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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Day 1

Bell Lake, Silver Peak & Three Mile Lake

Bagpipe Practice at Grundy Lake Provincial ParkWe were up with the alarm at 6am. Scott and I were sure that we had agreed on 7am. Oh well. By the time we had breakfast, packed up and Scott had his gear sorted out it was 8:15am by the time we hit the road. Good thing we had driven up to Grundy Lake Provincial Park last night to get a headstart on the travel. Add in the pit stop, some pictures, a bit of bagpipe practice and stopping at the office to pay for the camping and it was quarter to 9am by the time we actually left Grundy.

 

From Grundy Lake Provincial Park it is only about a 20 minute drive up highway 69 until you turn west onto highway 637 towards Killarney Provincial Park. Highway 637 is in decent condition and Killarney Provincial Park Signgenerally good for the posted speed limit. Once you turn off 637 onto the Bell Lake road then it's time to slow down. The Bell Lake road is gravel, fairly narrow and very twisty. It's only 9km in from the highway to the lake, so you don't really need to hurry and this is a good time to start relaxing and getting into canoe trip mode.

 

Since we're off the peak season and into the shoulder season, Bell Lake Access Point, Killarney Provincial Parkthe permit office at Bell Lake isn't staffed full time but is covered by the staff from Blue Mountain Lodge which is located right across Bell Lake from the access point. In order to get your permit you'll need to drive down to the dock at Killarney Kanoes and honk your horn to let the folks at the lodge know you are there. After you have your permit, you need to go back around the corner to the parking lot and load up from there. We had our permit and the canoe was loaded up by about 10:50am.

 

Site 83, Bell Lake - from the waterHeading out onto Bell Lake we took a slight detour to check out site 83 before paddling around the point and down the west arm of Bell Lake to start our hike up to Silver Peak. From the water, site 83 looked to be decent and given how close it is to the access point, it could be worth stopping at if you are running late the day you get to the park.

After paddling west down Bell Lake, we got to the start of the Silver Peak hike right around noon which means it took us about an hour to paddle there from put in. The hike was advertised as taking 4 to 6 hours so with sunset coming about quarter to 8pm we had lots of time to complete the Start of the Silver Peak Hike from Bell Lakehike. The less certain question was how far we would make it back up Bell Lake before dark.

 

The first half of the hike is fairly flat. There is a big warning sign a short way from Bell Lake telling you to make sure you come back on the same trail and don't just follow the La Cloche Silhouette Trail. Paying attention to a sign for once, we set a waypoint on the GPS 'just in case'. After leaving Bell Lake, the first landmark is Clearsilver Lake. If you are heading to Clearsilver, then the portage cuts off to the left for maybe 80m to take you down to the lake. If you stay to the right or really Abandon hope all ye who enter herestraight then the trail continues toward David Lake and Silver Peak.

 

The next turn is to the left for Silver Peak with the portage to David continuing straight ahead. After that the trail coming from Bell Lake joins up with a true portion of the La Cloche Silhouette trail which comes in from the left after passing an unnamed pond. At this intersection you continue straight/right towards Silver Peak. Clearsilver Lake, Killarney Provincial ParkI should mention that despite the "Abandon hope all ye who enter here sign" back at the start of the trail by Bell Lake, that there were signs at each of the intersections along the way to help keep you on track.

 

The next turn is the last intersection on the way up to the peak. Turning to the left or south and cutting back a bit starts you on the real climb up Silver Peak. If you turned to the right or north you would be continuing on the La Cloche Silhouette trail towards Boundary Lake (and that 7 - 10 day loop they warned Silver Peak Trail Signyou about at the start). Our hike so far had taken us about an hour and looking at the map it was roughly 3/4 of the total distance ( I didn't track it on the GPS).

 

The climb from here up to the peak took another hour. It really is a climb and there are some spots where you actually do need to The climb up to Silver Peak, Killarney Provincial Parkuse hands as well as feet. There is a beautiful stream that follows the trail at least a third of the way up the climb. As you approach the top, you first come out to a 'false' peak that I'd estimate is about 40 vertical feet belwow the real peak. This rocky clearing gives you the best view north over David Lake and as far as the smokestacks in Sudbury. We all took a breather and then Scott stopped here to enjoy the scenery while Gerald and I went on up the rest of the way.

 

From the top of Silver Peak you can see south towards Georgian Bay which is visible in the distance, but you don't have as good a view to the north. We had made it up to the peak by about 2:30pm, including our snack break. Needless to say I took a Looking out towards Georgian Bay from the top of Silver Peakbunch of pictures to prove I had made it this far. It was also pretty windy at the peak, which finally cooled us off after the climb.

 

After the required pictures, we headed back down to Scott and then worked our way out to a better look out where you could see Boundary Lake which sits between Silver Peak and David Lake. Looking to the east we could also see Clear Silver Lake and back to Bell Lake where we started the hike from.

The View From Silver Peak, Killarney Provincial Park

The hike back down was a bit faster and at least it used some different muscles. I stopped for some more waterfall pictures on the way and let Scott and Gerald go ahead. I almost missed the turn to head back to Bell Lake, and probably would have if I hadn't Waterfall along the trail up to the Silver Peakbeen taking so many pictures along the way. As it was, I never did catch up to Scott and Gerald until I got back to the boats at 4:30pm.

 

It turned out that the guys weren't there yet. (The boats were still there or I might have been worried.) I took a break to snack and rest a bit and the guys caught up within about 15 minutes. They had missed the first branch in the trail to head back to Bell Lake and it had taken them a few minutes to notice that they were on a new piece of trail, which had let me get ahead of them. It wasn't a big deal for us, but a good Chipmunkindication that the warning sign by Bell Lake was probably the result of some previous more serious incidents of missing a turn.

 

We were back on the water around 5pm and finally started fishing. I hadn't bothered in the morning since our priority was to get the hike in. I caugh 1 smallmouth bass on an X-Rap Rapala but that was it for today. Even that was counted a success as Three Mile Lake, Killarney Provincial ParkGerald insisted he had cursed everyone else who had shared a canoe with him all summer and this was the first fish he seen all year.

 

We made it up to site 75 at the north end of Three Mile Lake shortly before 7pm. That gave us enough time to get supper started and the tent set up before it got dark out. We even mostly got to eat without completely relying on head lamps, although the dishes were done in the dark.

A Killarney Campfire

Tonight I tried out a couple of pieces of rebar as 'fire irons' and they seemed to work well. Definitely sturdier than my regular grill. It wouldn't hurt if they were a couple of inches shorter to fit in the food barrel better, but I can fix that when I get home. I'll admit though that I still don't totally trust the gap between them.

 

Well it's 10:30pm now and I'm just finishing up my notes before heading to bed. It's been a good, but long, day.

 

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