Craigleith Provincial Park

Great camping alongside 450 million
year old fossils on the shale beach



craigleith provincial park beach Established in 1967 to protect some significant 450 million year old fossils Craigleith Provincial Park also offers the only public camping on the southern shore of Nottawasaga Bay.

Nearby Blue Mountain and the Niagara Escarpment dominate the landscape and the parks exposed Blue Mountain shale is unique and creates a layered beach that is perfect for wading, watching some impressive sunsets or capturing some beautiful photos.

Easy to reach being situated on Highway #26 this small 65-hectare (160 acre) waterfront park at the foot of the Blue Mountain is also located only minutes away from some of the Province's best recreational opportunities including:
  • Wasaga Beach
  • Blue Mountain
  • Bruce Trail
  • Georgian Bay
  • Nottawasaga River
  • Beaver River
While maybe not a destination in its own right the parks strategic location makes it a perfect home base and during the busy summer months the campsites are highly coveted.


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Location of Craigleith Provincial Park




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Getting to Craigleith Provincial Park:


As Craigleith Provincial Park is located only minutes outside Collingwood westwards along Highway #26 visit my Collingwood page for directions there then just continue on Highway #26.


Check out this Craigleith Provincial Park video below:




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Craigleith Provincial Park Attractions and Activities



Fossils

fossils in craigleith provincial park The exposed shale formations and beach at the park contain countless fossils of trilobites, ancient invertebrates up to 450 million years old.

If you walk along the shoreline they will eventually be uncovered.

The fossils are the prime reason for the parks existence and one of the main attractions along the south Georgian Bay coastline.

The park is open for day use visitors only and visiting the fossils is the primary reason for their visit.


Camping

This is one of the other main reasons people visit the park as there are 4 different campgrounds with 157 campsites in total, 66 being serviced.
  • Area A

    With 46 non-serviced sites this campground is suitable for tents only. The furthest west of all campgrounds it is closest to the dog beach.

    A comfort Station with full facilities is available including:
    • Potable Water
    • Toilets
    • Showers
    • Laundry

  • Area B

    With 82 sites this is by the largest campground in the park. Not all sites are serviced however but the campground is suitable for tents, trailers and large RV's.

    Many of the sites in the campground are also located close to camping Area A so their Comfort Station is shared. There is also a mini comfort station located at the southeastern part of the campground that offers:
    • Toilets
    • Shower

  • Area C

    A small radio-free campground with only 18 sites of which only some are serviced the campground does have sites available for campers of all vehicle sizes.

    The campground also features:
    • Comfort Station
    • Children's Playground
    • Playing fields
    • Volleyball court
    • Park dumping station

  • Area D

    The campground located closest to the parks shale beach it is also radio-free and contains 26 campsites of which only 2 are non-serviced. Most of the sites also have water hook-ups making them ideal for RV's and trailer campers.

    A comfort Station is located in the campground near the beach but it is also utilized by the parks day-use visitors.
The park has some really nice sites overlooking Georgian Bay in each of its campgrounds but it should be noted that it is also located right astride of Highway #26, the main east-west thoroughfare along the coast. This road has lots of traffic and many campers have complained about the noise factor it creates.

Irrespective of the noise being the only public campground on this part of Nottawasaga Bay and being only 25 minutes from Wasaga Beach the campsites are usually booked in summer and reservations are recommended. For more information visit: Ontario Parks

Note that visitors to Craigleith Provincial Park upon paying admission are granted free access to Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.


Swimming

Swimming is available on the small shale beach in the east end of the park and while it is perfectly suitable to take a quick dip it is not really a swimmers beach.

It is however a good place to use as a home base when heading to Wasaga Beach to the east only 34 kilometres (22.3 miles) away. For that matter Sauble Beach to the west is only 80 kilometres (48 miles) away.


Fishing

As with most spots on Georgia Bay the fishing is excellent especially is spring and fall when the area is abundant with Salmon and Rainbow Trout.

Throwing in a line from onshore is OK but other hot spots nearby include:

  • The mouth of the Beaver River at Thornbury (a part of the Town of Blue Mountain) only 9 kilometres (4.8 miles) to the west
  • The mouth of the Nottawasaga River 34 kilometres (20 miles) to the east
  • Peasemarsh Nature Reserve
  • Clendenan Conservation Area south of Clarksburg

Hiking

The 34 kilometre (22.2 mile) long Georgian Trail connecting Meaford to Collingwood passes parallel to the park on the other side of Highway #26.

This all season trail connects to the Bruce Trail and the various network of trails in Collingwood, Pretty River Valley Provincial Park, Wasaga Beach and beyond.

Being at the base of Blue Mountain means that some of the best hiking trails in the Province are located but minutes away and Craigleith makes for a great place to set up camp and explore the area.


Cycling

As mentioned above the Georgian trail sits across Highway #26. Once on this trail you can connect to a multitude to cycling routes.

As well, the Blue Mountain Resort has been developed into the Province's premiere mountain biking destination and sitting a mere 5 kilometres (3 miles) away it's easy to see why so many people have bike with them at their campsites.

Visit my Collingwood page for more information on local cycling routes.


Canoeing

The park is a perfect launching point for your kayak or canoe as the flat rocks of the beach and shallow water make it easy to hop in and out of your vessel.

This is open water and the Nottawasaga Bay is a large body of water and can get choppy at times so for those that prefer a more sheltered paddling experience the park is located only minutes away from two of the best canoe routes in southern Ontario:

Windsurfing

The sports of windsurfing and Stand Up Paddleboarding have become extremely popular in recent years and the small park makes for one of the best spots on the Bay for practitioners to launch their craft.

On any given summer day expect to see numerous boarders on the waters offshore.


Craigleith Heritage Depot

Just 2.6 kilometres (2 miles) from the park entrance is this little historic gem in the towns former train station. Now converted to a miniature museum housing local artifacts it makes for a nice diversion for a half hour or so.


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sunset at craigleith Ideally situated amongst some of the province's premier tourist attractions if you are planning to be in the Blue Mountain, Collingwood or Wasaga Beach area than Craigleith Provincial Park may definitely be a stop along your journey.

One of the only public camping locations in the South Georgian Bay area the park is not open all year and operates from mid April until late October. As you can imagine it campsites can book up quickly especially on a long weekend so it is recommended that if you are planning to stay overnight then book in advance. For more information visit: Ontario Parks


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