanctuary for the species.
Photograph the Killbear Tree
This dramatic windswept tree at Sunset Rocks is estimated to be over 100 years old. The tree is a favourite for photo enthusiasts. Create a souvenir of your trip with a family photo around this iconic tree.
Enjoy the Sunsets
After a busy day of fun, pick a spot along the rocks of the escarpment at Harold Point, on Sunset Rocks or on Lighthouse Point and enjoy the view. The sunsets on Georgian Bay can be spectacular.
Are groceries available at Killbear?
No. There are no groceries within Killbear Park. Remember to pick up food and ice in Parry Sound before you arrive. The Nature Shoppe in the Visitor Centre sells clothing, souvenirs, and artwork.
What is in the Visitor Centre?
The Visitor Centre has great interactive exhibits about the park, its wildlife and the surrounding area. Learn about the efforts to stabilize the threatened Massasauga Rattlesnakes and Eastern Foxsnakes.
Is there Wifi at Killbear Provincial Park?
Yes, if you need a Wifi connection, there is Wifi service at the Visitor Centre.
Are there bears at Killbear?
Yes. Black Bears have a natural range that can take them through the Killbear region. For the safety of people, and more importantly the bear population, it is important that campers bear proof their campsites. Do NOT leave any food or food containers out.
Why is the park called KillBear?
According to the website Friends Of Killbear, the First Nations called this point, Mukwa Nayoshing or ‘Bear Point’.
But then why is it called “Kill” Bear? Nobody knows for sure. However, the best guess is there was a mis-translation of the words and the name Killbear ultimately stuck.
Is Killbear Provincial Park open in the winter?
No Killbear is not open in the winter. Killbear opens mid-May and closes at the end of October.
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