I’ve been telling myself lately to actually go do the things that I find myself wanting to do, whether I have company or not. So this was one of the things I made myself go do. It was hellishly hot though so I just did the short trail but this is a great and very quiet park. Maybe they are all this quiet outside of Southern Ontario, but it was such a departure from the experience I had trying to go to Sandbanks Provincial Park on Prince Edward County last year. I only saw 2 other vehicles and 1 boat, basically the complete opposite of the 2+ hour long, 4 lane wide line for Sandbanks last August.
One thing to note that I was not expecting, and I didn’t see anything on the website about, is that there is no one at the gate at the park entry. You’re supposed to put your entry fee into an envelope, but I didn’t have any cash and there isn’t an ATM. There are stickers all over the building saying they take credit cards and debit cards, but there was no way to get inside the building, so I just wrote my Visa number and expiry on the inside of the deposit envelope, sealed it, and dropped it in. Although I have a funny feeling I was the only one of the few people in the park that did that. But just a note if you are coming up to camp there or something, bring enough cash to cover your fee, although you can book camping online and pay online, just not day passes.
It’s about a 25 minute drive from Sioux Lookout to the park entrance, I’d say it’s probably about 40-45 minutes from the Highway 17 and Highway 72 junction, on the beautiful Treaty 3 land of Obishikokaang (Lac Seul First Nation).
This was my very favourite part. I had no clue that there was this little island nor that you could get there. It was so beautiful and peaceful out there. It felt like you could see the whole park.
This is the map of trails in the park, I did the Little Walking Trail, and then took the side path down the Island Trail over to the Island and then cut back to the beach through the group camping area. I think when it starts to cool down I’ll go back and do the longer trail up to Five Ranger Point, there’s a great mix of deciduous trees and coniferous trees so I’ll bet that it is really pretty in the park in the fall.
This is where I ended my hike, I didn’t bring swim stuff and I was too self-conscious to swim in my clothes in front of people, so I just waded in up to my ankles, then read for a bit, and then once the beach cleared out, I dived right in in my leggings and sports bra. It worked quite well, the leggings were nearly dry by the time I got home. The water was an amazing temperature and I feel cool for the first time since the heat warnings started.
I could watch water sparkle all day.
I will 100% be back frequently, there was a sign on the entry station saying that day passes were free Monday-Thursday and Cedar Bay (the trail system just around the corner from me) is going to be closed for a long time to recover from a storm we had about a month ago now so I think that this might be my new regular hiking spot.
Anyways, if you are looking for a sign to hit up your local provincial/federal/state/national park – take this as it. And spend a Sunday getting all gross and sweaty, jump in the lake, and eat some ice cream. It’ll be good for your soul.