If you enjoy camping at parks like Algonquin, Arrowhead or Grundy Lake, but are looking for a park that is less crowded, quieter, closer to home and still offers plenty to do, then why not try Silent Lake Provincial Park?
Environment: Silent Lake Provincial Park is located in Central Ontario, south of Bancroft, along Highway 28. The park was established in 1975. Prior to this, the land was used for fishing and hunting for at least 40 years and the old lodge was situated where the day-use beach is now. The area was used for logging in the 1800s and early 1900s. The park contains rocky shorelines, coniferous and deciduous forests, marshes and features the picturesque Silent Lake.
Beach: There are two nice beaches in the park. The “Camper’s Beach” is located near the campgrounds and offers two floating platforms to jump into the water from. The other beach is in the day-use area.
Biking: There are three mountain biking trails (7 km, 12 km and 19 km) that are quite challenging and too difficult for small children. We found that the trails were muddy, even in late July; however, it was a wet summer when we camped there in 2007. The campground roads are also quite hilly and probably too difficult for small children to ride on. In fact these are the hilliest campground roads that I remember seeing in any Ontario Provincial Park.
Camping: There are 167 campsites (10 with hydro) that are split among three campgrounds (Granite Ridge, Pincer Bay and Pincer Bay Walk-In). We camped at Granite Ridge, site #121. It is about a five to ten minute hike to the Camper’s Beach from the Granite Ridge Campground. The Pincer Bay campground would have been a better choice because it is much closer to the Camper’s Beach. The best campsites are in the Pincer Bay Walk-In area, which is right by the beach and canoe rental area. Silent Lake also has yurts for rent and all yurts are in the Pincer Bay campground.
Canoeing: Canoe and kayak rentals are available in the park. If you only have one day at the park, make sure you spend it canoeing. Silent Lake is very picturesque and there are some beautiful spots to stop at for a picnic lunch and swim. In my opinion, this is the best activity that you can do at Silent Lake Provincial Park.
Fishing: Small and Large Mouth Bass as well as Lake Trout.
Hiking: There are three hiking trails in the park that range from 1.5-15 kilometres. The Lakehead Loop is the shortest one and best choice if you only do one trail. The Lakeshore Hiking Trail (15 kilometre loop) was a little disappointing because it offered some beautiful views of Silent Lake early in the hike. After this, most of the trail went through forests and there wasn’t a lot to see except for a marsh at the opposite end of Silent Lake, approximately halfway through the hike.
Shopping: Supplies are available just outside of the park on Highway 28 and Bancroft is a short drive north.
Wildlife: We spotted deer and beaver in the park.
In Conclusion: The July-August occupancy rate for 2009 was 71%, meaning it doesn’t get that busy. You will find that most campgrounds are full on weekends and there are more campsites available on weekdays. Plan three to five nights at Silent Lake if you want to explore the lake by canoe and do some of the hiking and biking trails.
My Park Rating: 4 out of 5