Last summer we did a three-night trip to Restoule Provincial Park. It was the first time that I’d ever been to Restoule and I don’t know why I didn’t camp there before. This is a great park that offers a jagged rock cliff, reminiscent of Mazinaw Rock in Bon Echo Provincial Park and a waterway network that connects Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay.
Environment: Restoule Provincial Park is located just southwest of North Bay, Ontario, near the town of Restoule and was established in 1963. This is a prime Canadian Shield setting that offers cliffs, rock outcroppings, forests, rivers and lakes. The park is sandwiched between Restoule Lake and Stormy Lake and extends along the banks of the Restoule River. The 100-metre cliff on the east end of Stormy Lake is the centrepiece that showcases the park. On top of the cliff is an old fire tower.
Beach: There are two beaches on Restoule Lake. There is also a third beach for dogs. Restoule Lake is a large lake that is shared with cottagers and there are plenty of powerboats. Stormy Lake is a picturesque, quieter lake without beaches, but well suited for canoeing and boating.
Camping: There are 278 campsites (99 with hydro) that are split among three campgrounds (Kettle Point, Putts Point and Bells Point). You will find that most of the campsites along Restoule Lake will be occupied, however there were plenty of available campsites available two to four roads back from the lake. We camped at Putts Point, campsite #268 on a July weekend last summer and found that we had few neighbours, even though we were only two roads away from the lake.
Canoeing / Boating: We rented a canoe in the town of Restoule and they dropped off the canoe for us right in the park on Stormy Lake by the boat launch. We canoed around Stormy Lake and up to Scott’s Dam on the Restoule River and back. Round trip by canoe is about four to five hours and well worth doing. There are a few nice places to stop for lunch along Stormy Lake and you will definitely want to paddle near the 100-metre cliff for a better view of it. Beyond Scott’s Dam, you can connect to the French River and loop back to Restoule Provincial Park for a five-day canoe trip. Restoule Provincial Park is well provisioned for powerboats. Boat launching facilities are available on Restoule Lake and Stormy Lake within the park.
Fishing: We saw many people fishing along the Restoule River during our canoe trip. Restoule Lake and Stormy Lake fish include: lake trout, lake whitefish, large and small mouth bass, muskie, pickerel and pike.
Hiking: There are three hiking trails that range in length from 2.5-kilometres to 8-kilometres. We hiked all of the trails and the Fire Tower Trail (8-kilometres) is the one to do. The Fire Tower Trail features an old fire tower on top of the 100-metre cliff that overlooks Stormy Lake and the Restoule River. The view is magnificent as you can see in the photo.
Shopping: The park store is located by the gatehouse and has limited supplies. The town of Restoule is about nine-kilometres south and has a general store that will sell just about everything that you will need. Consider a trip to North Bay on a rainy day, as it is only about one hour away.
The Visitor Centre: There is a small Visitor Centre that is located in the day-use area and is worth the visit.
Wildlife: This is a great park for seeing wildlife because it is in a remote area. We spotted deer on our first day at the park. Other wildlife includes coyote, wolf, bear, otter, pine martin, moose and over 90 species of birds.
In Conclusion: The July-August occupancy rate for 2009 was only 51%. This means that you can probably get a campsite in this park almost any time during the summer. This is one of my favourite parks and I’m astonished that there are so many campsites available. The park is situated in a remote area about one hour away from Highway 11 and this could be a deterrent for many campers. Plan to spend three to four nights at Restoule and longer if you are planning a canoe trip or extra days at the beach.
My Park Rating: 4.5 out of 5