Bernard Lake

Scenic view of rippled Bernard Lake at Sunset.


You may have heard of Bernard Lake, also called Lake Bernard. Regardless of what you call it, Bernard Lake is an oddity among Muskoka lakes — located near Burk’s Falls and on the shores of Sundridge. It is one of the larger freshwater lakes without an island. Large, compared to most of Ontario’s thousands of lakes, it is also surprising that Bernard Lake is not connected to any other lake.

Activities on the lake

A large portion of this lake features sandy shores and shallow waters, and the beautifully clear water makes this lake a pleasure to swim in. So grab your swimsuit and jump into the waters of Checkerboard Beach. For the more adventurous sort, grab your snorkel and discover what’s underneath the water’s surface. Or hike up to High Park Lookout and explore the scenic trails or sit at one of the picnic tables and reconnect with family and friends. Many cottagers are known to enjoy a lovely afternoon of cycling as well. Why not try the Bernard Lake Cycle Route, a challenging trek of over 23 kilometres of gravel and paved road around the lake? Or, for the avid golfer, play a round or two of golf at The Ridge Golf Club at Ten Gables, located only minutes away. You will love being challenged by this 9-hole golf course, which offers picturesque views from the green.

Bernard Lake is also known for its fabulous fishing. Boaters will find a full Sundridge Marina on Main Street and public boat launches on High Rock Drive and South Lake Bernard Road. In addition, anglers will appreciate that Bernard Lake has a large and varying population of fish inhabiting the lake. Among the most abundant are: lake trout, whitefish, rainbow smelt, burbot and bass. So, you can see why it makes a fantastic spot to pull out your fishing gear and spend a day on the water. Then, kick back and relax with the sounds of nearby hummingbirds and bluejays while you see what you reel in.

Exploring the area

After a relaxing day on the water or the golf course, take a trip to Burk’s Falls. You will love the warm and inviting atmosphere. Then, in town, head over to the Screaming Heads art display. It is one of the most popular attractions in the area. Or, for some lively family fun, check out Riverbowl & Billiards, where the whole family can dine, bowl or play pool while taking in local live music.

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Official NameBernard Lake
County/DistrictParry Sound
MunicipalityTownship of Strong
Drainage BasinMagnetawan River – Stirling Creek
Latitude/Longitude45.738 N 79.384 W
Physical Features
Surface Area (km)20.50
Elevation (m asl)330
Mean Depth (m)16
Maximum Depth (m)48
Perimeter (km)23
Island Shoreline (km)0
Clarity (m)4.3
Land Use and Development
Crown Land (%)0
Provincial Parksnone
Shoreline Developmentintense; urban, commercial, shoreline residential
Accesspublic; launches at Sundridge, High Rock Drive, South Lake Bernard Road
Water Level Managementregulated; water level is controlled by MNR-owned and operated dam
Fish Species
Major Fish Speciesrainbow trout, brook trout, lake trout, lake whitefish, cisco (lake herring), rainbow smelt, burbot, smallmouth bass, yellow perch

Other Fish Species
trout-perch, white sucker, brown bullhead, bluntnose minnow, golden shiner, lake chub, pumpkinseed, rock bass, slimy sculpin