Pancake Bay Provincial Park

ALWAYS check Alerts and other information on the official website, as conditions and facility availability are subject to change.

New Camping Rules for 2023 (14-night max) – new for 2023 are revised rules about the maximum number of nights you can camp. In this park, if you are camping between July 1 and the Saturday of the Labour Day long weekend, you’ll be restricted to no more than 14-nights at this park. Outside of those dates, it’s still the old 23-night maximum. Ontario Parks promises this will be clear when booking.
Rules for backcountry camping and the roofed accommodation haven’t changed.

Day Use Vehicle Permits: Because of this park’s popularity, permits will need to be purchased in advance to guarantee park access. This process was started in 2021 and will be kept for 2023.
If you’re smart, grab the permit before any visit, even mid-week. We found this out the hard way at our local Provincial Park.
You can buy the vehicle permit up to 5 days in advance, guaranteeing access to the park on that day. If you have an annual or season pass, you should still book your permit online, but there’s no extra charge.

Facebook and Website Links

Pancake Bay’s official website
Pancake Bay’s official Facebook
Pancake Bay’s official Twitter

Information

Phone #: (705) 882-2209
Main entrance co-ordinates: Pancake Bay Gatehouse Latitude: 46.969783, Longitude: -84.702083
Address: 12729 Hwy 17N, P0 box 61, Batchwana Bay, P0S 1A0
Opening seasons: May 3, 2022 to October 15, 2024

Activities

Dog Friendly

This is a dog-friendly park with an off-leash and dog-friendly beach area. You can find more information about having dogs at Ontario Parks in our “Dog-Friendly Ontario Provincial Parks” post, which includes a list of parks with specific dog-use facilities.

Camping & Accommodation

Car Camping

Pancake Provincial Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed camping expert or are trying it out for the first time, you can find something that suits your needs. About half of the campsites come with electrical service, and there’s a range of sizes for trailers. The Hilltop Campground offers peace and tranquility free from radios, and each site has its own fireplace and picnic table. Plus, drinking water taps, vault toilets, garbage disposal, comfort stations, a trailer sanitation station, and two laundry facilities are readily available throughout the campgrounds. So don’t forget your tent – because Pancake Provincial Park is where camping comes to life!

Group Camping

Pancake Bay Campground is a great group camping destination! There are five group campsites available, so everyone at your party can be close by. Each site varies in size and can accommodate from 15 to 40 people, so regardless of the size of your group, you’ll have plenty of space. Best yet, camping essentials like water taps and vault toilets are nearby, plus there’s a comfort station within walking distance if you find yourself needing any amenities. And add on a 3.5 km nature trail adjacent to the sites for the full outdoor immersion experience! So gather your friends or family and head over to Pancake Bay for an unforgettable group camping trip!

Radio-Free Camping

The Hilltop Campground is radio-free so you can have a nice relaxing camping trip

more info

for more information on what is offered at the park please click here for more information

Hiking, Biking & Paddling

Hiking

The Pancake Bay Nature Trail – 3.5 km (1-2 hours) easy
The Lookout Trail – 14 km (5-7 hours) moderate for the entire trail – 7 km return (2-3 hours) to the lookout

you can read more information about the two trails on the Ontario park website page for the park click here to see it

Biking

Trails: Cycling is permitted on the 14 km Lookout Trail.


Bicycles are allowed on the 14 km Lookout Trail, known for its rugged backcountry terrain. Hence, it’s crucial to observe safety measures such as wearing a helmet while cycling.

Paddling

Paddle along the stunning shores of Lake Superior, just as the voyageurs once did. Batchawana Bay offers ample space and some shelter, while to the north of the park, the rugged and rocky Lake Superior shoreline serves as a testament to the lake’s mighty force. Preparing for sudden weather changes that may lead to significant swells and waves is important. Remember to always wear your personal flotation device and paddle within your skill level for a safe adventure.

Birding

Nestled in the enchanting transition zone between the Great Lakes and the Boreal Forest, Pancake Bay reveals a rich tapestry of wildlife. Visitors to the campground can delight in the company of Red Squirrels, chipmunks, Red foxes, and an array of avian wonders featuring the majestic Pileated and Downy Woodpeckers. Meanwhile, those venturing along the park’s trails should keep their senses keen for encounters with moose, wolves, Black Bears, and an impressive avian cast, including Bald Eagles, Common Loons, Sandhill Cranes, flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, and a multitude of forest warblers like redstarts. Pancake Bay boasts a remarkable roster of over 200 bird species officially recorded within its boundaries.


Adding to the park’s allure, the wetlands within its confines provide a welcoming habitat for a delightful range of amphibians. Among these, the charming Spring Peepers and Green Frogs will capture the hearts of young wildlife enthusiasts visiting the area.

Maps & Resources

Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas: Most provincial Parks have excellent signage, maps, and marked trails. If you take up back-country adventures, then it’s not always clear. The Ontario Crown Land Use maps are an excellent resource. You might also want to join one or more of these groups on Facebook.
Crown Land Camping Group
Crown Land Camping Ontario
Ontario Parks and Crown Land
Ontario Crown Land Campers
Sharing Ontario Crown Land Camping Spots

Campground and trail maps are available on the official Pancake Bay map webpage

Local Facilities

Barrier Free

All comfort stations offer barrier-free access. Four campsites are also designed for accessibility, and a wheelchair ramp provides access to the beachfront.

Boat Launch(es)

There isn’t a boat launch within the park. To reach Lake Superior, boats must be manually carried into the water or driven to a launch site located 11 km south at the mouth of the Batchawana River. Be cautious, as sudden weather changes are common and can pose hazards.

Comfort Station(s)

Shower and flush toilet-equipped comfort stations are available at the Hilltop, East, and West Campgrounds.

Day Use

At the park’s eastern edge lies a beachfront zone featuring picnic tables, water taps, and vault toilets. Secure your daily vehicle permit up to five days ahead to ensure your day-use reservation at this park. Explore the Ontario Parks Day Use page for further details.

Flush Toilets

Flush toilets can be found in every comfort station.

Laundromat

High-efficiency washing machines and dryers can be found at the comfort stations in both the East and West Campgrounds.

Picnic Shelters

The park’s day-use area hosts a single picnic shelter available for reservation. Booking can be done conveniently either online or via phone.

Rentals

PFDs are accessible from the park, and the park office should have information about how to get them and everything. 

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