Dog Days at the Killarney Mountain Lodge and Conference Centre 

My dog is intensely eyeing the cue balls on the pool table in the games room because balls are life. She really shouldn’t be in the games room at all, let alone poising to leap up on the table. But I had to see this retro room for myself while staying at the dog-friendly Killarney Mountain Lodge and Conference Centre in Killarney. The property is minutes from Killarney provincial park and about one hour south of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.  

Killarney Mountain Lodge is dog-friendly in select rooms – the cabins with no walls shared with other rooms and suites numbered 196 and 195. The suites are attached to each other and are dog-friendly if there are dog families on each side. Dogs at Killarney Mountain Lodge are a common sight, so likely the suites are hosting pups almost every week if not every weekend.  

But that’s not the best part. Ok, maybe dog-friendly is the best part, in my opinion. However, a close second is the following: this place has all the modern creature comforts and service of contemporary lodges but the old-school philosophies of the traditional family vacation – reconnecting. And this means disconnecting from screens.  

There are no TVs in each room or suite, but there is one communal one in the main lodge if you can’t go without. There is no WIFI connection in the rooms or suites but there is in the main building and restaurants if, again, you really can’t go without. But the idea is to go without.  

What is there to do at Killarney Mountain Lodge and Conference Centre? 

  • Hiking along nearby trails, particularly to the lighthouse 
  • Outdoor heated pool and indoor air sauna 
  • Mountain bike rentals 
  • Kayaking and canoeing – with the dog if your dog sits still 
  • Water bikes (new) 
  • Charted boat tours along Georgian Bay 
  • Dining in the lodge restaurant, Ranch House, Curds and Whey Bakery, or outdoor patio 
  • Arranged wine tasting events in the round lounge bar 
  • Games room activities including board games, shuffleboard, pool, and ping pong.  

Can you take your dog to Killarney Mountain Lodge? 

You bet you can take your dog to Killarney Mountain Lodge and Conference Centre, and many people do. There are several hiking trails around the property, including many in the nearby Killarney Provincial Park. Plus, lots of shoreline walking and sniffing over the characteristic boulders that jut out from the landscape in and around Sudbury, and across the bridge to the small town of Killarney, population approximately 5,000. 

If you’re up for a hike along the Light House Trail, it’s an adventure for a dog willing to walk safely on leash. Mine isn’t, but that didn’t stop me from heading through the trails and up and over the massive rocks that dominate the Canadian Shield region we’re in. 

Don’t try the Lighthouse trail during wet weather, because the rocks are slippery at the best of times but the views of the lake are worth the struggle – a region that inspired Group of Seven painters. Getting all the way to the lighthouse, still a working lighthouse in the channel, is a worthy goal. 

Then walk the easy way along the road all the way back to the lodge. Note that if you want to bypass the trail altogether, it is possible to walk and even drive along a flat gravel road to the lighthouse and back. 

Doggie Sitting Services and Sportsman Inn 

And, if you want to partake in any of the not dog-friendly activities (or dog-unfriendly activities), front desk staff will babysit your dog for you.  

Yes, I tested this service dog sitting while trying to sneak my pup into a wine-tasting event on the patio. Unfortunately, no dogs past the front desk in the main lodge, but yes, a staff member looked after her for me for about 30 minutes while I was in the bar. According to manager Kelly McAree, dog-sitting is one of the services the Killarney Mountain Lodge provides.  

Nearby Sportsman Inn Resort & Marina, a sister property to Killarney Mountain Lodge is also dog-friendly for those who want to stay along the water. Or the outdoor patio along the North Channel of Georgian Bay accommodates pups under umbrellas over red patio tables. The Sportsman Inn patio is a good place for a healthy veggie wrap or fish and chips, maritime style.  

Killarney Mountain Lodge History  

  • Began as a hunting lodge in the 1940s 
  • Reopened as a family resort in the 1960s 
  • Bought by Holden and Carey Rhodes in 2015 
  • A 42-million-dollar building investment added the double-level hotel-style rooms and the Canada Lodge Log Cabin Conference Lodge, the largest of its kind in Canada 
  • The world’s largest canoe paddle  

Yes, the world’s largest canoe paddle has a home beside the Canada Log Cabin Conference Centre facing the lake. Other than earning the lodge Guinness World Book of Records bragging rights, it does little else except add one more photo to the collection of the area’s biggest things – starting with the Big Nickel in nearby Sudbury, Ontario.  

Our Killarney Mountain Lodge stay was a prequel to our dog-friendly Sudbury, Ontario experience. Check out my Sudbury experience here with my previous dog, Victor, and I’ve updated this dog-friendly Sudbury guide by adding all the adventures I had with my new puppy, Victoria, named in Victor’s honour.  

Dog-friendly Killarney, Ontario at a glance…. 

The Killarney Mountain Lodge and Conference Centre, 3 Commissioners Street, Killarney, Ontario. Rooms range from hotel rooms with two beds and a couch, to two-bedroom suites with living room, to private small and large cabins. Consequently, prices per night range significantly depending on accommodation and season. Note that only individual cabins and suites are dog friendly. Pets are not permitted in rooms that share walls. 

The Sportsman Inn Resort & Marina, 37 Channel Street, Killarney, Ontario. Rooms range from economical motel rooms to entire chateaux. Pets are permitted in cabins for a fee of $25 per night per dog. 

Killarney Provincial Park, 960 Highway #637, Killarney, Ontario. This provincial park is 645 square kilometers of wilderness along the Georgian Bay coast. The area inspired the work of Group of Seven painters and is a popular canoeing and kayaking region. Killarney Provincial Park is a dark sky preserve, and it has 183 campsites along with a small dog beach, where dogs are allowed to frolic off-leash. 

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Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.

If you’re thinking about taking your dog on a boat tour, kayaking, or canoeing, keeping a life jacket on them is a good idea even if they are strong swimmers. A handle makes is a lot easier to grab them if they do fall or jump overboard:

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