Killbear is one of Ontario’s best parks for summer camping. The park is loaded with beaches and great hiking opportunities. And, yes, even cliff jumping. Take the plunge 10 metres into the waters of Georgian Bay.
Table of Contents
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 due to 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 and both electrical and non-electrical sites. Several sites are classified as “barrier-free”. Pull-through sites are available for large camper/RV units. None of these sites have individual sewer or water service. A trailer dumping station and 2 potable water stations are available. Looking for more peace and quiet? Several of the campgrounds are radio-free and generator-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. These 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.
Comfort Stations are in all campgrounds with the exception of Granite Saddle. These buildings include flush toilets, showers and laundry facilities.
Killbear is such a great provincial park. No matter which campground you choose, you really can’t go wrong.
Killbear is a very busy, 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 website. The system accepts reservations up to 5 months in advance of arrival (meaning book February 1st to make a reservation for July 1st).
Killbear Winter Camping
New for 2023, Killbear is open from January to March 20, 2023 for winter camping and day-use.
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.
These 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|
Killbear Provincial Park Hiking Trails Map
Lighthouse Point Trail
The trail is an easy, 800-metre loop through the woods to Killbear Point and on 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.
Park in the parking lot at the trailhead or bike along the Recreational Trail to reach the trailhead.
Twin Points Trail
This pleasant 1.6-kilometre, loop trail provides great views of the entire Killbear Peninsula on Georgian Bay. Walk through forest, along sandy beaches and across bedrock ridges. Look down walking across the rock. Watch for 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 in the Day Use parking lot at the trailhead.
Lookout Point Trail
On the longest loop (3.5 kilometres), 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.
Theee is a small parking lot 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 metres. Be sure 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.
All campgrounds have beaches near them but most are smaller and rockier. 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.
The only beach for pets is near the group camping area on the eastern side of the peninsula. It is the only off-leash area. Pets must be on a leash everywhere else in the park.
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 here.
You will need to bring your own canoe or kayak. There are no rentals onsite. Rentals are available from outfitters just outside the park boundaries.
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 for exploring the area by boat. 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! Fish for Lake Trout, Smallmouth Bass, pike, perch and walleye. Lake Trout fishing is only permitted in Big Sound, the eastern side of the Killbear peninsula. These waters are known as a very productive Lake Trout fishery. The western side of the peninsula, Kilcoursie Bay, is a sanctuary and closed to Lake Trout fishing.
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 trip souvenir 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 park arrival. 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 Fox snakes.
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?
New for 2023, Killbear is open from January to March 20, 2023 for winter camping and day-use. Killbear opens fully May 12, 2023 and closes at the end of October.
Interested in more Itineraries? Sign up here.