Chutes Provincial Park is a small - but STUNNING - campground just north of Manitoulin Island. We had a fabulous stay, here's our full review!
It’s located just a short drive up the Trans-Canada highway from Sudbury - where we did a quick tour of Letterkenny filming locations - and a bit north of Manitoulin Island, and Lake Huron in general.
It’s a GREAT park! A quiet campground on the Aux Sables River with amazing hiking and gorgeous views of waterfalls throughout.
As the only Provincial Park between Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie, I kind of happened across it as a default when planning the trip. Sault Ste. Marie was a bit further than we wanted to drive on that leg of the trip, so it was an obvious choice.
In the future, we’re going to make a point of coming here, though. Default stop or not, this was a fantastic park - I think it’s going to end up one of our favourites!
They had been postponed from the Canada Day weekend - the area had been under a fire ban at the time.
The practice rounds of mortars they were setting off that afternoon were maybe a bit less fun. Explosions on a random afternoon that sounded like gunshots in the distance/through the trees aren’t exactly my idea of a good time!
Luckily, the park office was easy to reach and knew what was going on, when we called.
Anyway, lots of photos* to share and stuff to talk about, so let’s get to it!
* We took WAY too many photos. Even after selecting them down for the post, we had a ton! Be sure to scroll to the end of the post for all of the “short list” pics that didn’t fit in this review itself!
Campground Name: Chutes Provincial Park
Address: P.O. Box 37, 650 Imperial Street North Massey, ON P0P 1P0
Price Ontario Provincial Parks uses a pricing matrix across all their parks. See 2023 Camping Fees for more details.
Reservations: Ontario Parks Reservations
As always, booking was quick and easy on the Provincial Parks website. Check in was similarly quick and easy - it did require going into a small building at the entrance of the park.
Signage throughout the park is decent, but it’s a small enough park that you almost don’t need it. Utility posts are very close to each campsite, so far as we could see.
The roads seemed quite narrow, with a fair amount of tree overhang in places. Our Class C had no problems getting to our site, though.
We lost reception a few times, momentarily... but we were also able to stream some Better Call Saul on Netflix, our first night. No buffering issues at all!
Comfort Station, Etc
The park has a single comfort station - with 5 clean showers, a laundry facility (Bring Loonies!), and flush toilets. The laundry room has two washers and two dryers, one of the washers was out of order during our stay.
There are also vault toilets located throughout the park - one on each campground loop, and one by the day use area.
Think less “public library”, more “take a book, leave a book”. Love them!
The recycling center is large and easy to reach - right next to the comfort station, on the main route to get in / out of the park.
Need to buy some extra cords of firewood or provincial park souvenirs?
The park office at the gate has a small campground store. They also loan life jackets, with a $25 deposit.
Day Use Area
There’s a small day use area near the beach, just up the road from the Falls Lookout.
There are a few picnic tables scattered around the area - mostly by the parking lot - and a single, large-ish picnic shelter that can be reserved for group use.
You can use the vehicle pass you get when checking in for a campsite to park there, or - if you’re just coming to the park for day use - you can buy your parking pass online. (Up to 5 days ahead of time).
Entertainment and Activity
Even though it’s smaller than many of the big name parks, there’s plenty to keep you occupied!
The Twin Bridges Trail is quite possibly the most beautiful hike we’ve been on, to date and - IMHO is the real main attraction of the park!
The entire hike is advertised to be 6 km round trip, but it’s very segmented, so you can go as long or as short as you’d like.
That takes you up the west side of the river, with easy walking trails and a few great lookouts over the Seven Sisters Rapids. (The trails get more difficult after the bridges)
From there, you’ll cross 2 bridges - the “Twin Bridges” that the trail is named for - over the Seven Sister Rapids.
We ventured off the trail to get a better look - the rocks are fabulous, and the views are spectacular! In NO WAY does our photography do it justice.
We went as far as the second view platform - on the east side of the river - then turned around.
In the end, we had spent about 2.5 hours enjoying every minute of the super nice trails.
What a great trail!
My husband declared “I want to LIVE here!” multiple times during then hike - something he hasn’t said at any park, before this!
Note: If hiking isn’t your thing, or mobility is an issue, there’s an easy to reach viewing platform, RIGHT over the lower falls.
You can drive almost right up to it - there’s a small parking lot, near the base of the stairs that goes up to the start of the trail.
From there. It’s a short, relatively flat walk to amazing views of the falls!
At the base of this section of river gorge - near the day use area - there’s a sandy beach area.
It’s mostly very shallow water, with a bit of a sand bar you can wade out to, to get a closer look at the falls.
It was a bit too cold to actually go swimming during our stay, but it was a nice place to unwind after our long day on the road!
Had the northern lights made an appearance during our stay, that beach would have been an AMAZING place to view them - the falls are almost directly north of the beach.
Cycling is specifically banned from the trail, but allowed on park roads. There’s not a LOT of park road - and they’re mostly very narrow - so I wouldn’t consider this a destination for getting some biking mileage in.
That said, the Town of Massey isn’t far away, and they’ve got more roads to bike on.
Boating isn’t suitable - and probably not even allowed (I can’t remember what all was listed on the “DON’T!” signs!) - in the park, but apparently you can fish from the banks.
The park recommends Aux Sables River (north of the park) and the Spanish River for good fishing opportunities.
Apparently there’s a salmon run in the fall, up the river to the waterfall. We didn’t see any salmon during our stay in early September. 🙁
I’m starting to think that something about us being cat people is repelling the birds!
This is like the third park in a row where they claim to have many different birds... but we only saw a couple during our stay!
There were a couple of super cute little woodpeckers in our campsite over the course of our stay. The park website says that they have pileated, downy, and hairy woodpeckers here - these were either downy or woody, from a quick Googling.
Also, something flew up off the ground in front of us, while walking the trail.
I didn’t catch a good enough look to figure out what it was. According to the park website, chickadees, flycatchers, kinglets, nuthatches, sapsuckers, thrushes, vireos and warblers are the birds known to show up in the park.
I’ll be honest - aside from Chickadees (thank you, Hinterland Who’s Who!), I have no idea what any of those looked like, before Googling.
Those all look pretty small compared to whatever we happened across, though.
As with the other provincial parks we’ve been to, Chutes Provincial Park runs a discovery program.
I’m not entirely sure where the Exploration Station is - we didn’t see it during our trip. Anyway, they staff it during July & August and encourage visitors to bring their Discovery Activity Book.
They provide equipment and materials for their Discovery programming, but - probably because we didn’t arrive during peak season - I didn’t see any information on what all that programming might entail.
The park is “closed” - and gated - through the winter, though they welcome walk-in visitors.
Winter hiking is encouraged, as are snowshoeing and skiing - I don’t know if the trails are maintained after the last wknd of the season, though.
Niantic Games, Etc
We there are a small handful of Ingress Portals / 3 Pokestops throughout the park, and 1 gym.
It’s a small enough park that you’re never really all that far from one of them.
There were consistent Pokemon spawns in our campsite, without us being in range of any of the stops. It WAS during an event though, so that may not be the case normally.
Cell reception was good enough that we had fairly consistent access to the game.
This seems to be a nice, quiet campground. Our site was a good size and gorgeous.
Fairly open, not a ton of privacy - there was a path from our site to the toilets, and a BIG frontage onto the road - but we weren’t disturbed by anyone.
Anyway, the campground can accommodate a number of different types of trailers and campers, as well as tent camping.
One loop - Big Chute Crescent - is a radio-free area.
There are the COOLEST tent camp sites down on the loop closest to the day use area - I think it was 124, 126, and 128 - where the camping area is actually set back and DOWN from the road. They looked super cosy!
We didn’t see any bus type campers, I’m not sure if they can be accommodated or not - the roads are pretty narrow, but there are a handful of pull-through sites.
Everything looked very clean and well maintained.
Note: I would probably recommend avoiding the sites on the west side of Trillium trail (115 & 117), as they’re awfully close to a residential area.
Also, sites 90-96 are all close enough to hear the falls. Personally, I LOVE that - but if the sound will bother you, you might want to plan around it.
As with all of the provincial park campgrounds we’ve been to, Chutes PP is a mix of electrical sites and non-electric sites - probably about 50/50 split.
None have water or sewer hookup, but there are potable water taps throughout the park and a dump station / fill station up front.
There is no wifi offered through the park.
There are a couple of non-electric group camp sites on the far end of the Red Pine Road loop. They have easy access to a barrier-free toilet building and the trail.
Just as a heads up - by “easy access”, I mean the trail literally borders the length of one of them (G1) and a confusing offshoot on the trail could definitely lead to hikers wandering in to G2.
There are signs telling people not to trespass in the group campsites when in use, though.
I was pleasantly surprised at the accessibility of this park.
First off - it has 2 barrier free campsites, both of which are near the comfort station. The comfort station itself is designated as barrier free, and there’s a barrier free toilet facility at the far end of the red pine road campground, near the group camping sites.
Now, the fun part:
The viewing platform next to the falls (as listed on the map), across from the swimming area?
It’s wheelchair accessible!
There’s a fine gravel path to get there - fairly flat and even, pretty well packed. It transitions directly to the platform, no steps or anything!
The beach isn’t wheelchair accessible, but the trail to get there is short and can definitely be handled with other types of mobility devices.
I was having a bad tendon & knee day on the first day of our stay, and went down there twice that afternoon / night. On one of those trips, there was a woman in a walking boot.
Note: There IS a relatively steep incline involved.
As far as the Twin Bridges Trail goes, it’s not wheelchair accessible. That said, the first big leg of it - as far as the end of the second bridge - could definitely be done with other types of mobility aids.
There’s one part that would be difficult to navigate with crutches, but a boot, braces, cane, whatever - shouldn’t be a problem.
This is a dog friendly park - actually a bit more pet friendly than it may look, at first glance!
On the park map / flyer, it points out the dog exercise area - a large, fenced enclosure that’s an off-leash dog park.
This is located over on the end of the day use area, just a few metres down the trail that goes to the swimming area.
The map shows the swimming area on both versions of the map on the sheet, and one specifies “no pets allowed”.
Weirdly, it cuts off the section of beach that’s specifically labeled as a dog beach. (The corner off to the right on the map that labels it as “no pets”.
The sites all seem big enough to handle at least one vehicle besides your camper.
Aside from that, there are several small parking lots throughout the park, near every place of interest - the comfort station, the swimming area / day use, the viewing platform, etc.
The Chutes are AMAZING - my husband declared several times that he wants to LIVE here.
The park is well maintained, clean, and peaceful. We really like the vibe of the park - it seems inviting, and it’s a great place to get away.
I was actually shocked at how “get away” it is, given that we had to drive through a residential area to get here! I guess I assumed it would be way out in the boonies, based on photos I’d seen.
Fantastic little park, we’ll definitely be back!
Share the Love!
Also, be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of our nonsense. Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Finally, if you love this post, please consider sharing the link on social media!
More Campground Reviews
Want to read some more of what we have to say about the campgrounds we've stayed at? Here are some more reviews!
Conestogo Lake Conservation Area
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
Fifty Point Conservation Area
Killbear Provincial Park
Long Point Provincial Park
Meaford Memorial Park
Port Burwell Provincial Park
Valens Lake Conservation Area
Selkirk Provincial Park
Turkey Point Provincial Park