Backpacking in Toronto's Surrounding Regions
Backpacking There are number of backpacking trails within a short distance of Toronto and with some that can be accessed directly from the Toronto Region.
Bruce Trail - This is Ontario's premier hiking and backpacking trail extending almost 800km in length. You can access it from a number of areas in the Toronto region. The trail starts in the south near the falls at Niagara and heads north to the Bruce Peninsula, terminating in the beautiful little town of Tobermory. There are dozens of campsites on route and a wide variety of access points allowing you to customize your trip to match your fitness level or time schedule. .  
  Ganaraska Trail The trail starts on the shores of Lake Ontario at Port Hope, less than an hour from Toronto. From there it wends its way north before veering to the west above Lake Simcoe and passed Barrie on the way to Wasaga Beach on the shores of Georgian Bay. The section above Moore Falls north of Port Hope is considered the most difficult and only suitable for seasoned hikers. Once the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail is complete you will be able to combine it with the Bruce and the Ganaraska creating a long distance extended loop.
NOTE: The Toronto Region is very much an urban setting but don't dismiss the backpacking opportunities in the area. The Bruce Trail is a world class hike as is the Ganaraska, which has areas which will severely tax even expert hikers. Still don't believe us, then take a trip up north to the Voyageur Trail which rivals the West Coast Trail in sections, in both its beauty and difficulty.
  • Ganaraska Trail - Description - The Pine Ridge section starts at the cairn opposite the Town hall in Port Hope, beside the Ganaraska River and within sight of Lake Ontario. The wilderness section above this starts in Moore Falls, where highway 35 meets the Black Lake Cottage road. The Peterborough section is almost entirely in Victoria County. The Orillia section starts in Sadowa and ends after 68 kilometers at the Sugarbush Estate, south of Horseshoe Valley Road, about 10 km east of highway 400. This section of the trail is mostly flat and suitable for novices. The Mad River section is named after the Mad River, which it parallels for some distance. It has a length of 55 kilometers and ends at the end-of-trail cairn. The Midland section splits off from the main trail in the Copeland Forest, about three kilometers east of Craighurst. It swings through Copeland Forest and then heads north toward Midland along country paths and forests. The Wasaga section of the trail winds through the sand hills of beautiful Wasaga Beach Provincial Park . Map From the Ganaraska Trail Association *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*
  • Oak Ridges Moraine Trail - A Work in Progress - The completed sections include Uxbridge, King, and Scugog and the association is working to develop the Aurora, Caledon, Whitchurch and Ganaraska areas. Why not give them a hand, go to their website to see how you can help. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*
  • The Waterfront Trail - Not a wilderness and some might say not a backpacking trail at all. This most interesting of trails, travels a distance of 350km from Stoney Creek on the western shore of Lake Ontario to Quinte West in the east (sounds funny doesn't it). There are ample campgrounds along route in Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks. One big advantage to being close to (it runs right through the city of Toronto) urban areas is the reduced need to carry a lot of food. Don't think this is a concrete foot path, it passes through some of the nicest natural settings on Lake Ontario's north shore. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*

  • The following are several hours to a day from Toronto

  • Voyageur Trail - This is a very ambitious project which takes advantage of a number of the trails already in place. Traveling along the shores of Lake Superior, the North Channel of Georgian Bay then through the rugged beauty of Manitoulin island, this will be a spectacular and very difficult trail when it's completed. For the truly ambitious, you can connect to the Bruce Trail by using the South Bay to Tobermory ferry to continue hiking down to Niagara Falls. The trail will run from South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island to Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario a total of 1,100km. To date, over 600km have been completed including established sections in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park along the spectacular north shore of Superior. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*
  • La Cloche SilhouetteTrial - Out-There's Killarney Provincial Park - Located in Killarney Provincial Park, the La Cloche Silhouette loop is a seven to ten day hike approximately 100 km in length. The trail takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ontario. It includes forested sections, as well as ridge hiking along the La Cloche Mountains. Many of the camp sites along the way are located lakeside and are shared by canoeists. This is a tough backpack and you should be in shape if you intend to complete the whole thing. A trail map can be purchased from the Friends of Killarney Park. *For more information contact the Friends or Killarney Provincial Park through their web site.*
  • Abes and Essen Trail - The trail consists of three overlapping loops. The loops from shortest to longest take about 1.5, 4 and 7hrs to complete and provide a great weekend getaway or a single overnight trip. There is an excellent lookout above Essen Lake providing a nice panoramic view. All of the campsites are lake side, a pleasant setting for a weary backpacker which of course also offers the possiblity of a refreshing swim. *For more information contact Bon Echo Provincial Park or the Friends of Bon Echo through their web site.
  • Western Uplands Trail - Out-There's Algonquin - Intermediate-Expert, Multiple Loops. Access is off Hwy 60 near the west gate but you can also access it from the other end off of route 11, through Kearney. This is an excellent backpacking area which is often over shadowed by the parks canoe reputation. There are over 100km (includes loop sections) of trail with dozens of campsites along route, many or which are lakeside. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*
  • Highland Backpacking Trail - Out-There's Algonquin - Intermediate, Loop. Located in the center of the park's main corridor off highway 60. The trail consists of two loops with a total length of about 33km. The shorter most accessible loop circles Provoking Lake. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*
  • Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail - Out-There's Algonquin - Novice, Intermediate - A set of loops located in the parks eastern section, outside of the main corridor its accessible from Hwy 17. This is a great place to bring novices since the trail provides camping not far from the trail head. There are other options that are more challenging for the more experienced. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*
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