MacGregor Point Provincial Park

Great Lake Huron camping amidst
beaches it is a Provincial nature hotspot



macregor point provincial park


MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located just south of Port Elgin in an area of rich natural diversity and occupies 7 kilometres (4.2 miles) of pristine Lake Huron coastline.

After nearby Inverhuron Provincial Park was closed in the 1970's, the provincial government created the 1360-hectare (3360 acre) MacGregor Point Provincial Park in 1975.

Long known as a birding hotspot it is comprised of a unique ecosystem containing various wetlands, marshes, bogs, dunes and forests.

This habitat draws a variety of migrating bird species each spring and fall and this is celebrated with one of the highlights of MacGregor Point Provincial Park, the annual Huron Fringe Bird Festival.


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Location of MacGregor Point Provincial Park




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Getting to MacGregor Point Provincial Park:


MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located just 5 kilometres (3 miles) south of Port Elgin so visit my page for instructions on how to get there by various means.


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MacGregor Point Provincial Park Attractions and Activities


Camping

MacGregor Point Provincial Park offers year round camping for both tents and trailers and also has yurts available for rent. In all, the park has 3 campgrounds containing:
  • 360 campsites
  • 174 with electrical service
  • 16 yurts (each can sleep up to 6 people)
  • 2 Group campsites (can hold up to 36 people)
Full facilities are available including:
  • Comfort Stations
  • Laundry
  • Showers
  • Store
  • Visitor Centre

MacGregor Point Provincial Park campsites

macgregor point provincial park campsites


  • Algonquin Campground

    The main campground in the park with 136 serviced sites. The park store, the park office and Visitor Centre is located here and it is at the Birch Boulevard section of the campground where the year round yurts and camping sites are available.

  • Nipissing Campground

    104 non-serviced sites although comfort stations and running water is available at various locations.

    The Old Shore Road Trail runs through this campground.

  • Huron Campground

    118 sites of which only 38 are fully serviced (located in the Iris Grove section). This campground is also the furthest from the Visitor Centre.

  • Juniper Wood Group Campground

    Two areas with each being able to accommodate up to 36 people. No electrical service but running water and limited toilet facilities are available.

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is one of the most popular camping destinations on the entire west coast of Ontario so it is highly recommended that you reserve your campsite early if planning a trip into the area.

The park can be contacted directly at:
  • 519-389-9056
  • 1-888-ONT-PARK

Note that animals are not permitted at all campsites so enquiries should be made if you are planning to bring your pet with you.

It is also recommended that your bring an outdoor extension cord (minimum 12 feet) with you as some electrical service outlets are located quite far from the campsite for which it is assigned.

Winter camping

A very popular activity in the park there are 10 - 16 yurts available for rent year round. Yurts are lit, heated and can sleep up to 6 people. Each site also features:
  • 4 chairs
  • table
  • Kitchen Shelter
  • Picnic Table
  • Propane BBQ
  • Fire pit

These accommodations due tend to fill up early so do book in advance if interested.

You can also bring your own tent or trailer if desired and the fully heated comfort stations are also available and open year round.


Hiking

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the park and there are 5 separate trails containing over 15 kilometres (9 miles) of paths of varying degree of difficulty winding through its various habitats.
  • Huron Fringe Trail

    A 1.2 km (.7 mile) boardwalk trail that radiates from the Visitor Centre it is very easy to traverse and has been designed to accommodate all visitors, mo matter what their physical handicap.

    Along its length there are interpretive signs posted explaining the area's unique flora and fauna. This is a hiking trail only and hikers should expect to encounter some wildlife along its length including turtles sunning themselves on logs within the various wetlands. Very easy to navigate expect to spend no more than 30 minutes completing this trail.

  • Kempfs Trail

    The shortest trail in the park at 0.8 kilometres (.5 mile) it is named for one of the parks former landowners. Not really much to see it is mainly utilized as a connection between the park's main road and the Old Shore Road Trail.

    Very easy to navigate expect to spend no more than 15 minutes to complete.

  • Old Shore Road Trail

    The longest trail in the park at 6 kilometres (4.2 miles) long it follows the old road along the shoreline that connected the various west coast of Ontario towns.

    Utilized all year round by hikers, cyclists and skiers there are viewing platforms at various locations providing beautiful views of the Lake Huron coastline. The trail also passes by a number of small beaches excellent for sunbathing and swimming.

    Very easy to navigate expect to spend no more than 2 - 3 hours to complete.

  • Lake Ridge Trail

    This is the most difficult trail in the park as it passes over some rugged terrain but even this is only of moderate difficulty to complete and should take no more than 2 hours to complete.

    Passing through the park's interior a quick side trail leads visitors past a beaver pond. There are also interpretive signs along the path displaying the regions history.

  • Tower Trail

    A relatively short 1.8 kilometre (1 mile) trail that leads to a lookout tower that provides a good view over a large wetland area that is a favourite amongst birds.

    The trail is easy to complete but hikers must return the way they came thus then whole round trip journey should take about an hour to complete.

    Interpretive plaques are located along the route that explains the importance and significance of the various landscapes on display.

  • Rotary Way Trail

    A short 1.2 kilometer (.6 mile) trail that connects the park to the Saugeen Rail trail leading to Port Elgin and Southampton.

    Note: that poison ivy is found in random areas all throughout the park so it is highly recommended that hikers stay on the graded paths to avoid contact.

Cycling

  • Old Shore Road Trail

    What many consider the nicest cycling route in MacGregor Point Provincial Park it follows the path of the old main coastal road along the shores of Lake Huron for approximately 6 kilometres (4.2 miles).

    Very easy to traverse it is very scenic and you will let some wonderful views of the lake.

  • Tower Trail

    Heading directly to the lookout tower for which this trail is named cyclists will have to walk their bikes on the boardwalk section of the path.

    The destination is the park's observation tower overlooking a wetland that at times can be teaming with wildlife, particularly waterfowl. At only 1.7 kilomteres (1 mile) one-way the trail is very easy to complete.

    A highlight for any visitor to the park a trip to the tower (especially in migration season) is a definite must.

  • Kempfs Trail

    A very short 0.8 kilometres (0.5 miles) this path is utilized mainly as a connecting route as it joins the park's main road to the Old Shore Road trail route.

  • Deer Run Bike Trail

    The main artery for cyclists traveling through the park as it is safer the pedaling down the park's roads, especially during the busy summer season.

    At only 3.7 kilometres (2.4 miles) it is very easy to complete in its entirety and any cyclists to the park will quickly become acquainted to it well worn path.

    Note: Bike rentals are available at the park.

  • The Beaches South

    This Bruce County cycling route also runs right by the park and from here you can head north to Port Elgin and further beyond or head south past:

    • Brucedale Conservation Area
    • Inverhuron Provincial Park
    • Stoney Island Conservation Area
    • Kincardine and further beyond
Fishing

While MacGreogor Point Provincial Park does have some Lake Huron shoreline where it is possible to toss in a line and catch a fish it really is utilized as more of a home base by avid fisherman as it is located close to some of Southern Ontario's best fishing spots including:
  • Saugeen River
  • Sauble River
  • Southampton Pier
  • Kincardine
  • Lake Huron

Check out some of my pages on these destinations to explore the wonderful world-class fishing opportunities they present.

Species that can expect to be caught in the various waters include:
  • Salmon
  • Pike
  • Pickerel
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Bass

Canoeing

Many paddlers of all types of craft find their way to MacGregor Point Provincial Park as it makes for a great home base to explore some of the best canoe routes this part of the province has to offer.

While some will undoubtedly head into the choppy waters of Lake Huron directly from the parks shoreline most will head to the nearby Saugeen River Canoe Route where the most popular access point located at the Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area is just 20 minutes away.

Visit my Saugeen Canoe Route page for details information on this route that is great for paddlers of all experience.


Swimming

The park does enjoy a few small beaches on Lake Huron but generally people do not visit the park for its swimming as there are much better swimming conditions in nearby Port Elgin or Southampton, and even the most popular spot on the entire coast: Sauble Beach, is only 30 minutes away.

For this that do swim in the park the main "beach" is small but sandy and does have a gentle slope into the waters of Lake Huron. Limited facilities are available in the immediate beach area.


Winter Activities

The park is open year round and is well utilized for a number of activities:

Skating

A nice unique feature at MacGregor Point Provincial Park is the 400 metre (1300 feet) long skating loop that is lit up each winter.

Meandering through the campground near the Visitor's Center it makes for a great way to spend a family evening and is one of the most popular nighttime activities for locals.

Cross-country Skiing

During the long winter MacGregor Point Provincial becomes a hub for participants of this sport as there are over 11 kilometres (6.6 miles) of groomed trails and countless kilometres of other trails suitable for skiers including the unplowed park roads.

Note that these trails are also very suitable for snowshoe participants.
  • Deer Run Trail

    11 kilometres (6.6 miles) of groomed trail though wetlands and forests it is of moderate difficulty to complete.

  • Old Shore Road Trail

    Following the old coastal route this all season trail although not groomed is well used and offers beautiful views over Lake Huron. At 6 kilometres (3.6 miles) in length it is easy to traverse but visitors should be warned that if the wind is blowing off the lake it can get extremely cold and it becomes a much harder route to complete.

  • Nipissing Bluff Trails

    This trail can be extended for those that wish a longer experience. The shorter loop is relatively flat and only 1.6 kilomteres (1 mile) in length. The longer route is another 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) in length and passes through some various wetlands and forest and provides some changes in elevation.
Snowmobiling is also a popular activity along the parks unplowed roads.


Wildlife Viewing

With a variety of habitats and some of the best remaining wetlands on the Lake Huron coast this relatively small preserved natural area plays such a vital part in the local ecosystem.

Its collection of bogs, fens, marshes, woodland and ridges preserves some unique flora and fauna and is one of Southern Ontario's most well known birding hotspots.

Birding

A heavily visited stopover and nesting area by many migratory birds over 200 species have been spotted at the park including:
  • Great Blue Heron
  • American Egret
  • Black crowned Night Heron
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Carolina Wren
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Common Loon
  • Double crested Cormorant
  • Green Huron
  • Bald Eagle
  • Osprey
  • Killdeer
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Black-billed Cuckoo
  • Eastern Screech Owl
  • Various warblers
  • Various cardinals
  • Various sparrows
  • Various finches
  • Various woodpeckers

Huron Fringe Birding Festival

The huge importance the park plays in the local ecosystem is honoured each spring by this festival celebrating the return of the songbirds.

Spanning 10 days starting the weekend after Victoria Day the festival while dedicated to the songbirds setting up their territories but also features:
  • wildflowers
  • astronomy
  • butterflies
  • nature art
  • photography

During the festival guided tours are available to ll the known bird watching locations and the festival is definitely the highlight annually for MacGregor Point Provincial Park. For more information visit: Friends of MacGregor.

The wetlands also provide a home to a large collection of the province's carnivorous plants (meat eating). Including:
  • Purple Pitcher Plant
  • Bladderwort
  • Butterwort
  • Sundews

Visitors should not be alarmed however as these plants are no threat to humans and live mainly by easting insects. These plants are small and barely noticeable but they are quite rare and interesting.

Other rare plants found include:
  • Dwarf Lake Iris
  • Various Orchids
  • Various wild roses
  • Various daisies

Other animals that can be regularly seen include:
  • White tailed deer
  • Raccoon
  • Porcupine
  • Fox
  • Beaver
  • Rabbit
  • Squirrel
  • Spotted turtles
  • Painted turtles
  • Various Snakes (harmless)

Check out this MacGregor Point Provincial Park video below:




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