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Visiting Bathtub Island: A Photo Guide

The elusive island, Bathtub Island, in Lake Superior Provincial Park is a hidden gem amongst the park. Located on a foot path half a kilometre south of Katherine Cove which you can see our instructions on how to get to Bathtub Island here. Perfectly named for the depression at one end of the island that water from Lake Superior flows in when the waves are high enough. Located only two hours north of Sault Ste. Marie, this are of Lake Superior is an untouched beauty than so many people as they drive north on Highway 17. This unique and beautiful island that is so close to shore offers us a glimpse of the rugged and pure charm that is Northern Ontario.

The water is certainly a bit warmer than Lake Superior itself as it sits in the shallow pool all day but is sure is not warm like a bathtub! Many people think Bathtub Island will be as warm as your typical bath or may be a place to soak like hot springs but it is not that kind of bathtub! It is a natural eroded rock that the water warms up as it basks in the sun in the shallow pool. Despite its cooler waters this all-natural basin is perfect to spend some time relaxing and taking in the incredible views of Lake Superior Provincial Park. We went first thing in the morning out to Bathtub Island shortly after sunrise so we could hopefully spend some time on the island without anyone else there and we were successful! Are we came out of the forest to see not another soul on the beach. People call Bathtub Island a hidden gem, but with is popularity growing on social media and on large blog posts it is a well known ‘hidden’ gem. But none the less it is still an incredible site to see and explore the island and if you get lucky to explore the island on your own you truly will get the feeling of the magic of Northern Ontario.

Mississagi Straight: Manitoulin’s Oldest Lighthouse

Standing tall on the rugged shores of the Mississagi Straight at the south-west end of Manitoulin Island is the oldest lighthouse on the island – the Mississagi Lighthouse. Built in 1873 the Mississagi Lighthouse guided ships through the difficult, rocky straight that separates Manitoulin Island from Cockburn Island.  A magnetic reef off Cockburn Island would interfere with ship’s compasses causing far too many shipwrecks. Now today the Mississagi Lighthouse now is home to a museum and campground where is an absolute must visit during your stay to Manitoulin Island.


Getting Here:

From anywhere on Manitoulin Island you want to start heading West towards the far west side of Manitoulin Island. One you hit Evansville you will want to stay heading West on Highway 540. From here you will travel 50km on Highway 540. You will turn left onto Mississagi Road and stay on this road until you reach the campsite. Mississagi Road is a gravel road that lasts for about 8km that can be very dusty so make sure to take it slow.  The Mississagi Lighthouse and Campground have done a wonderful job marking the way on Mississagi Road with mile markers and signage so you ensure you know where you are going.


Mississagi Lighthouse & Campground:

Imagine falling asleep to the sound of the water smashing up onto the rocky shoreline, looking up and seeing the milky way, the next morning waking to the smell of nothing but nature and the views of the Caribbean blue waters of the Mississagi Straight well that is all possible when you stay at the Mississagi Lighthouse and Campground!

Make sure to book early to one of the coveted waterfront sites. They offer a total of 38 sites on the campground from pull in, private unserviced sites, large sites to fit big RV’s. In our opinion the waterfront sites are where you want to stay as they felt more private and offer a view that cannot be beat. The interior forest sites felt very open and barren which you can see from the photo above.


Exploring the Mississagi Lighthouse Trails:

There are a lot of trails that wind along the shoreline, through the thick forest, over the rocks that drop into the crystal clear waters of the Mississagi Straight that are all well worth exploring.  We probably spent well over two hours climbing along the rocks, enjoying the view as the water smashed onto the rocky beach area and just relaxing. We were the only people on the trails that day and it felt like we were totally in our own world – so peaceful and perfect!


We could have easily spent a few days at the Mississagi Lighthouse and Campground relaxing, taking in the pure beauty of the area and exploring every inch of this hidden gem.  The drive to the west side of Manitoulin Island might seem far but it is well worth every minute in the car once you arrive you will not want to leave!

Staying at Kathleen Lake in Kluane National Park

The beautiful campground of Kathleen Lake in Kluane National Park just outside of Haines Junction is one of those bucket list places you will never forget.  The only place to camp inside Kluane National Park it is a highly sought out place for campers to spend a night or a week.  Situated amongst the thick aspen and spruce forest and steps away from the crystal clear Kathleen Lake the each of the 39 sites are large and all unique.  We had the opportunity to spend a night in Kathleen Lake and would go back in a heartbeat!

Here is our experience camping in Kathleen Lake, Kluane National Park & Reserve, Yukon!

What is the best campsite in Kathleen Lake?

We always like to do a lot of research on the campgrounds before we head out on a road trip to know which are the best spots in the campground with great views!  In Kathleen Lake there are three highly coveted sites that give you an incredible view of Kathleen Lake.  Additional to the view the fire pits are located away from the parking spot and there is lots of room for your tent or RV.  Which sites are these? They are sites 25, 26 and 27.  Site 27 is considered the most beautiful campsite in the world but don’t be discouraged if its full as the ones around it also have the same unparalleled view! We had the opportunity to stay in site 26 and could not believe our luck or the views we had all throughout the day.


Fees & Amenities at Kathleen Lake

With the 39 site campground make sure to arrive early to get a good spot or a spot at all during the summer seasons. With not being able to make a reservation Kathleen Lake runs on a first come first serve basis.  When you arrive make sure to grab one of the envelopes at the self-registration stand which you can either put cash into or put your credit card number down.  Campsites, per night, per site costs $15.70 CAD and firewood is $8.80 per day.  If you are interested in back country camping the overnight per person fee is $9.80.

Each of the campsites have large new wooden picnic tables, bear-proof garbage bins and bear-proof food lockers and firepits.  All sites are well spaced out, on gravel and there is lots of trees and undergrowth around each site to provide lots of privacy.

This is an unserviced campground with no electric or water hook ups and there is very little to no cell reception.  Water is available at taps but they do not recommend you drink it unless boiled first.  There is also no laundry, dump station.


What to do in Kathleen Lake

Kathleen Lake Campground is situated right on the edge of the lake that shares the name with the campground.  You do not have to venue very far into the park for some breathtaking mountain scenery in Kluane National Park.  The day use area has a beach where you can swim in the lake as well as there is plenty of hiking from 0.5 km to 96km long!  If you are looking to experience the interior of Kluane National Park the only way to do so is either an overnight multi-day hike or by taking a flightseeing tour like we did!

Killarney Provincial Park

Ever wanted to remove yourself from the busy hustle and bustle of the city and go somewhere really remote?  Well then you will find that Killarney Provincial Park is exactly what you are looking for.  Killarney park, also called ‘The Jewel of Ontario’, is one of Canada’s most beautiful parks. A beautiful five hour drive from Toronto will take you through the Canadian Shield and what feels like country road driving while still remaining on paved roads.  Your last hour of the drive is very peaceful on Highway 637, the only road in and out of Killarney.  Make sure you keep your eyes out for fox, deer and even black bears as they are known to be out at all hours of the day.

 

Here is our experience at camping at Killarney Provincial Park!

Getting to Killarney Provincial Park

Located only five hours north of Toronto you head up the 400 to to Highway 69 until you need to take a left down ON-637 where you will spend the last hour on and off paved and gravol roads heading into Killarney.  Once you turn down On-637 there is only one gas station and convenience store along the road until you hit the town of Killarney so make sure you have a full tank of gas and some snacks!

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Killarney Provincial Park is located 10 km before the town of Killarney on the right hand side of the highway.


Killarney Provincial Park – George Lake Campground

We managed to book a stunning campsite in Killarney Provincial Park that was right on the lake (Site 87)!  The site was a bit windy at night with a storm coming off of the lake, but the view was worth it!  If you ever get a chance to book a site on the waterfront, this is the way to go.  If you are planning on booking a site in Killarney, you will have to plan well in advance as they only have just over 100 drive in campsites and another 180 back-country canoe access sites.  The majority of the front country campground sites have a decent amount of privacy and are all within walking distance to both the bathrooms and the lake.

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The first thing you need to do upon arriving in Killarney Provincial Park once you arrive at your campsite is lock up all your food,  toiletries, and anything that may attract animals.  The bears, deer, and the raccoons will wander through your site at any time of day.  If you are like us and sometimes travel with the roof and doors off on our Jeep, Ontario Parks will happily provide you with a bear-proof box that is big enough to fit a cooler and lots more.  Despite us locking up the majority of our stuff, a raccoon managed to find the one item that we left in the tent and pestered us all night to find more!

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What to do in and around Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney is home to some of the most beautiful hiking in the area, so we took to the trails to explore.  We parked the Jeep in town and then hiked out to the Killarney East Lighthouse.  The lighthouse rests on rock 30 feet above Georgian Bay and provides incredible views.

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On our way hiking back into town we decided we would stay there for dinner and check out the downtown main street.  Killarney was founded in 1820 as a fur trading post on Georgian Bay.
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We had dinner at the Mountain Lodge and sat out on the bar deck and watched the sun go down.  One of our favourite spots for watching the sunset is down on the docks by the Mountain Lodge.  The way the sun reflects on the bay makes for some great photos!

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The drive back to the provincial park from the town is only about 10 minutes into the park gates. Although chilly, George Lake offers a nice refreshing swim with a sandy bottom at the shore.  We were able to walk right from our site into the water for a refreshing night swim before bed.  If you enjoy stargazing, this is the ideal place with very little light pollution allowing you to see thousands of stars from your campsite.

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Chris and I explored all of the drive in campsites as we walked around to see if we could get an idea of where we would like to camp next year when we come back.  Killarney offers great sites with close proximity to the bathrooms and a short drive to the main bathhouses.  Next time I would explore the back-country lots as there are 645 square kilometres of the park to be explored for those willing to paddle their way into those remote areas.

Visiting Grundy Lake Provincial Park

 

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Driving up Highway 69 through the winding roads of the Muskokas while the sun was setting was a perfect way for us to begin our adventure to Grundy Lake Provincial Park for the weekend.  For the group of 10 people who joined us for the weekend, it was everyone’s first time visiting Grundy Lake Provincial Park and for some a first time camping.

Grundy Lake Provincial Park was established in 1959 and has very spacious campground facilities, back country canoeing and camping, hiking trails, fishing and swimming.  The park stretches across four inland lakes with 6 beaches- Grundy, Gurd, Gut, and Clear lake.  There are 475 campsites that are split among nine campgrounds – of those, 138 have hydro.

The drive to Grundy Lake Provincial Park from Toronto is approximately three and a half hours in good traffic and once you get onto Highway 69 it is a peaceful drive as you are treated to the winding roads through the Canadian Shield.  The park is well marked on the highway and is a short distance once you turn onto Highway 522.

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We booked into the Balsam Campground as we wanted to be a little more secluded from the main traffic area and was walking distance to the beach.

We were in campsites 844 & 845 which connected to each other with little trees in the way which was great for a group!  We found that you had to be strategic with the placement of your tents as there was a lot of Canadian shield across both sites.  Other than the rocks it was a great spot! Our sites were a 5 minute walk to the beach and there was a well-maintained outhouse with a regular flush-toilet one camp site away.

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Grundy Lake is known to have bears that roam through the camp site.  Some tips for camping amongst bears:

  • Make sure your site is always clean especially when you leave.
  • Store ALL food and wildlife attractants in animal-proof containers – Provincial Parks often offer bear proof boxes they can drop off at your site.  If you do not have access to this place in a secure vehicle.  If these are not options, hang your food and garbage high in the trees.
  • Always put your food in your car at night – Never leave it in your tent or bears and raccoons may try to find their way in.
  • Don’t pack perfumes or scented soaps as these items can also attract animals to your tent.
  • Keep your fire pit clean and free of food residue.
  • Always keep your pets on leash.

We were fortunate enough not to run into any bears ourselves, but we heard there was a fair bit of activity from them during our time in the park.

Hiking in the provincial parks is a favourite past time of mine.  This time we choose to do the Swan Lake Trail, which is a 1.5km loop just before sunset.  This was an easy hike to do and made for some beautiful photos!grundy-lake-9grundy-lake-7grundy-lake-13 grundy-lake-16grundy-lake-17

Later in the evening once the sun had slipped beyond the horizon, our group decided to head down to the beach for a night swim and some fun with light-painting.

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Grundy Lake is often a forgotten provincial parks, but the benefit is that there are normally campsites available throughout the summer even on long weekends. This beautiful park should not be overlooked, and if you have the opportunity to check it out you’ll find that it is worth the drive.  Grundy Lake offers what many parks cannot offer in the Muskoka region – large sites, quiet campsites, uncrowded beaches, and is rarely sold out.

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