Killarney Camping & Hiking
Camping in Killarney
If camping is on your 2022 to-do list, Killarney Provincial Park should be a top pick. It offers 645 square kms of rugged Canadian shield to explore with picturesque paddling and hiking routes. Last September we found ourselves with a couple free days so we checked the Ontario Parks website and there was an opening. Perfect. We loaded up the hippie van, grabbed the pups and headed north. 3 1/2 hours later we there, set up on a nice site not too far from the George Lake beach and put-in. One of the great things about our Vanagan is that if a last minute opportunity comes up, we can be ready to go in a very short time!
- Over 50 exceptionally clear, sapphire lakes
- Extensive backcountry paddling routes
- 183 back-country campsites
- Miles of great hiking trails
- Open year round with ski trails
- Yurt rentals available
After a leisurely morning breakfast we walked the dogs around the camping area, checked out the 2 beaches and decided to do a short day paddle. This would be the first time for both pups in the the canoe so we weren't sure what we were in for. In the end they did just fine, sleeping much of the time curled up and content. George Lake is picturesque with very clear water and we had a great afternoon paddle. There's several campsites on the lake but they're spaced far apart and the privacy is excellent. If you're searching to do some easy paddle-to camping this is might be a good choice.
Hiking in Killarney
On this trip we hiked the Granite Ridge Trail and we hope to do several more this summer so we can give you more "first hand" observations. We will add to the post as we go....
Cranberry Bog Trail
"The Bog" trail is a moderate 4 km trek the begins at the Proulx Marsh and winds its way through grassy lowlands and around swamps. Part way through you will reach A.Y. Jackson Lake, a headwater lake located at the top of the waterway. you can see a stream across the lake which provides an outlet draining into George Lake.
Granite Ridge Trail 2 km
One of the parks shorter trails at 2 kms., it takes about a little over an hour at an easy pace to do the loop. The trailhead is located right across the road from the Park office with ample parking. There are 2 lookouts with spectacular views to the south of Collin's Inlet & Phillip Edward Island on Georgian Bay and north to the La Cloche Mountains. We found the trails to be very well marked and in good shape with a few steep sections close to the lookouts.
Lake of The Woods Trail
This loop is a little more challenging than Granite Ridge and takes about 3 hours to cover the 3.5km distance. It encircles Lake of the Woods going through old growth forests, both hardwood and softwood areas and rocky outcroppings. From the outcrops you can see Silver Peak to the west and Lake of the Woods below. The trail goes down to the shoreline where a boardwalk connects to the lake’s only island.
Chikanishing Trail 3 km
This trail winds along the park’s southern boundary and crosses a series of small ridges and then ending at a 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 can be found at several points and tell the story of this part of Georgian Bay.
Probably Killarney's most famous trail, The Crack is a challenging 6km. route that typically takes 4 hours.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!
La Cloche Silhouette Trail 80 km loop
A great backpacking route, the Silhouette trail takes 7 to 10 days to complete depending on you fitness & experience level. 80 kms in length and challenging terrain, it's not for the novice hiker. If it looks a bit daunting you can also take shorter trips starting from two trailheads in George Lake Campground but keep in mind you need to retrace your route and come back as theses are not loops!
There's also several experienced local outfitters that can help with planning, canoe rentals and supplies. Here's a list of their sites;
Killarney is a great destination for many reasons. There's so much to do when you're there with great hiking, paddling and beaches all wrapped up with some of Ontario's most beautiful terrain.