Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario 637, Killarney, ON, Canada
Driving time from Barrie
Backcountry canoe-in sites
Options from the city
Located three hours north of Barrie and just over four hours from Toronto, Killarney is easily accessed with a straight shot up the 400. If you don’t have a vehicle, you can hop aboard Parkbus, which offers multiple pick-up spots in Toronto and heads to Killarney as part of their Ontario destinations.
Set your sights in advance
With 183 canoe-in sites spread across the park’s 50+ sapphire lakes, Killarney is a great place to break out your canoe (or your rented canoe) and spend some time on the water. It’s recommended that you book a site well in advance.
The further you go into the interior, the better availability you’ll find. Threenarrows Lake, located at the centre of the park, usually has more availability if you’re up for tough portages through the La Cloche Mountains. The lakes along the north side of Killarney are also less travelled. To help you plan and find a route that works for your skill level and getaway-time, do your research before you dip your paddle and look into guidebooks and maps.
From cliffs to canvas
Killarney is known for its unique geological features and the iconic Canadian landscapes that inspired Group of Seven painters (so much so that they actually convinced the provincial government to turn it into a park). The park is home to Jack Pine trees, deep blue waters, pink granite cliffs and the white quartzite ridges of the La Cloche Mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth.
For a peek at the inspiration behind the paintings La Cloche, Silhouette and La Cloche Panorama, hike The Crack – a difficult 6km climb that leads to panoramic views atop the Killarney Ridge. This trail, which is surrounded by the white cliffs of the La Cloche Mountains, should only be attempted if you are in good shape and can get an early start to what will be a long (and super scenic) day.
Hang out with the stars
Thanks to the lack of light pollution, Killarney is one of the best places in Ontario to stargaze. The park’s observatory is home to a 10-inch Meade LX5 telescope and heritage education programs.
Try visiting during the Perseid meteor shower in August for an exceptional show of light, and make sure to consult the park’s clear sky chart to check up on conditions.