I’ve finally got over 1,000 kms in my 2013 F150, and want to write a short report / review of it so far.
I Love it… STILL! Every time I get in it, is like the first day I drove it. It’s just so quiet, comfortable and smooth.
Since I’m still “breaking in” this engine, I haven’t gotten to deep in the throttle. However, I’ve been gradually going deeper, 50%, 60%, 75% ect, ect. I’m enjoying the power this 5.0L makes, and still enjoy the sound. One thing that stands out, is how easy this F150 is to accelerate slowly. Let me explain. It seems that with very light throttle, I can effortlessly accelerate at a pace that’s acceptable, but fuel conservative. I enjoy driving this truck slowly. I couldn’t say the same with another truck I used to own. However, when you need to get on it, it will shift down quickly, to a proper gear for the current throttle application, and haul pretty quickly. I’ve had other trucks where you would press down on the accelerator, and it would try and get to the desired speed by maintaining that gear, and not shifting down. This is annoying. If I press the accelerator down in a quick matter, shift down, and giddie up and go! Which the Ford does!
So far, the engine in this F150 is VERY quiet. I’m used to truck engines sounding loud, and ticky, but this engine just purr’s away on idle, and acceleration. The transmission also shifts very smooth, without any jerks. So far so good!
I’m averaging about 16 L/PER100 with 90% city driving. I haven’t taken a highway trip yet, but looking forward to getting it on the highway, and cruising quietly and comfortably.
I’m an avid Camper, and can’t wait to get up past 1600 KMS so I can tow my 4500 lbs trailer. I think it will pull it great, and looking forward to it. Soon, the trailer below will be hooked up for it’s maiden voyage!
I’ve had this truck out in the muddy fields already, as I enjoy a Saturday morning goose hunt. The rear locker comes on effortlessly, with a pull of a switch, and does give some added traction in the mud. I was hesitant at first about the OPEN rear differential, but recently learned the truck uses ABS to basically turn it into a LSD. I’ve also used the 4×4 system a few times, and for the most part, engages quickly, and quietly. A few times I’ve noticed that the message “Shifting in progress, OK”, stays on the screen. After reading the manual, I think this is because of “gear block”, and it suggests driving forward 5 meters, which the message goes away. I’ve also heard a few clunks from the hubs, but have also read that is normal. Other then that, the 4×4 system has gotten me through a wet muddy field without issues. It will be a great companion for this years Duck, Goose, and Coyote season!
I havn’t had to turn off any traction controls yet. For my applications, the stock setup works perfect. I have tried out the Hill Descend, and it works as advertised. You can really hear the ABS doing it’s job when the Hill Descend is on, but you get used to it.
For the most part, the truck rides fairly smooth… for a truck. I came from a RAM, with rear coil springs, and this FORD is definitely harder in the rear then the RAM. However, this is a truck, and can live with it. I actually prefer the stiffer rear, as I’m sure it handles the trailer better. However, this is untested.
The truck overall feels less floaty then my other trucks. It feels tighter in the corners, and more stable. Because of this you get a slightly stiffer ride, but again it’s a truck, and feels like a truck.
One other thing that impresses me is the steering. It’s effortless! You could steer this truck with your finger. I’ve read some negatives regarding the steering, but I think it feels great.
INTERIOR / EXTERIOR
I LOVE the 4.2″ center screen on the dash. It displays all the information I want, and it quick to scroll through the different screens. The Fuel Mileage screen is great, as it gives you your current average, as well as current MPG. One click up and you’re on the OFFROAD screen that gives you your pitch, and angle of the truck. This is handy if you’re doing any hills, etc, etc. Another screen which is beneficial is the TRIP 1, TRIP 2 screen. I will try and never reset TRIP 2, so I can see what kinda averages I’m getting over lifetime. Resetting TRIP 1 after every gas fill gives you a good idea of your mileage.
The sync system has worked perfectly for me. When I enter the truck, it automatically pairs my iPhone 5 with no issues. I get text messages without problems, and it even reads them out to me. One option I’d like to have, is the system default to the last option I was using. Everytime I shut the truck off, and back on, it goes back to the LINE-IN option, and I have to speak to SYNC to get back to bluetooth audio. This gets annoying after a while.
I think the radio takes a little getting used to. I’m not a huge fan of all the different menu’s in my radio (non-touch). It seems like there is alot of dead ends. In order to go back to the root menu, you have to find the menu option called “return”, which takes too many extra clicks. But, I’m getting used to it.
The seats are comfy. Really no issue there. One huge PRAISE is the back seat room. The rear flat floor, with no transmission hump, is one of the reasons I bought this truck. TONS OF ROOM! Need to transport a dresser inside the cab? No problem! I think it could use some more secret cubby holes back there, but I’m not complaining.
I like the steering wheel controls, but wish the cruise control was on the opposite side. Maybe it’s just that’s what I’m used to.
So far, I love it. I haven’t had any issues yet, and hope it stays that way. I came from a Dodge Ram, where Chrysler Canada was forced to buy it back because of all the issues I had. I could really use a break with this truck, and so far it’s performing as I expect. I really like the looks of the truck, the way it drives, and how comfortable it is. Really no complaints so far.
I also am enjoying my overall ownership experience with FORD. I’ve got some FORD Swag that I Love to wear, and show-off. I’m really starting to become a FORD-FAN-BOY!
General Information / Location Awenda Provincial Park is located on the shores of Georgian Bay, near Midland or Penetanguishene. I’ve drivin into, and through Midland and Penetang a few times, and really enojoyed it. They are nice little towns. We visited this park during October, and the tree’s are just ready to change color. It was amazing. Some trees were Yellow, some were Orange, and some were still bright green.
P.O. Box 5004, 670 Concession 18 East
Penetanguishene, ON, ON, L9M 2G2 Click here to reserve, or view campsites
Once you get to the park boundry, their is a lengthy road throughout the park before the front off. It’s a really nice drive. The forest is thick, plentiful, and it completely surrounds the road. All roads in this park are like they are carved through the forest. Once you get to the front office, the road continues to the camp grounds.
Awenda is divided into 6 camp grounds. Have a look at the above picture for their names. None of the campgrounds are on Georgian Bay, but are within walking distance. Between the campsites, and Georgian Bay is a VERY steep bluff. Each campground has their own bathroom, with showers and flush toilets. They each also contain vault toilets, which some of them are pretty unique. They looks new, and clean, and look like small little wood shacks. There are also trails all over connecting the sites, and the bathrooms, etc. The Bluff trail connects all campgrounds together. Really easy to get around to all campsites. Each campground has a large overflow parking spot, again with trails to the campsites. It all seems really thought out, and organized. There are 4 different beaches, which are also unique (explained below).
We camped in Wolf cam pground. I liked it there. The forest is really thick there, and tree’s have a bright green color. The thick forest makes most of the sites fairly private. If you can position your trailer so the back side is parallel to the road, your site is a whole lot more private. Here’s the thing about Wolf Camp ground. The sites all have a small driveway, that are angled 45 degrees from the road. This makes it a whole lot easier to back a trailer into the site. If you have a large trailer, this is the camp ground for you.
Wolf camp ground also has a trail running through it, connect a few other camp grounds. It has a central bathroom, with a large field behind it where the kids can play. Wolf camp ground is also the closest to the water, however, it’s kinda a moot point because you can’t really walk there anyway.
One thing I did notice about Wolf, is that the road is paved. Anytime a road is paved, it encourages drivers to drive faster. In certain areas, some cars would drive by fairly quick.
I did check out Snake, and Deer, and they are similar to Wolf. The problem is, they are not hydro, so I didn’t spend much time there. The weather wasn’t the greatest when I was here, and also didn’t have time to view Bear, Turtle or Hawk.
There is a trail that goes to the beach, or a road which has ample parking. Once down at the beach area, there are 2 beaches that are accessible right by the parking lot. The beach consists of some sand, and large boulders. The view is great! There is also a beach trail, that brings you to 2 more remote beaches. I really liked beach number 4, which is a couple km’s down the path. The floor is sand, surrounded by boulders, which is really unique.
There are 5 different trails at Awenda Park. One trail goes around, and through the whole park. It connects all the sites, and camp grounds. I biked on part of this trail, and encourage you to take the whole trail. The trail is well groomed, and great for a family bike ride. I suggest going around it clockwise. Another trails starts at beach 1, and goes all the way to beach 4. I strongly suggest this trail!. There is also a beaver dam trail down by the beach that winds through a stream, and small pond. This is a great trail to walk, as it only takes a few minutes. Another trail goes around a lake (I didn’t go on this trail). There is also a walking trail, that visits a few old foundations, and farms, and goes to the bluff. Umm.., I don’t suggest this trail. It’s kinda boring, and ends abruptly with NO few of the water. If you want to hike, then take it, but it’s fairly uneventful.
The road in and out of Awenda
Beaver Pond Trail
Beaver Pond Trail
Beach area 1-2
Beach area 1-2
Beach area 1-2
Beach area 1-2
Beach area 1-2
Beach area 1-2
Beach area 1-2
One of the hiking trails
One of the hiking trails
I didn’t really collect a list. If you have a trailer, back it into position, so it’s parallel with the road. You then get a site that’s really private. Most of the campsites in Wolf are private. I would suggest camping far away from the bathroom, as the field behind it is filled with children, and the noise really echo’s through the park.
– Thick forest
– Lots of trails, and activities
– Water access is really unique, and nice
– Very organized camp grounds, and very clean
– Drive to the beach
– Paved roads cause cars to drive faster
Should I camp here?
Heck Yes! One of my new favorite parks! They really spent time organizing this park, and it shows! Lots of trails connecting the park, and they are all groomed well. I really like the thick forest, and bright green trees. I really liked the water areas (I didn’t say beaches because of how rocky they are).
**SPOILER ALERT** – I WON! I won against Chrysler Canada, and they were forced to buy back my 2012 Dodge Ram, full price without any deductions. Read below!
I wanted to write about my experience with CAMVAP, because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of written, detailed stories out there. Most of the story’s on the blogs, or forums regarding CAMVAP aren’t finished, or don’t describe other peoples experiences in detail. I want to write, and tell about my experience CAMVAP, and Chrysler Canada. So below, I have written a review, a guide, and a story all mixed together about my experience with CAMVAP. So here it goes, hang in there, it’s a little long!
On August 18, 2012, I bought a 2012 Dodge Ram, 4×4, 5.7L HEMI, from Dale Wurfel in Strathroy, Ontario. To make a REALLY long story short, shortly after taking delivery of the truck, the engine would produce a low end, dull knocking noise whiling idling. This knocking noise was constant. Whether it was warm, cold, or hot. It ALWAYS did it. As well, the transfer case would grind and bang after switching to 4×4.
Here are the 2 videos of my issues.
1) Engine knocking
2) Transfer case grinds when using 4WD
I immediately notified Dale Wurfel, and they offered NO help at all. In fact, the service manager told me to go elsewhere. I wrote a detailed story / review about Dale Wurfel here. This link tells the story of the troubles I had with this dealership. You can get an idea of what I went through trying to service my BRAND NEW truck. TL;TR: They did ZERO troubleshooting, and told me to take it elsewhere.
I decided to take the truck to Oxford Dodge for them to have a look at it. Well, that didn’t really help either. I wrote a detailed story / review about Oxford Dodge HERE. This link tells the story of what happened at Oxford Dodge. TL;TR: Oxford Dodge rebuilt a brand new motor, then replaced the short block, then rebuilt the transfer case, then changed the front axle, but still couldn’t get the 2 original problems corrected. It seemed like they had no idea what they were doing, or how these trucks work.
During all these dealership visits, I was also corresponding with Chrysler Canada Corporate. This is important! CAMVAP isn’t about resolving a dispute between YOU and the DEALER. It’s about resolving a dispute between YOU and the MANUFACTURER. If you’re having problems with the dealership, not fixing your vehicle, or not fixing it properly, your first step is to call the manufacturer customer assistant line. They will assist you in getting your vehicle repaired properly. If the manufacturer is unable, or not willing to help, and you’ve given them, and the dealer ample time to fix your issue, that’s when you can use the assistants of CAMVAP. I see CAMVAP as your LAST RESORT. CAMVAP is NOT a way to manipulate the dealer to fix your vehicle. Don’t waste CAMVAPS time unless you are willing to put in the work to see it to completion. Make sure you exhaust all avenues with the dealer, and manufacturer first. This might mean calling the manufacturer numerous times and pleading with them,. This is very important! Trust me!
Here’s a TIP: You bought the vehicle, and it’s yours to keep through THICK AND THIN! If you have a problem, let the dealership fix it. That’s what warranty is for! Cars and trucks have A LOT of moving parts, and sometimes things can go wrong. Don’t assume that because you have an issue within the first few weeks of ownership it automatically gets you an excuse to have a new vehicle, or your vehicle bought back. If you think this, most times it doesn’t result in this, and y0u’ll just stress yourself out. Alright, now onto the rest of my story.
A couple things come to mind when you’re in this stage:
Keep a word document of everything that goes on at the dealer, and with manufacturer. Add everything that everyone says to this document, and create your own time line.
Use a calendar to keep track of the days the vehicle goes into the shop, and days it comes out
I would suggest voice recording ALL conversations, just in case. If this goes to arbitration, voice recordings are way better then ‘he said, she said’
Give the dealer, or multiple dealers AMPLE opportunity to fix the problem. In my case, my truck was at the dealer for 12 visits. I understand that if you have a major issue, you don’t want it repaired, and just want a new vehicle, and your first instinct is to go to CAMVAP, and hope for a buy-back. This ain’t gonna happen! You MUST give the dealer time to fix the issue. And if they can’t, try a different dealer. You must show CAMVAP that you were willing to let the dealer do the repairs.
Make sure you get Work Orders for ALL repairs. Also, make sure they are accurate, and have detailed information in them.
Don’t threaten the dealership, or the manufacturer that you are going to contact CAMVAP. It doesn’t work, and they don’t care. It’s an empty threat to them, and most times they are right. As well, don’t bother saying you are going to get a Lawyer. Most times as soon as the manufacturer hears the word lawyer, they shut down, and send the case to legal. Now your screwed unless you were actually going to contact a lawyer.
After all the failed repairs from Oxford Dodge, they got so frustrated in the truck, and gave up. They basically said that everything was fine, their are no problems, and refused to look at it any further. As well, Chrysler Canada gave up, and refused to allow a fix for my 2 issues. Chrysler Canada’s response was “Your vehicle is performing as intended, no further repair”. I begged them to continue trying to find the issue of the grinding noise, but they refused.
This is when I was basically forced to start the CAMVAP process. The dealership refused to look at my truck any further, as well as Chrysler Canada. I even made a few more calls to Chrysler Canada, and asked them to reconsider, and they would not. So, after fighting for 6-8 months regarding my engine knocking, and transfer case grinding, on May 2nd, I filled out a CAMVAP form to start the process for arbitration. If you feel that your ready for CAMVAP, first, READ THIS PDF. If gives you a great overview of how the process starts, and finished. It’s a MUST read!. After, when you’re ready, you can start the arbitration process using this link. Here, you fill out basic information about your case. After filling this out, a CAMVAP representative will contact you, and verify some information. They ask questions like, “How many times was the vehicle in the dealership”, and “Have you contacted the manufacturer”, etc, etc. I think at this point, they are trying to filter out any cases that aren’t yet ready for CAMVAP. If they feel your case is ready for CAMVAP, they send all this information to the Manufacturer. According to the above PDF, the manufacturer has 3 days to respond to your claim, and give a brief answer to your issues. Once this is complete, CAMVAP will send you a packet with all the information necessary to start the process. I received my packet via email, but I think sometimes they mail it. Give the CAMVAP office a call, and let them know how you prefer your package.
Once you received your packet, the first question you must ask yourself is if you want a buyback, or a repair. At first, I decided to ask for a repair. All I wanted was for Chrysler Canada to repair my truck properly so I could drive it. I think this option gives you a better chance of winning your arbitration. It shows CAMVAP that you are willing to allow the manufacturer to fix your issues, and your not just looking for a quick buy-back so you can buy a brand new truck. Proving, or showing the arbitrator that you allowed the dealer to repair the issue is very important! After some consideration, I decided that Chrysler Canada, and the dealership has had AMPLE time to fix my truck properly. This is when I decided on asking for a buy-back.
Here are my reasoning’s for asking for a buy-back, instead of a repair:
After 72 days, and 12 dealership visits, that is enough time to fix a truck properly. What will ordering another repair accomplish if they already had 72 days?
After 2 engines, 1 transfer case, 1 front axle, I was concerned with the resale value of the truck. I was concerned that if I brought the truck to a dealer for a trade-in, they would use this repair history against me and offer a lower value.
Since I was still having the issues, how could I ethically sell this truck to someone else down the road?
I really didn’t feel Chrysler Canada knew what was causing this problem, and didn’t think they could fix it properly.
Because of those reasons alone, I felt I had a good case to prove that a buy-back was the best, and most fair option for everyone.
Along with the form inside the packet, you must send all Work Orders that you’ve accumulated during your dealings with the dealership. If you have any other evidence, send it in with the form. Any pictures, videos, recordings, articles that support your theories, etc, etc. All these details get passed along to the arbitrator, as well as the manufacturer.
** NOTE! – Once you sign this form, and send it back, you are agreeing to the rules of arbitration. If you lose, you are bound to that decision. Keep this in mind! If you give a bad presentation, and lose, the manufacturer doesn’t have to fix your vehicle down the road if the issue continues. Maybe, instead of CAMVAP, your better off driving it for a few months, and maybe revisiting the issue later down the road. Or maybe wait till the issue gets a lot worse, and easier to convince the dealer to fix it! **
After sending in all forms, and evidence, and WO’s, CAMVAP then sends everything to the manufacturer. According to the above PDF, the manufacturer has 10 business days to send back their “answer”, as well as any documents, or evidence they have collected. In my case, their answer was “To the best of our knowledge, Consumers vehicle is performing as intended at this time.” They also list everyone they plan to send to the hearing. Basically, you, and the manufacturer are “disclosing” any evidence you have on one another.
After about 1 month, CAMVAP called, and gave me a hearing date which was only about 2 weeks away. I was expecting it to be months away, so I felt unprepared. However, I was determined to give a good, thorough presentation, and do my best at telling the arbitrator my story.
A couple tips that come to mind, when you’re preparing, and giving your presentation:
Read this website – It’s about another person who went through CAMVAP, and won. He shares a lot of good tips on how to present your case, and gives a list of what to do, and what not to do.
Go to the CAMVAP website, and read through EVERYTHING! They also give some great tips on things to say, and things not to say. This is really important. I strongly urge you to read everything here. It even gives you an outline of what the hearing will look like, and really helps when you’re putting your presentation together.
Get a piece of bristol board, and tape monthly calendars to it. Use this to place an X on the day that anything happens. Example: If your truck goes into the dealership, X. If you have to call the manufacturer, X, etc, etc. It really gives a good picture of the amount of time you put in getting this truck fixed.
Type out your presentation in full, with all dates the trucks went into the shop, and all dates that you corresponded with Dealer or Manufacturer. This is basically your oral presentation that you will read from during the presentation. The reason why it’s good to have this paper, is because the arbitrator can take it afterwards, and have something to review when they make their decision. This is important, and it helped 100% in my case.
Like the CAMVAP website says, and the blog above, create a route from the meeting place, and make sure you can duplicate the issues your having. It’s very important to show the arbitrator the issues with you vehicle. So practice and make sure these issues appear during your hearing.
Remember, the arbitrator is NOT a technical expert. So, if you need to bring diagrams to help illustrate your issue, then do so. Also, you can find articles on the internet that help prove your issue is a problem. Print these articles out, and submit them as evidence. (Just make sure you also submit this article with your CAMVAP form, along with Work orders, etc)
Practise, Practise, Practise. Read through your presentation numerous times until you are completely comfortable with it.
Avoid slander in your presentation. The arbitrator isn’t concerned about all the bad things the dealer said to you when you were in for repair. However, sometimes you need to show the arbitrator the struggles you went through with the dealer. Just make sure you tell about it in a tasteful way. Just remember, your problems should be between YOU, and the MANUFACTURER. Stick to the story!
Don’t think you can go into CAMVAP and just wing it. Seriously, put some effort into your presentation, and really show the arbitrator the struggles you’ve been through so far. Convince him!
My hearing was scheduled for August 31, 2013. It was set for 10am. I arrived at the hotel around 930, and went into the hotel meeting room. To my surprise, someone was already there. I introduced myself, and setup my presentation. I had an stand brought in the room to hold my bristle board calendar. I also had my presentation, and my articles, all set out. I also had the above videos, and pictures of the engine damage on my iPad, all ready to go. The arbitrator arrived, and basically give us an idea of what’s going to happen here. He also described what an Arbitrator is. We then swore to tell the truth, etc, etc. It was pretty laid back. He asked whether we wanted to demonstrate the noise on the truck first, or go right into my presentation. I asked if I could go ahead, and start presenting.
Here is a photo of my calendar.
The premise of my presentation was to convince the arbitrator that I had been through enough, and that further repairs were not fair to me as a consumer. I was to convince the arbitrator that these previous repairs hinder my future warranty, and resale value. So I centered my presentation around proving, or convincing this. This is important! Before creating your presentation, or story, figure out what you want to tell, or convince. Create a premise that your presentation resolves around, and incorporate that premise in with your story, or timeline.
I started out with an opening argument. It basically gives the arbitrator an idea of what’s to come. It’s almost a summary. After the opening statement, I went right into my presentation. I read my presentation on paper, while looking up at the Arbitrator, and marking off the calendar. Every time I had a correspondence with anyone, I added it to the calendar. During the presentation the Arbitrator did ask a few questions, trying to understand the timeline. Also during the presentation, I showed pictures of what I collected, as well as the videos of my problems. My presentation took about 30-40 minutes to go through.
My presentation was about 16 pages. It basically gives the whole story from the start, to the end. I tried my hardest to keep on point, and short. A lot of the point I had to make need to show that this whole process was extremely frustrating, and going through it again for a repair was not wanted.
Once my presentation was finished, CAMVAP said it was now the manufacturers turn to speak, and tell their side of the story. In my case, my presentation, and story was so compelling, that the Manufacturer didn’t have ANYTHING to say or add. He did say that he was disgusted, and flabbergasted by Chrysler Canada’s behavior and decisions. He said it was mind boggling how they decided to rebuild that engine, instead of replacing it completely. I think he was a little embarrassed about representing Chrysler Canada. He was however interested in hearing the knocking noise, and grinding noise.
So, after the presentations we went out to the parking lot, so the manufacturer, and the arbitrator could hear the noises in question. (Previous to this hearing, I figured out that the best way to hear the noise, is a short drive after starting the truck in the morning. So the night before the hearing, I left the truck at the hotel, so I could cold start it in the morning.) I started the truck, and the 3 of us went for a drive around the block. When we got back, the knocking noise was very evident. The manufacturer listened to the noise, and didn’t know what was causing it. He said in order to determine that, a engine tear down would be needed. We also discussed the grinding noise, and I explained that I couldn’t demonstrate that noise right now, because it only happens on snow, ice or mud. I also said that I’m not comfortable reproducing this grinding noise on dry pavement, or anything other then a very slippery surface, because of the damage that happens to the transfer case when this noise occurs.
The arbitrator also did a walk around of the truck, looking for any damage to the vehicle. We then signed a piece of paper showing their was no damage, or visible scratches.
We came back in, and finished up the case. The arbitrator asked both myself, and the manufacturer what we thought about a technical inspection. I said I would be willing to do that, but just like the manufacturer recently said, the inspector would have to tear the engine down, to find out where the noise was coming from. I explained that another repair, or inspection is what I’m trying to avoid, since it’s been repaired and inspected for 72 days already. We talked about the buy-back amount, and made sure both myself, and the manufacturer agreed on the amount in case their was a buy-back. I handed out my presentation to the arbitrator so he had something to review when he was making his decision. He said he would review everything, and make his decision within 14 days.
Well, on August 9th, CAMVAP sent me the award from the arbitrator. It was a lengthy award, demonstrating why the arbitrator made the decision to award a buy back.
I won! I received a buy-back of my Dodge RAM in FULL, with no deductions of use! The arbitrator ruled on my side. The process took exactly 1 year to complete. 6-8 months fighting with dealerships, and manufacturer, and the rest going through the CAMVAP process. It was such a relief!
On August 23, I received a call from Oxford Dodge saying they have a cheque waiting for me, in the full amount of the truck. I simple drove the truck there, handed in the keys, and walked away with the cheque.
I have learnt A LOT about the CAMVAP process, and how dealers and manufacturers handle the process. If you have any questions at all, please email me, or comment on this story. I will do my best to help out!
The best part? I got to trade my RAM in for a Ford F-150. LOVE IT so far!
General Information / Location Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park is located about 30 minutes north of Parry Sound. It’s directly off of Highway 69, and located on Sturgeon Bay. The park is located on one of the bays on the lake.
Once you get off Highway 400, it’s a fairly quick drive to get to the park entry. The park only has 1 area, and it’s a fairly small park. Unless I missed it, I didn’t see a bathroom with running water, but there are vault toilets. There is a beach in the park which is nice. There’s also a boat ramp, and parking for your truck and trailer.
The atmosphere when entering the park was kinda neat. Can’t really explain it, but it felt really cozy and rustic. After the front gate, that’s about where the excitement stopped. The rest of the park seemed really “Homemade”. The sites were small, and unused. There was 2 foot long grass growing in most of them.
I didn’t see any flush toilets, or showers. There are alot of vault toilets around.
I guess the beach is a nice addition, but I generally don’t enjoy beaches unless it’s on a large, “great” lake.
There is no hiking here, there are no trails here.
I think the only reason to stop at this park, is if you’re into fishing (and you brought a boat), or your stopping over for a night. There is just nothing to do here. I think Sturgeon Bay is great for fishing, so bring your boat, put it in the water, and enjoy your fishing, then back to the campsite for the night, and repeat. We stopped here just to sleep for a night, then left in the morning.
One thing I noticed is the black flies were TERRIBLE! The next day we drove to Killarney and there were NO blackflies. So not sure why they are so bad here.
The only site I would suggest is Site 6. It’s near the water, and you have your own rock to sit on, and enjoy the water. However, there is a marina right there, so the view isn’t amazing.
The other sites are just MEH. Site #8 is small, and you can’t even view the water from your site.
– Boat Ramp
– Boat and fisher friendly
– There’s just nothing to do
– No running toilets
We just use this park as a stop over, as it’s right on the highway. That’s about it.
Review Date: We are camping here THIS WEEKEND! I’ll complete review shortly after (June 2013)
General Information / Location
Killarney Provincial Park is located about 60kms off highway 400/69. It borders Georgian Bay, and is full of great hiking trails, and canoeing adventures! I like this area because of the rocky and hilly landscape.
Killarney Provincial Park
When travelling north, south on Highway 400, and you see the Killarney exit signs….. don’t get to excited yet. It’s still a 57km drive on highway 637 to get to the front gates of Killarney. However, the road is decent, and it’s a nice drive through the forest! Also, be on the lookout for animals! We saw a large black bear, 2 deer, and a fox. The red fox actually lives in the campground, and you’ll see it walking around from time to time.
Right off the highway is the front gates and front office. The front office also has a small gift shop / supplies shop. I found it neat to walk around, and look at the displays that are setup. There is also a Fox that likes to walk around the front office area. You also sometimes see it walking through the park. Once past the front gates, the park is split up into 3 sections. George Lake A, George Lake B & C, George Lake D. I believe there is one main bathroom, with flush toilets, and showers, and there are plenty of vault type toilets scattered throughout the park. There are 2 beaches, one on George Lake A, and the other on George Lake D.
Highway 400 exit sign
Sign at front gates
Parking lot at front gates
Driveway leading to park
We stayed at the George Lake A campground, in site 29. If your staying in this part of the park, stick to the sites along the river, and not near the parking lot. The sites along the river are spaced out nicely, and all fairly private. You really feel like your camping in the middle of the bush here. There are 3 vault toilets along the river. The only issue is that you are fairly far away from the Flush toilets, and the garbage bins, but I didn’t mind as you are also away from all the noise. There is a turn-around spot at the end of this road, so if you have a truck and trailer, you should be able to turn around. I have a RAM with a 20′ trailer and was able to turn around without troubles.
I didn’t view all the sites in George Lake B & C. From what I remember, the sites are closer together, and less private. Maybe because the bush didn’t seem as thick? However, this campground is alot closer to the flush toilets, which might be nice for some.
I didn’t go into George Lake D at all, so can’t really comment on this section. I believe these sites are mostly tent sites.
As I said above, there is only 1 full featured bathroom, and lots of vault toilets around the campgrounds.
There are 2 beaches. The one I did go to is at George Lake A. For a small lake, the beach is pretty good. There is also a roped off swimming area. This also seems to be the main entry into the back hills of Killarney. Meaning, alot of people are using this beach to begin their canoe trip. You’ll also see alot of people coming back on Sunday’s, etc. I believe the beach at George Lake D has a boat ramp. (Or a canoe ramp?)
The park suggests that you bring any garbage to the garbage containers every night. If you don’t, the raccoons seem to not be afraid to come right in, and steal anything. Even if you’re sitting at the campfire.
In order to rent a canoe, check the Killarney magazine, and it offers 3 different outfitters for canoes. You simple call them, give them your credit card, and they supply you with the combination to the lock on a specific canoe. The one I called was $28 per day. The canoe trip was the highlight of our trip. We paddled along the outside of the lake, and once you get to the other side, the cliffs are AMAZING. There is even one spot where the cliff hangs over you. Canoeing this lake is a must!
The hiking here is AMAZING! So amazing, I’ve created it’s own category below. I’ll describe the trails that we went on, and provide some pictures. First, see some pictures below of Killarney Park.
View of lake from George Lake A
Campsite in George Lake A
Campsite in George Lake A
Road following river
Pathway to trail
Here, I will describe the trails that I hiked on. I don’t have pictures handy right now, but will add them eventually. You can see a brief description of all the trails in the park HERE
1) Chikanishing Trail – I suggest taking this trail first. It only takes 1 – 1.5 hours. It’s a loop trail. It follows a river out to Georgian Bay, and brings you a-top large rocks, overlooking the river, and Georgian Bay. Once you see the view of Georgian Bay, you gasp at how incredible it is. We walked right to the lake, and went for a quick swim. IT WAS COLD! On the way back, it winds through the forest, and eventually back to where you started. This trail is fairly easy, and gives you a good idea of what hiking is like up in Killarney
2) Granite Ridge Trail – I also suggest taking this trail. Do it at the same time as the above trail. It brings you out to an incredible cliff, overlooking the Provincial Park. We sat on this cliff for a long time, just taking in the great views. Here’s a video:
3) The Crack – This is the trail you’ve been practising for. It’s a must! I would suggest starting sometime in the morning, having lunch atop the mountain, then start the treck back down. Bring lots of snacks, and a lunch. The trail is fairly easy, but it’s long. There are a few sections where you’re climbing, which can get tiring. The view atop the final destination, is incredible! Once up there, take an hour or two, and soak it all in. Relax, and rest.
4) Bike Path – This is a fairly short path that starts near site 30, and goes to the highway. Here’s a video of it:
– I would say that any campsite along the river are fairly good. Sites 18 – 30. I would also say site 63 is pretty good. It’s got a nice spot you can walk out and see the water.
– Hiking! If you want to hike, and explore, this park is awesome for that!
– When camping, you really feel like your in the middle of the bush. Camping in a real remote area (which you kinda are).
– The park is really quiet.
– You need to watch out for bears, and throwout your garbage every night. Which is kinda neat cause I love seeing bears!
– It’s a treck to get there
I really liked this park because it was really quiet. The sites along 18-30 are spaced out, and give you alot of room. I love being up north, and seeing all these wild animals. All the hiking up there is amazing. Go out and hike all day, come back and relax at your campsite.