About 7.5 hours from Metro Detroit, just a day’s drive away, is home to some of the most beautiful lakes and wildlife an adventurer can wish for. With just under 645 square kilometres of backcountry wilderness and 183 campsites situated on over 50 lakes, Killarney offers numerous canoe routes that can be explored for only a day or for over a week. The deep clear lakes, nestled between the impressive white hills of the La Cloche range, are a canoeist’s dream.
Where to stay at Killarney Provincial Park:
George Lake Campground is a beautiful campground with reservable yurts and campsites open year round. Some of the most desired spots live in George Lake D with excellent views of the lake. Backcountry camping is also an option, reachable via canoe. Killarney also offers walk-in winter camping, six heated yurts and two camp cabins.
Things to do:
There are many trails available for all levels of hiking. We did not get to do them all, but some trails we suggest and heard that are a must are:
Killarney Hiking Trails
- Chikanishing Trail 3 km (1.5 hours) moderate
This trail winds along the park’s southern boundary and crosses a series of small ridges and then ending at a wave-washed point on Georgian Bay. Vegetation is typical of the rocky, windswept terrain of Georgian Bay, though taller pine and oak have flourished in wind-sheltered spots where soil has accumulated. Old iron rings used for mooring lines during logging days can still be seen along the trail. Interpretive plaques tell the colourful history of this part of Georgian Bay.
- Granite Ridge Trail 2 km (1 hour) moderate
Providing views of the unique La Cloche Mountains for which Killarney is renowned the trail winds through old fields and forests and climbs to a ridge with two lookouts over the park. To the south, your eye moves along the shore from Collin’s Inlet and Philip Edward Island to the expanse of Georgian Bay. To the north, see the spectacular La Cloche Mountains.
- Lake of The Woods Trail 3.5 km (3 hour) moderate to difficult
This loop trail encircles Lake of the Woods, traveling through a variety of forest types, from old growth stands to elevated rocky outcrops. These outcrops offer excellent views of Silver Peak, six kilometres to the west and Lake of the Woods below. At one point, the trail descends to the lakeshore where a short boardwalk connects to the lake’s only island.
- The Crack 6 km (4 hour), difficult
The view from the top of Killarney Ridge is absolutely stunning. The immense white cliffs of the La Cloche Mountains surround you as you ascend through the cascade of huge tumbled boulders of what is known as”The Crack”. Once you reach the top of the ridge, you’ll be treated to beautiful panoramic vistas on all sides – certainly one of the best views in the park!
- Note: Do not try to reach the Crack unless you are in good shape and can get an early start.
Canoe or kayak to Killarney lake from George Lake Campground, moderate
Round trip, this adventure will take about 4 hours. Be careful on windy days, crossing George Lake is not easy and not suggested for beginners on a windy day. You can extend the length of this trip to visit O.S.A lake, which is said to be well worth it. This route crosses two portages, the first is short and second portage is much longer, about a 5-10 min walk. You can rent your Canoe or kayak at the Killarney Outfitters store and receive further details and information on canoe trips. A map of this route can be found here.
Tips and Suggestions:
- Most trails traverse over rock and are very slippery in the spring. Make sure to bring hiking poles and wear sturdy hiking boots with traction.
- Black flies are everywhere during April/May, a head net is absolutely necessary to even step foot outside of your tent.
- Be weary when choosing to canoe or kayak, windy days are not suggested for beginners or with children
- Be sure to fill up on gas in Sudbury. Killarney is about an hour away from any major city. Visit the town of Killarney (about 15 min drive west) for gas, small groceries and restaurants.
- Eat at Herbert Fisheries in Killarney, known for their famous fish and chips.