Located just outside of Killarney Provincial Park, Philip Edward Island is a great destination for a backcountry canoe or kayak trip. Whether it’s your first trip, or you’re heading out for the 100th time, you’ll love exploring the pink granite rocks and watching the sunsets over Georgian Bay.
Paddle around the whole island, bee-line to some good fishing spots, enjoy the solitude of The Foxes or take a leisurely trip to explore the incredible ocean-like coastline, the options are endless when planning a trip to Philip Edward Island. Thanks to the lack of portages (there’s only 2, and they’re optional), you can pack your canoe with whatever luxuries your heart desires (chairs, fresh foods, wine *wink wink*) knowing that you won’t have to carry them at any point.
Regardless of where you’re planning to explore, you’ll likely want to start your trip from the Chikanishing Trailhead launch point in Killarney Provincial Park. Jeff’s Maps are a great way to plan your trip (download the map for free!), and you can purchase a waterproof version before you head out.
Paddling out to Philip Edward Island
You can park your car at the Chikanishing Trailhead while you head out on your trip. Parking costs $14.50 per day, but lucky for you, Philip Edward Island is crown land so there’s no fee to camp.
It’s just a quick paddle down the little river before you hit the open waters of Georgian Bay. If you can avoid heading out on a really windy day, you’ll be thankful. The high winds can cause huge waves, and depending on your skill level you might be better off to delay your start until the wind has died down.
Deciding your Phillip Edward Island route:
This incredible collection of islands is well worth the journey if you get lucky with a calm day. Better for experienced paddlers due to the challenges that can come with travelling out to the islands, the pink granite, wave-like mounds offer a great place to relax for a couple of days. The weather can change quickly, so be cautious when heading out to these islands if you aren’t planning to spend the night.
The Fishing Holes
Halfway along the the north side of the island, Mill Lake is a small lake with cottages and campsites and attracts fishers for its variety of Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Splake, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Muskie, Pike, and Walleye. Travelling directly here is simple and any level of paddler can do it thanks to Collins Inlet being completely sheltered from the winds of Georgian Bay. The only downside to camping here is the lack of privacy; you should expect to see other boats anchored in the lake, and depending on where you camp, you may have the view of a cottage.
Paddle the Whole Island
If you’re up for the adventure and feel confident navigating with a map and compass, a trip around Philip Edward Island is definitely an amazing way to spend 4-5 days. Travelling counterclockwise around the island is recommended due to prevailing winds from the west, which allows you to be sheltered in Collins Inlet when heading west. This trip is not recommended for beginner paddlers because of the waves that are possible on Georgian Bay, particularly between Big Rock Bay and Deer Island. Although the Big Rock portage can help to avoid some waves, it’s very difficult to find.
Philip Edward Island is all crown land, so although there are marked campsites, you can pitch your tent anywhere you’d like. Below are some great places that we’ve stayed with more established campsites.
For stronger paddlers, this incredible pink granite rock point is a great destination for your first night on Philip Edward Island. The rock has a gentle slope, making it easy for getting in and out of canoes or kayaks. The campsite also reaches a great height, giving you 270 degree views of the surrounding area.
There’s plenty of campsites out on the cluster of islands that make up The Foxes. Make sure you know the weather forecast before heading out, and careful of high winds and large waves. This archipelago of wave-like pink granite rocks are beautiful against the crystal blue waters of Georgian Bay. The lack of trees can make firewood difficult to find, and the exposure to wind and rain can make it difficult to get a fire going.
The collection of islands between Bateman Island and Deer Island are an interesting place to spend the night. The islands are pretty small, and don’t have great tent spots, but the smattering of islands is a unique and beautiful landscape. The islands create shelter from the wind, so you’ll find calm waters and stillness away from the open water on Georgian Bay.
Big Rock Bay
This west facing campsite has so much to offer. A low sloping flat rock which extends into the water is a great place to set up and watch the sunset over Georgian Bay. From this campsite, you can hike up to the top of Big Rock, which will give you incredible views of the La Cloche Mountain Range in Killarney Provincial Park.
Archer’s Island, Mill Lake
If you’re dreaming of a fresh fish dinner, make sure to stop on this island for the night. This campsite has a few tent spots and can easily accommodate a group. The flat rocky outcrop is a great place to set up your campsite kitchen, plus the lack of tree cover on the north end of the island makes it great for campfires and star gazing.
Need gear or trip planning help? Check out our CampKit Gear Rentals or reach out to us and we'll be happy to answer any of your questions!