Fall Weekend at Killbear Provincial Park

Last week, our family displayed acute symptoms of camping withdrawal disorder: desire to sleep on the hard ground, cravings for slightly burned food prepared over a campfire, constant attempts to block out the noisy city to hear the birds. With the next camping trip two whole weeks away, we knew we couldn’t last that long. We needed our camping fix now. So on Friday night we threw our gear into the back of our car and headed to Killbear.

rocky shoreline at Killbear Provincial Park

Located on the shores of Georgian Bay just north of Parry Sound, Killbear Provincial Park is only two and a half hours away from Toronto, a perfect destination for a spontaneous weekend getaway. We camped there many times before but it has been a few years since our last trip so we thought we were due for a return visit.

rocky island at Killbear Provincial Park

September is a great time to go camping. School, tight schedules and the arrival of fall take care of the usual summer crowds so there are more campsites available (even at the last minute, an almost miraculous occurrence in the summer) and fewer people milling around. Add amazing weather and splashes of early fall foliage peeking through the green and you have a perfect camping trip.

hiking along the rocky shoreline at Killbear Provincial Park

We got a great campsite at the Harold Point campground with lots of space and the blue waters of Georgian Bay visible through the trees. Most of the sites at Harold Point were filled but the Georgian campground right next to it was already closed for the season. So we had no “backyard” neighbours, except for scores of energetic chipmunks chasing each others through the grass and blue jays swooping through the trees. Neither agreed to stay still long enough to be photographed.

campsite 564 at Killbear Provincial Park

We also had regular visits from a couple of does who were more than willing to pose for a picture.

a couple of does at Killbear Provincial Park

doe at Killbear Provincial Park    doe at Killbear Provincial Park

doe at Killbear Provincial Park    doe at Killbear Provincial Park

doe at Killbear Provincial Park

doe at Killbear Provincial Park      doe at Killbear Provincial Park

And one morning, we managed to capture (on camera, not literary, of course) a yellow-shafted flicker. These birds have beautiful yellow underwings (hence the name) but this little guy refused to demonstrate them for us.

yellow-shafted flicker

A picturesque rocky shoreline with its signature wind-swept pines is our favourite part about Killbear so on Saturday we decided to take a hike along the shore all the way to the Lighthouse.

rocky shoreline at Killbear Provincial Park

rocky shoreline and lighthouse at Killbear Provincial Park

sitting on the rocks at Killbear Provincial Park   kid sitting on a rocky ledge at Killbear Provincial Park

Some of the trees started to change colours, with red, yellow and orange breaking up the green and blue monopoly of the landscape.

rocky shoreline at Killbear Provincial Park

fall foliage at Killbear Provincial Park   rocky shoreline at Killbear Provincial Park

Killbear’s rocks with their intricate lines and elaborate layers never cease to amaze me, a remarkable combination of history and music carved into stone.

rocks at Killbear Provincial Park   rocks and plants at Killbear Provincial Park

rocks at Killbear Provincial Park   rocks at Killbear Provincial Park

rocks at Killbear Provincial Park   rocks at Killbear Provincial Park

During our hike we met two snakes, luckily neither was a massassauga rattle snake. We also stopped at the Visitor Centre right in time for a snake demonstration. After holding one in his hands, our son declared he wanted a pet snake. Hope that desire will pass.

snake at Killbear Provincial Park    snake at at Killbear Provincial Park

snake demonstration in the visitor centre at Killbear Provincial Park   snake demonstration in the visitor centre at Killbear Provincial Park

After checking out the lighthouse (some of us even managed to squeeze in a bit of nap), we headed back.

relaxing near the lighthouse at Killbear Provincial Park    lighthouse at Killbear Provincial Park

This time we decided to take the Recreation Trail since it was shorter and faster. With visions of veggie burgers and ramen noodles in our head, shorter and faster was what we wanted. There was more fall foliage visible along the trail, and with sun sipping through the trees, the forest looked like it was glowing.

fall at Killbear Provincial Park   recreational trail at Killbear Provincial Park

red maple leaves at Killbear Provincial Park

red maple leaf stuck in pine branches   fall foliage at Killbear Provincial Park

orange maple leaves at Killbear Provincial Park

yellow oak leaf at Killbear Provincial Park   acorn on a stump at Killbear Provincial Park

We met a cute little porcupine along the way. He eyed us suspiciously, then slowly climbed up a tree, settled comfortably between the branches and proceeded with munching on green leaves.

porcupine at Killbear Provincial Park

porcupine climbing a tree at Killbear Provincial Park   porcupie climbing a tree at Killbear Provincial Park

procupine in a tree at Killbear Provincial Park

Evening brought a beautiful sunset and some much needed campfire time.

after the sunset at Killbear Provincial Park

rocks in the water

after the sunset at Killbear Provincial Park

sunset at Killbear Provincial Park   campfire at Killbear Provincial Park

fish and chips at Henry's Fish Restaurant in MidlandLeaving on Sunday morning required a lot of willpower. The upcoming Thanksgiving camping trip and a promise of fish and chips on our way home were the only things that made the whole packing process bearable.

We stopped at Henry’s Fish Restaurant in Midland for our traditional post-camping fish and chips lunch. Delicious food, beautiful decor and scenic location at Wye Heritage Marina – we will definitely be coming back!

For a list of other great parks to visit in the fall, check out my article on Parks Blogger Ontario.

 

 

14 thoughts on “Fall Weekend at Killbear Provincial Park

  1. Fantastic images! Also quiet jealous that you saw a porcupine. I was there for labour day and I too ran into the deer as well as a bear. Sadly I didn’t think to clear enough to take a picture of the bear. But the sunsets on lighthouse point were just stunning, I posted some of them on my blog recently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, the porcupine was very cute, the way it moved, the way it looked. One of my favourite animals! We didn’t see a bear but when we stopped at the Visitor Centre we saw that quite a few people mentioned bears on the animal sightings board.
      And I just checked out some your posts. Great sunset pictures! Killbear is such a beautiful park!

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  2. Beautiful fall photos! The porcupines are very cute. This is the first times I’ve seen pictures of them climbing trees. The patterns in the rocks are very interesting! I’d love to go on these camping/hiking trips. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Jane! Yeah, it was our first time seeing a porcupine climb a tree too. It looked very funny. And the rocks in this park are fascinating. I remember the first time we came there, I couldn’t take enough pictures. There are lots of beautiful hikes and places in Canada and in the world, for that matter. Not enough time to see all of them!

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  3. Pingback: The Best Camping Moments of 2015 | Gone Camping

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