An anglers paradise this park
is a true gem in the region
The southernmost Provincial Park on the Bruce Peninsula, Sauble Falls Provincial Park is a tiny but popular natural preserved area that makes for a good base to visit nearby Sauble Beach or to explore further north.
Barely noticeable on the map just 5 kilometres (3 miles) north of the town of Sauble Beach the beautiful cascading falls in the small town of Sauble Falls has long played an important part in local history.
At one time an important portage site across the southern Bruce Peninsula, early settlers established a timber mill and power generation plant at the site. Eventually acquired by the Provincial government the falls and surrounding lands officially became an Ontario provincial park in 1957.
The park preserves an important ecological area as both banks of the Sauble River (Sand River in French) in certain areas contain huge yet fragile ancient sand dunes and each spring and fall the falls also becomes the centre of the Chinook salmon and rainbow trout spawn, drawing anglers and spectators from across the Province.
With the only provincial park camping facilities in the immediate area the small Sauble Falls Provincial Park has always been a popular summer destination. A natural draw for those pursuing many recreational activities the small park makes for the perfect rest stop.
Location of Sauble Falls Provincial Park
Getting to Sauble Falls Provincial Park:
Navigate to Highway# 6 (the main north south route on the Bruce Peninsula)
At the town of Hepworth, head west on Bruce County Road #8
At Sauble Beach, turn right onto Sauble Falls Parkway/Bruce County Road #13
Drive for 16 kilometres (10 miles) to park entrance
By Public Transport
Public transportation to the park is not possible.
Activities at Sauble Falls Provincial Park
Sauble Falls Provincial Park draws anglers from around the continent, as the Sauble River is a major spawning ground for both Chinook salmon and rainbow trout. Each spring and fall sees thousands of fish in the river and the fisherman soon follow.
While the area around the falls itself is permanently closed to fishing the river has an abundance of fish during the spawning season and also has a number of other game fish ready to be caught including:
Offshore fishing is just as excellent in the waters of Lake Huron in and around the mouth of the river.
Sauble Falls Provincial Park has long been known as a excellent fishing destination during the spring and fall spawn and is one of best fishing spots in the entire province.
Check out this video:
The waters around the falls do make for a nice place to hop in and cool off on a warm summer day and a highlight for many is jumping over the falls into the cold, fast running water.
Yet for most swimmers in this area nearby Sauble Beach located just minutes away is definitely THE swimming destination. One of the best beaches in the country swimmers flock here and it is one of the busiest summer destinations in Southern Ontario.
Sauble Falls Provincial Park is one of the best areas in the entire region for paddlers. Lying at the southern terminus of the Rankin River canoe route after portaging past Sauble Falls the Sauble River slowly meanders its way until emptying into Lake Huron.
The different areas available to paddlers make it ideal for novices and experts alike. Rental of canoes, kayaks and paddleboats are available. For more information visit: http://saublerivermarina.com
The two main routes are:
North of falls up the Sauble River
Rankin River route
Sauble River route
Is for the less experienced paddler as you launch your craft on the north side of the portage and travel upriver along the slow moving Sauble River.
This is a leisurely route that passes by farmland and sand dunes and makes for a nice way to spend half a day amongst nature.
Rankin River route
For more experienced paddlers the Rankin River canoe route is one of the best routes in this part of the province. Totaling 18 kilometres (11 miles) it begins at Sky Lake and passes through shallow lakes before entering into the larger Boat Lake. From here you head along the Rankin Fiver to where it meats the Sauble River just above the falls at Sauble Falls Provincial Park.
Along the way there are two portages and the total trip one way should take between 6 - 7 hours. Quite a bit longer than the Sauble route the Rankin River Canoe Route is famed amongst paddlers as one of the best novice - intermediate routes in the province.
Two small campsites set amongst a picturesque waterfall in a lightly wooded area jus minutes away from maybe the best beach in the country and an hour away from some of the most stunning scenery in the province and its easy to see why booking a campsite at this park in the bust summer months is a difficult proposition.
The park has a total of 152 campsites of which only 53 are serviced.
The "radio free" west campground has 97 sites while the east campground has 55 sites and is available for group camping. Many sites are located along the banks of the river are in a perfect spot to spend a day or two under the stars.
There are two group camping areas, one equipped to accommodate up to 20 campers while the other has a maximum capacity of 80. Comfort stations and running water is nearby.
The park also features full facilities including showers, a picnic shelter and tables, laundry and a playground for children.
As campsites book up fast and it is recommended that before you make the long journey to the area prior arrangements are made.
Open from the end of April until the end of October the park can be contacted for information and reservations at: (519) 422-1952.
The 2.5 kilometre (1.7 mile) Sauble Trail follows the course of the Sable River and provides some beautiful views from high above its banks. Along the way you will pass by ancient sand dunes and the scenic little waterfalls for which the park is named. In some areas small boardwalks have been erected over the river allowing visitors incredible views, especially during the spawning season when you can quite easily see hundreds of fish struggling to make it upriver.
A very easy trail to walk a return journey should take no longer than 60 - 90 minutes.
The highlight at the park is definitely watching the Chinook salmon and rainbow trout spawn in the spring and fall. Specially built boardwalks at key locations allow visitors to view first hand how the fish struggle against the strong current to advance ledge by ledge past the falls.
Follow an individual fish in what seems an insurmountable task as it gathers strength in small pools of still water to make slow advances upstream. This is simply one of the best places in Ontario to see this natural phenomenon,
The mouth of the Sauble River is also a birding hotspot and many species can be found including Osprey.
Other animals that could be encountered include:
Just north of the park about 15 minutes away lies the small hamlet of Oliphant. There is a small beach here that sits at the end of a warm sheltered bay that has become somewhat of a kiteboarding destination.
Free of swimmers that flock to the more popular Sauble Beach further south the winds off Lake Huron allow boarders open water to zip across the surface.
Quickly becoming one of southwestern Ontario's premier boarding destinations it should be noted that there are no facilities at all at Oliphant Beach.
The park falls along one of the Bruce Peninsula's main cycling routes, the "Coast to Coast" route. This route has cyclists completing a 65 kilometre (33 mile) circuit that passes through the towns of Wiarton and Sauble Beach and also includes a long stretch along the shores of Lake Huron though the park and Oliphant Beach.
A very nice route to complete cyclists will have beautiful view of the Lake Huron shoreline while also visiting some other beautiful sights along the way. For more information visit: www.explorethebruce.ca
One of the highlights of the tour Sauble Falls Provincial Park is located quite further west than the rest yet is the only waterfalls on the tour that allows visitors the opportunity to see fish spawning in season.
Even out of season the falls are quite beautiful and are well worth spending a short time visiting, even if only to have a quick lunch beside.
The parks roads and trails are open for cross-country skiers and snowshoer's during the winter months. The falls themselves are also quite beautiful in the winder with portions from over to reveal long strands of icicles
Little known to those outside the province except maybe a few avid anglers the small park is found in an exceptional location and makes for a great base to further explore the surrounding region.
Whether heading to the southern beaches or the national parks further north Sauble Falls Provincial Park makes for the perfect stopping point for southerners that have made the long drive north from places such as Toronto or the Niagara region.
A real jewel in the provincial park system Sauble Falls has it all:
An Ontario fishing hotspot
Best beach in Ontario nearby?
Phenomena of nature
A great place to visit all year round for more information visit: Ontario Parks
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