Review Date: Aug 2014
General Information / Location / Address
Sauble Falls Provincial Park is located near Lake Huron, just south of the Bruce Peninsula. The area is known for it’s summer beach destination, which can get really busy in the summer months. Anywhere near the Bruce is a favorite of mine!
Address: R.R. 3,Wiarton, ON, N0H 2T0
Entry / Layout
As I said above.., this park is km’s north of Sauble Beach. It’s located on the Sauble River which dumps into Lake Huron. The park is divided into 2 areas, which is separated by highway 13. West Campground, and East Campground. The main entrance, and front office is located at the West Campground. The West Campground seems to be the MAIN campground, which contains 2 large bathrooms, and all the play equipment, basketball courts, volleyball courts, etc, etc. I believe there is a main bathroom in the East Campground as well, but none of the other nice amenities.
One quick thing to note about the front gates. When you pull up to the below gate, they ask you to pull through, and park in the parking lot, then come to register. After you’ve registered, you need to pull a u-turn in the parking lot to get to your camping site. This parking lot is not very wide, so people with bigger trucks and trailers might have a difficult time. See the parking lot below. I would suggest parking BEFORE the front gate.
One very important thing before I get into the review. The park is split up into 2 campgrounds, WEST and EAST. There is a fairly busy road going between them, highway 13. The only way to get from one campground to the other, or from EAST to the falls is to cross this busy road. What concerns me, is there is no CROSSWALK, or no signage to vehicles warning them to slow down, or watch for children. Vehicles fly through here at 80 km/h. Be careful crossing here!
Another thing before my review, I want to point you to this tripadvisor.ca link. The majority of the reviews aren’t so good. In fact, some of them are pretty negative, talking about the noise, dirty bathrooms, disrespectful people. On the way up, I actually said to my wife “I’m kinda excited to go here, just so I can confirm those reviews, and write a bad review myself”. I didn’t have very high expectations of this place, and was expecting a lot of partiers, dirty bathrooms, etc. I was quite surprised after staying here for 3 days. For the most part, I liked this park, and didn’t experience any of the negatives in the above reviews. I’m not saying this park is perfect, and am not saying this park is amazing, but it surpassed my expectations for sure.
The terrain at this park is a mix of cut grass, and forest floor. I was expecting more of a sand dune type park, but it wasn’t. The main play areas, and fields are all cut grass, and the campsites are in a nice forest, which a natural forest floor, and some sites with gravel.
The West Campground is the place to be IMO. It has all the amenities, and the sites are a lot better. (specially the trailer sites). The sites at this campground are NOT private. In fact, after walking around, I didn’t find one site that had privacy cover completely around it. Some of the sites, on the outsides, have a private back to them, but are almost completely open to the sites beside them. However, if you have a trailer, the sites are designed to provide the side to side privacy using the trailers. Most of the sites here are flat, and have a forest type floor. Avoid the sites on the outside near the road, and the ones on the inside ring which have a site behind them.
The sites in WEST that are lining the river are probably the nicest in the park. They aren’t private at all side to side, but you have nobody behind you. The sites here are all long, and skinny. Behind the site is a steel wire fence, which a large, deep drop-off to the river. I was thinking that since we are on the river, we could walk down to it, and swim. This isn’t possible. The drop-off is fairly large, and even if you get to the river, the vegetation is fairly thick, and wading into the river is tough.
There are 2 main, full bathrooms in West, along with a laundry facility. There are also vault toilets spread throughout the park. The full bathrooms weren’t spotlessly clean, but they weren’t disgusting. They were just like any other park I’ve been to. Adequate.
I did go for a walk in the EAST CAMPGROUND area. If you’re in a trailer, forget camping here. The trailer sites are horrid. Most of them are in the open, in between 2 roads (pull thru). They offer less then zero privacy. If you’re in a tent, the sites along the back loop are OK. There is also a washroom here with running water.
Another nice thing about this park is the play equipment they have. There is a jungle gym, basketball court, tetherball court, volleyball court, and pavillion. Nice amenities for family’s, and kids. These are all located in WEST campground.
The reviews on trip central say a lot of partiers come here to camp, instead of getting a motel in Sauble. This could be true, but when we were there, I didn’t witness this. I didn’t see, or hear any parties at the campsites. So, don’t think that happens here all the time.
I did also see officers drive by about 3-4 times a day, including twice at night. I don’t know if they are lenient, or harsh, but they at least show their presence.
We camped here in August, and didn’t have any bugs other then the rare mosquito. This included daytime, and night time. Maybe it was out of season for bugs?
I also noticed that the park was fairly quiet, and empty during the day, which was a nice surprise. A lot of the campers are ither at the falls, or at Sauble Beach. Once 5-6pm comes around, it starts picking up a bit.
There is no park store here, but right outside of the campground is a “variety” store. They sell campfire here for $10 a bag, and the bags don’t look all that large. One other thing about this store, ice cream is good, but there isn’t much variety when it comes to candy and snacks. A couple bags of chips, chocolate bars, and no candy. There are some groceries, but it’s fairly limited. Also, they accept cash only, and there’s an ATM in the store that charges $2.
We camped along the river, and did have a family of racoon’s come onto the site, so they are around. We also had a skunk come onto the site, so be careful of that. We clapped our hands, and it slowly walked away.
There is no beach at the campground, but Sauble Beach is only a short drive away. There are other beaches in the area, see below for an example. I guess that brings me to the FALLS. I think the falls is the attraction point of this park. Kids seem to LOVE it. It’s also very pretty. To me.., I wasn’t very excited about the falls, but I admit it was nice to walk there, and see it, or even walk through it for a few minutes. There is a section where the kids jump off the falls, which is about 7-8 feet high. Some people on trip advisor say there are rocks beneath, which is probably true, but the kids seem to jump shallow enough to avoid the rocks. I don’t think it’s an issue. The falls are nice, and is worth seeing. There is a nice board walk that goes along the falls, which makes it easy to get up nice and close. The falls are really busy during the day. I think a lot of people come here for day visits, just to play on the falls. There is a day parking lot directly beside the falls with about 50-60 parking spots. Just above the falls, is also a rental area for water craft. Not sure pricing here.
There is 1 hiking trail at the park, which is over in EAST campground. My wife went for a walk during the day on this trail, and said she was eaten alive by bugs. I don’t know the quality of the trail, or how good it is. There are no bike trails here.
I can’t think of much else to report here. This park is fairly touristy, because of the falls, which does attract newer campers. Trip Advisor says there are a lot of disrespectful people at this park, but I didn’t witness that at all.
I didn’t go around and collect good sites….., because there aren’t any. I don’t think people come here for a good, private site. However, I believe the best sites are in WEST, along the river. If you’re a tent camper, then the sites on the back row in EAST are decent.
– Water Fall is neat to see… but I wouldn’t spend all day here.
– Close to great beaches, which is the winner IMO
– Lots of play equipment.
– I like the area. Near the bruce, which has A LOT of places to visit.
– Privacy. There is none.
– Lack of Park Store, and lack of variety in the nearest variety store
Surround Area Activities
- Since Sauble Falls Provincial Park doesn’t have a beach inside the park, you’ll need to drive elsewhere to get one. Most people would just drive to Sauble Falls beach, which is really great. You can even drive on the beach. The problem is.., it’s really busy. Instead, check out the beach at Oliphant, which is just north of Sauble Falls Provincial Park. You can drive right on the beach, and I think it’s A LOT less busy then Sauble beach.
Should you camp here?
I vote for a yes. Not a big YES!, but just a yes. I can’t say I’m in LOVE with this park, but can’t say I hate it. I liked the park because it’s close to really nice beaches, and near a neat waterfall. It’s also close to Sauble, which is a nice town to visit. I think the park is great for Families with kids, as there is lots of equipment for them to play on. The park is also close to the Bruce, which is always a great area to explore.