Killarney Provincial Park Sign - Bell Lake Access Road

Bell Lake Canoe Trip

Killarney Provincial Park

September 22 - 25, 2011

Bell Lake Canoe Trip - Killarney Provincial Park - Loon Island Outdoors

Canoe Trip Reports

Bell Lake

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
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Killarney Provincial ParkKillarney Provincial Park is famous for the rugged white rocks of the ancient La Cloche mountains, for the crystal clear lakes that were so seriously affected by acid rain and for it's association with the Group of Seven and in particular A.Y. Jackson who fought for the protection of the area starting with O.S.A. ("Ontario Society of Artists") Lake around which Killarney Provincial Park has grown and been preserved.


For a canoeist, Killarney has a lot to offer including not just the beautiful landscape, geology and history but also the established canoe routes and campsites, the minimal intrusion of cottages, lodges and motor boats and of course the portages. Yes if there is one thing that Killarney appears to Killarney Canoe Route Guidesbe better known for than anything else it is the intimidating portages. In planning my first real trip to Killarney, I made a point of reading both the "Killarney Provincial Park Canoe Guide" and Kevin Callan's "A Paddler's Guide to Killarney and the French River" . By the time I'd made it through those 2 books, I had just about decided not to go. You see, if you can believe Kevin Callan (and when it comes to canoe routes, he's a pretty reliable source) then it sounded like the average portage in Killarney started at 2km or more and would be straight up hill both ways. Doing 2 or 3 of those portages in a day would be normal?!? That's intimidating enough even before considering that 2 of the guys in our group were going to be sea kayaking.


Killarney Provincial Park MapBut wait ... here was one route that might just work for a first time trip to Killarney, even a trip that included a couple of kayakers. Even better we could include a hike to one of the many "must see" high points - the Silver Peak. Seeing as how we were planning our trip for late September, I figured we had a good chance to seeing some great fall colours from the top of Silver Peak. It looked like we had a plan. We'd start out from the Bell Lake access point and depending on the weather do the hike up to the Silver Peak one day. From Bell Lake we could get up to the end of Three Mile Lake without any portaging. The portage from Three Mile Lake into Balsam Lake is a whopping 30m! Heck, even the kayaks can handle that and Balsam was plenty big enough for us to spend a day fishing. That was another bonus to this route - while much of Killarney is still recovering from habitat Ontario Map - Killarney Provincial Parkdestruction due to acid rain, the north east section had held up much better (check out the Killarney Provincial Park Canoe Guide for details on the geology behind this) and offered us the chance for some bass and pike fishing.


Getting to Killarney is still a fair haul coming from southern Ontario. For us, it's a good 5 hour drive which puts it pretty much on the outer limit of what I'm willing to take on for a 4-day weekend trip. After heading north up highway 400 and highway 69, you turn off onto highway 637 which takes you west towards the town of Killarney on Georgian Bay. The Bell Lake access runs north off of highway 637 and is a very twisty gravel road for the 9km from the highway to the access point.



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