Balsam Lake Provincial Park

A forested oasis in the Kawartha Lakes community, Balsam Lake Provincial Park offers outdoor recreation seekers the ideal escape. Set on the northern shore of Balsam Lake across the way from Indian Point, you can catch views across the water to Grand Island. The park provides numerous outdoor sports opportunities, including popular water activities like kayaking, canoeing, boating and fishing. 

A large beach is the perfect spot for sunbathing and beachcombing, while the bulk of the park is forested with a handful of hiking and cycling trails. Because of its uber-natural environment, Balsam Lake Provincial Park also contributes to the excellent birding opportunities in the area. Those who wish to spend the night can set up a tent or park an RV at the campgrounds or opt to rent the lakeside cottage. 

You’ll find Balsam Lake Provincial Park in the Kawartha Lakes area, connected to the famous Trent-Severn Waterway. Not far from Toronto, Balsam Lake Provincial Park is just over an hours' drive north of Peterborough.

We recommend visiting Balsam Lake Provincial Park’s website for up-to-date information and details on its facilities. For more information about the resort and other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends. 

A scenic view of the lake from a beach in Balsalm Lake Provincial Park. There is a couple sitting on a picnic bench and the trees on the shore in the distance are a mix of green, orange and red.

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More about Balsam Lake Provincial Park

Balsam Lake Provincial Park is nearly 450 hectares of forested land, with part of its property hugging the northern shore of Balsam Lake. Its location in Kawartha Lakes contributes to a vast natural and rural area well known for recreational opportunities.  

As you may guess, the most popular activities at Balsam Lake Provincial Park include water sports. The park features a long sandy beach with protective buoys for swimming, and you can also rent paddle boats, kayaks and canoes. If you have a boat, you’re welcome to bring it — there’s plenty of trailer parking and a ramp into the water. The park also offers a free 2-hour educational program called ‘Learn to Fish’ where you can practice your fishing skills, regardless of ability. Afterward, try your luck catching some of the lake species, including Walleye, Muskellunge and Bass. 

If you’re more of an on-land person, there is still plenty to enjoy at Balsam Lake Provincial Park. Two main hiking trails take you through the forested areas of the property. The Lookout Trail is 2.6 km long and winds through 10,000-year-old eskers and kames (glacial channels and hills) to a panoramic viewpoint. The Plantation Trail is slightly longer at 4.2 km and sticks mostly to the forest. You can complete either in under two hours. 

Paved roads throughout the park’s campgrounds offer cycling routes. And if you’re interested in birding, you’ll find a long list of species that call Balsam Lake home, including hummingbirds, loons, hawks, osprey, woodpeckers, orioles and owls. Families can enjoy the playground and picnic areas, and kids can take advantage of a summer Discovery Program that offers various events and activities throughout the park. Other facilities include a convenience store, laundromat and pet area. 

Watching the sunset at Balsam Lake is the perfect way to end a busy day boating on the water and trekking through the forest. If you wish to stay the night, the park has several campgrounds that accommodate different camping styles. Some allow group, car and RV camping with electricity. But to preserve the tranquillity of nature, some campsites are radio-free, dog-free or walk-in only. To ensure that you secure the campground you want, it’s best to reserve sites in advance (up to five months). 

The park also offers a four-bedroom cabin for nightly rentals. The cottage sleeps up to eight and includes a kitchen and restrooms. Much like the campgrounds, it’s best to reserve the house as early as possible. 

While here, explore more of the Kawartha Lakes region. Balsam Lake Provincial Park sits on one of the largest water bodies in the Kawartha Lakes. This area contains a string of other lakes and many smaller lagoons, ponds and marshes. If you feel like exploring the region outside of Balsam Lake, you’ll find endless recreation opportunities and some historic townships. 

For additional fishing and boating hotspots, check out some of the other lakes, such as Sturgeon Lake and Pigeon Lake. Although Balsam Lake features several bird species, the best area for birding is the expansive Carden Plain Important Bird Area near Kirkfield. And if you wish to go a bit further on your bike, there are longer trails that take you throughout the Kawartha Lakes area. Great cycling routes include The Ganaraska Trail, Kawartha Trans Canada Trail and Victoria Rail Trail Corridor. These trails are also pleasant walking and hiking pathways or cross-country skiing destinations in the winter. 

If you’re up for perusing some of the quaint villages, start in Fenelon Falls, which isn’t too far from Balsam Lake Provincial Park. Explore a beautiful waterfall, fine-dining restaurants, art galleries and an expansive park overlooking Cameron Lake. History buffs and art lovers will enjoy Lindsay, which hosts a historic theatre and exciting architecture. Lindsay is a great place to start the self-guided Kawartha Lakes Arts and Heritage Trail, which stops at several art galleries, studios and shops in the region.