Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Six Mile Lake to Killbear Prov Park

Big Chute Marine Railway

After a good sleep at our Six Mile Lake site, we decided to take a side trip on the way out to the highway. Just a few km east is the Big Chute Marina and Marine Railway. We had visited this once, years ago with my parents. 

The railway handles transporting boats, some fairly large. 

<Wiki Note link>

It works on an inclined plane to carry boats in individual cradles over a change of height of about 60 feet (18 m). It is the only marine railway (or canal inclined plane) of its kind in North America still in use, and is overseen by federally operated Parks Canada.

It moves pretty slowly, but is neat to see in operation. Here is a series of stills to give you a flavor:

It's in a beautiful setting
Boats waiting for a lift

The large carriage starts down for pickup

The carriage base goes underwater so the boats can drive right on

The trip up

Crossing the road at the top - like a RR crossing

Starting to descend at the high side

The carriage goes underwater here too, allowing the boats to drive off

The traffic goes both ways of course, much busier in the summer than it was today.

After a short stop at a Sobey's in Parry Sound we decided to head for Killbear Provincial Park for the night, another short drive today. We were a little apprehensive, as the web site says "all sites must be reserved" and we hadn't. It also said September bookings drop 50-60% from August peaks, so we figured that surely they'd have a site. As it turned out we had a large selection ($10 cheaper than Six Mile Lake per day), and no grief for not having a reservation. It would be different in the summer though.

We got a very nice site for 2 nights. We've never been to Killbear before. We used the GPS to route us to Killbear, but realized fairly quickly it was taking us off in the wrong direction, on Hwy 124 easterly towards Magnetawan. Correcting from that we headed north and west, arriving about 3pm this time. 

Killbear is a nice wooded park, quite large with several different camping areas, with hundreds of individual sites. Mostly the sites are pretty level and large, with many mature trees, including large oak trees.

Here is the site we had, #64 in the
Kilcoursie section:

That's a walking path, not the driveway :))


One of the pleasant surprises was that the smaller washroom nearest us (as opposed to the larger central "comfort stations" with showers) was complete with flush toilets and a sink with running water and soap. Much nicer than the usual vault toilets.

You remember I mentioned the large oak trees? This is a picture looking up at the washroom roof, corrugated plastic. When the wind blows just right, any number of acorns can land on that roof with a loud CRACK, a real surprise if you're not expecting it. We had heard and seen acorns landing on nearby campers though, and even on our van (only one on the van so far though):




  1. That Marine Chute Railway looks fascinating, what a beautiful time of year to travel. Donna

  2. The first time we went to Kilbear we used our GPS and got very lost! What a beautiful place it is, and it looks like you scored a lovely site. A lot to be said for off-season camping, though I imagine the swimming would be rather chilly 😁 (Heather)

  3. Perfect week to get away!!!love following you both on UR travels,,,,Great great Pics and love the map,,,!!!have fun,,,!!

  4. Looks like you are seeing some changing in colours on your adventure. Definitely nice weather for a roadtrip!
    Diane and Gary

  5. Looks like a beautiful spot to camp! Lovely view right from your site.

  6. Wow, beautiful camping spots so far! I’m enjoying the photos. Seems like you are having ideal weather for your trip.

  7. That marine railway is really something!