Hiking in Central Ontario North
 
Hiking: Both the Ganaraska Trail and the Bruce Trail wind their way through Central Ontario North. While both trails are amongst Ontario's finest long distance trails, they are also easily accessible from dozens of points along their lengths. This makes them excellent candidates for short walks or day hikes. In addition both trails have a number of interesting spurs that can be explored. These often take you to lookoffs and areas of natural significance. .  
 
 

 

Aside from the Bruce and Ganaraska the area has dozens of shorter trails scattered throughout the region. Many of the provincial parks and conservation areas have well maintained trail systems with a variety of topography and features. Algonquin in particular has over sixteen trails along its main corridor. Each of these has it's own guide book which outlines what to expect and what to look for. The corridor trails all have parking nearby making access particularly simple.

 

Algonquin Provincial Park

Booth's Rock Trail - Intermediate, Loop. The Booth's Rock Trail is 5.1km long starting at rock lake and looping back in a rough triangle.

Centennial Ridges Trail - Intermediate or Better, Loop. Centennial Ridges Trail is about 10km long starting at coon lake.

Brent Crater Trail - Novice, Loop. While only 2km long the trail leads to a 3km wide meteorite crater. Just off Brent road.

Hardwood Lookout Trail - Novice, Two Loops. Easy hike of less than a km through a beautiful deciduous forest. Off hwy 60 opposite smoke lake.

Whiskey Rapids Trail - Novice, Loop A relatively easy hike with access from hwy 60 about 7km from the western entrance.

Spruce Bog Boardwalk - Novice, Loop An easy walk through an interesting bog area which wouldn't be accessible without the boardwalk.

Hemlock Bluff Trail - Novice, Loop The trail is 3.5km starting from hwy 60 and looping up to Jack Lake.

Track and Tower Trail - Intermediate Towards the center of the park off hwy 60 the trail has a looped (about 7km)section or a longer section (about 10km) leading to Mew Lake Campground

Berm Lake Trail - Novice, Loop This is a nice trail looping around Berm Lake and starting just off Achray Road

Bat Lake Trail - Novice, Loop Some climbing is required to the lookout on this 5k loop leaving from hwy 60.

Barron Canyon - Novice, Loop Far from the main corridor access from hwy 17 this is an easy walk leading to a spectacular vista over looking the Barron River

Beaver Pond Trail - Novice, Loop This a nice walk for nature buffs with the work of the beavers being easily observed.

Mizzy Lake Trail - Intermediate, Loop This is a 13km loop through mixed terrain and touching on a number of lakes. The trail is just off highway 60.

Peck Lake Trail - Novice, Loop An easy loop off hwy 60 following the edge of he lake.

Two Rivers Trail - Novice, Loop A short trail off hwy 60 with some climbing to provide a nice view of the Madawaska.

Lookout Trail - Novice, Loop Only 1.9 km but provides a nice view of the surrounding country side, off hwy 60.



Awenda Provincial Park
- Simcoe County

Beach Trail

Linear, 2km one way, easy. This is a a shared use trail, cycling is permitted. From the western most parking lot you can pick up the trail which will take you from second beach, to third and then across the small peninsula below the bluffs to fourth beach. Essentially a beach walk as the name implies, the trial can be completed in about an hour. There is restricted access for canines.

Beaver Pond Trail

Loop, 1km return, easy. Accessed from the western most parking lot, this is essentially a nature trail which passes several areas of beaver activity. You can increase your chances of seeing wildlife by taking the trail in the early morning or evening. If you choose to go in the evening give your self plenty of time to return before you loose the light and remember to always carry a flash light. Much of the trails length is a board walk. Wheelchair access.

Bluff Trail

Loop, 14km. This is the parks longest trail. You can access it from the parking lot across from the Bear Campground, or directly from the Deer Campground, or from several other intersecting trails such as the Nipissing. It takes its name from the section of the Nipissing Bluff which it follows. You'll find great views of Georgian Bay from the bluff. This is a mixed use trail, bicycles are permitted.

Nipissing Trail

Linear, 0.5km with a 32m elevation change (in the form of a staircase), easy-moderate. The trail is accessed from the western most parking lot. It climbs from here, up to the bluffs trail which allows for some great views of the Bay. Cycling is not permitted.

Brule Trail

Linear, 2km, easy. The trail heads through the forest where you can connect up to the Dunes Trail or keep on going to the parking lot across from the Bear Campground. You have the option of continuing your hike along the Bluffs Trail. The trial takes about 1 hour if you do an out and back. This is a mixed use trail and bicycles are permitted.

Dunes Trail

Loop, 3km, easy. The trail begins and ends at the additional day visitors parking. The trail follows through an interesting sandy area with diverse plant life, a good area for nature study. The area is fragile so please keep to the trail. This area contrasts with the surrounding hardwood forest. Cycling is not permitted.

Wendat Trail

Loop, 5km, easy. The trail wraps around Kettle Lake following closely on sections of the shore. A good area for wildlife viewing, if tread softly and you might just see a great blue heron. The trail takes about 1.5-2hrs to complete. Cycling is not permitted.

 

Bass Lake Provincial Park - Simcoe County

Waterview Trail - Bass Lake Provincial Park, Simcoe County

Loop, 3km, easy. The loop follows the shoreline in the park then loops back through the center of the park. There are several access points in the park.

 

Bruce Peninsula National Park - Bruce Peninsula, Bruce County

Cyprus Lake Trail

This is an easy and nice, easy, 5km hike that loops around the lake. The trail is accessible from the Head of Trails in the George Lake area not far from the campground.


The Horse Lake Trail

A very easy 1km to the bay along the shore of Horse Lake. The trail is accessible from the Head of Trails in the George Lake area.


The Georgian Bay - Marr Lake Trail

The trail reaches out to the bay then loops back to the head of trails. As the name implies, the trail passes by Marr Lake. The trail is accessible from the Head of Trails in the George Lake area.

Singing Sands

The trail is a self guided nature walk of 1.5km. This is an area with a very interesting ecological history and is well know for its orchids. The trail is on the west side of the Peninsula in a separate isolated section of the park across the highway from the George Lake area.


Halfway Log Dump

The trial is accessible from Emmett Lake via the gated road. This 3km hike will take you to one of the most spectacular areas of the Escarpment within the park.


On Flowerpot Island

On the Island you'll find the Loop Trail which passes the flowerpot sea stacks and allows access to the light house. There's also an out-and-back in the form of the Marl Trail which takes you to the western side of the island. The Island is located off the tip of the peninsula from Tobermory and is accessible by boat.

 

Earl Rowe Provincial Park - Simcoe County

Rainbow Run

Loop, 11km, easy. A multi-use trail which weaves in and out throughout the different park sections. The trail allows just about every area in the park to be accessible without the use of a car. You'll find access points throughout the park.

Resource Trail

Loop, 1.5km, easy. A short hike or bike through an area of forest and wetlands.

Little Trail

Loop, 0.5km, easy. Short loop along side the reservoir in the south of the park.

Lookout Trail

Loop, 4km, intermediate. The trail is located at the north of the park above the Boyne Meadon campground. It provides a steady climb to a lookout, which over looks the park. It accessible from the Rainbow Run Trail

The Fletcher's Pond Trail

A multi-use trail with a paved surface running from the Dam to the pool.

 

Georgian Bay Islands National Park

Cambrian Trail

2km, Easy. A short walk through classic Canadian Shield the trail is a loop off of the Fairy Trail in the north of Beausoleil Island. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Fairy Trail

2.5km Easy - Intermediate. A winding trail through coulees and hills on the shores of Goblin and Fairy Lakes. It can be reached from the Rockview Trail in the north of the Beausoleil Island. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Rockview Trail

1.5km, Easy. A short trail overlooking Long Bay it connects the Fairy and Dossyonshing Trails to the Huron in the north of Beausoleil Island. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Dossyonshing Trail

2.5km, Easy. A rather beautiful area that contrasts marshes and ponds with hardwood forest. This is an easy walk. The trail can be reached from the Huron via the Rockview Trail in the north end of Beausoleil Island. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Massasauga Trail

2km, Easy. The trail gets its name from the endangered Massasauga Rattlesnake which along with other reptiles and amphibians take shelter in this area. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Portage Trail

0.3km, Easy. The trail gets its name from its use by the the first nations peoples and early settlers.The trail goes through a wetlands area. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Huron Trail

8.km, Intermediate, Mixed Use. The trail moves through the transition zone between the lowlands and the Canadian Shield country. It stretches along the eastern side of the big island and connects with several other trails and provides access to a number of the backcountry campsites. This is a good trail for bird watchers. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Georgain Trail

5km, Intermediate. A shoreline trail along the west side of Beausoliel Island that takes you over stone and sandy beaches as well as the outcroppings of the shield. The trail connects to the Huron at the southern tip and northern section of the island. It can also be reached from the Christian Trail. A nice choice on a sunny afternoon. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Treasure Trail

3.8km, Easy. The name comes for local lore of treasure buried in the area. The trail follows a ridge out to Treasure Bay. The trail can be reached in the south from Cedar Springs campground on Beausoleil Island. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Firetower Trail

1.3km, Easy-Intermediate. This trail is a must do, after some climbing you are rewarded with an excellent view of Papoose Bay. The trail can be reached halfway along the Christian Trail. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.


Christian

1.5km, Easy-Intermediate. The trail bisects the lower part of Beausoleil Island. connecting Cedar Springs campground to the group camping area at Christian Beach on the west coast. Access to the park is only by water, water taxis are available at Honey Harbour.

 

Hardy Lake Provincial Park - Muskoka

Hardy Lake Trails

8km, intermediate. The trail provides access to both Lake Muskoka and Hardy Lake. The area is is known for unusual fauna not normally found in this region. The scenery makes the hike well worth the effort. There is also a shorter 3km hike in the park. From Gravenhurst follow the 169 towards Bala, the park is located about 1km passed Walkers Point Road just before Torrance The park has no facilities.

 

MacGregor Point Provincial Park - Bruce County

Old Shore Road Trail

6km, linear, easy. This is the parks multi-use access trail stretching the length of the waterfront. The trail provides connections to most of the parks features including several wetland areas.

Nippissing Bluffs

Loops, easy-moderate. The trial consists of two connected loops of 1.6km (the easier of the two) and 3.0km. You'll pass through areas of hardwood as well as wetlands. The trail is effectively a cross country ski trail and isn't really maintained for hiking. Consult with the park staff before setting out.

Ducks Unlimited Trail

Loop, easy, 7km. This multi-use trail borders a wetland which provides ample opportunity to spot wildlife. From the observation tower, watch for Teal, Black Ducks, Mallards, Wood Ducks and of course Canadian Geese. Access is at the western end of the park road. Cyclists are required to walk their bikes on the boardwalk sections.

Lake Ridge Trail

Loop, moderate, 4km. The trail loops through the parks interior providing some of the most interesting hiking in the park. Beavers are active and remnants of a corduroy logging road are a few of the things to watch for.

Huron Fringe Trail

Loop, easy, 1.2km. Looping around the visitors center this interpretive trial has story boards and is wheel chair accessible.

 

Sauble Falls Provincial Park - Bruce County

Sauble Trail

2.5km, easy, loop. The trail takes you through dunes and mixed forest and brings you to a splendid lookout over the Sauble River. You'll find elements of the areas logging past and the plantations that came later to stabilize the dunes. The trail can be accessed from the far end of the East Campground.

 

Six Mile Lake Provincial Park - Bruce County

Cambrian Trail

1.5km, easy, linear. The trial is effectively a park trail connecting all the areas of the park. There are several marshy areas along route and a guide is available.

 

Wasaga Beach Provincial Park - Simcoe County

Blueberry Plains Trails

Loops, easy - moderate, 30km total. The trail system works it's way through the dunes area of the park, across the river south of the beaches. Used for cross country skiing in the winter the trails are a series of loops of varying difficulties. The Monument Hill (4.5km) and the High Dunes Trail (5.8km) are the most strenuous. The High Dunes Trail provides a nice lookout from the top of the dunes. For something easy the Blueberry Plains Trail (4.0km) is a good bet. The area's habitat is unique and very fragile, so keep to the trail at all times. Watch for white tailed deer. snowshoe hares and wild turkeys. Access to the trailhead is off of River Road West at Glenwood Drive where you head south along Blueberry Trail Access Road. There is parking and a heated shelter in the winter for skiers.

 

Regional Trails

Avery Park Trail - Huntsville, Muskoka

1km, easy, linear. The trail follows the shore of Hunters Bay which lies between Lake Vernon and Fairy Lake. The trail is part of the Trans-Canada Trail. From Hwy. 60 follow Main Street through town and then on a short distance to Yonge Street, where you take a right which brings you to the trail. This is a mult-use trail.

Bondi Village Resort Trails - Dwight/Lake of Bays, Muskoka

8km, easy, loops. The trials, which meander through rolling terrain are a part of the cross country trails at the resort . The is a fee charged for trail usage. From Highway 60 follow Highway 35 east of Dwight to Muskoka Road 21 and the resort.

Bracebridge Bay Trail - Bracebridge, Muskoka

1.5km, loop, easy. The trial provides some good over looks of this beautiful area, including the falls and the Muskoka River. Access is from the the Visitors Center at the northern end of Manitoba Street in Bracebridge.

Bracebridge Resource Management Centre - Bracebridge area, Muskoka

8-10km, easy, linear. There are several trails to choose from which following beside the Muskoka River, along marshes, open areas and into the forest. Access is from east side of Hwy. 11 approximately 2.5km to the north of the High Falls Bridge.

Brydon's Bay Trail - Gravenhurst area, Muskoka

2.3km, easy, loop. From the Old Portage Road the trail follows the point out into Brydon's Bay through pine and mixed forest. From Gravenhurst drive along Muskoka Beach Road then turn to the left on Brydon's Bay Road. A few kilometres further along turn left again on Old Portage Road.

Chamberlain Trail - Gravenhurst, Muskoka

3km, easy, loop. Moving through a range of forested areas, this a particularly nice trail in fall when the leaves are changing. The trail can be accessed at the intersection of Chamberlain Road and Muskoka Road. This is a multi-use trail.

Devil's Gap Trail - Gravenhurst area, Muskoka

40km, easy-moderate, linear. This is an historic trail which can be taken as an easy out and back or an extended backpack. The trail follows the Colonization Trail from Gravenhurst to Bala. This is one of Muskoka's most beautiful trails and provides the opportunity to observer a wealth of wildlife particularly in the very early hours of the morning. Follow Hwy 169 approximately 7.0km west of Gravenhurst to Snider's Bay Road where you'll take a left. Keep going to Muriel Crescent where you'll find the entrance on the right.

Eugenia Falls Trail - Eugenia Falls Conservation Area, Grey Sauble, Grey County

1km, easy, loop. The trail takes you through the forested conservation area to where the Beaver River crosses the escarpment. The falls measure 30m from the top to the gorge below. From Hwy. 10 pick up the 4 at Flesherton and head east to the 13. Follow the 13 north to the outskirts of the Town of Eugenia where you'll find the conservation area. The conservation area provides access to the Bruce Trail.

Feversham Gorge Trail - Madeleine Greydon Memorial Conservation Area, Grey Sauble, Grey County

1.5km, intermediate, loop. The trail leads you from the parking lot down into the gorge and the edge of the Beaver River. There are stairways to ease the way and lookouts to allow you to appreciate the view. The Gorge walls climb around you to a height of over 24m. From Hwy. 10 pick up the 4 at Flesherton and head east to Grey Country Road 2, where you'll head north towards the town of Feversham. The conservation area is just before the town on your right.

Inglis Falls Trail - Inglis Falls Conservation Area, Grey Sauble, Grey County

7.5km, intermediate, loops. The falls and gorge are readily accessible from the parking lot. The trails, which include a section of the Bruce Trail, form loops which follow the escarpment and the Syndenham River, with the exception of the linear section, which joins the conservation area to Owen Sounds beautiful Harrison Park. From Owen Sound, follow Second Avenue East south from 10th Street to the split, where you'll pick up Inglis Falls Road. The conservation area provides access to the Bruce Trail.

Kingfisher & Sugar Maple Trails - Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Simcoe, Simcoe County

The trails run off a loop which is accessible from several points including the Nature Center and at the reservoir beside the beach . The trial is essentially a park trail, which provides you with a good over view of the area and its varied habitat consisting of valleys, streams forests and field. From Highway 400, exit on the 88 and head east to Brandford. Follow the 4 north at Bradford for about 4km to Concession 9, where you head east again to the conservation area.

Kolapor Uplands Trails - Kolapore Uplands, Grey County

60km, intermediate, loops. A huge area of cross country ski trails open to hikers in the summer (maybe that should read the other way around). Note: This is a very large tract of forested land and you can get lost in the area be prepared (clothing, food, water and tools) and make sure you're back at the parking lot well before dusk and don't ride alone. The trail access is located off of Grey Road 2 about 6km south of Ravenna. Maps can be purchased from the Ravenna General Store. These are multi-use trails.

Memorial Park Trail - Huntsville, Muskoka

1.2km, moderate, loop. The trail follows beside the Muskoka River, before climbing up to a sports field, then heading back through a forested section. Parking is available at the Centennial Centre south of Main Street and just up from the railway station. From the parking area the trail is down the hill toward the water.

Muskoka Tourism Information Centre Trail - Gravenhurst area, Muskoka

6km, easy, loops. An example of the areas' barrens, these trials also have historical significance and provide a good way to introduce yourself to the regions past. Inquire with the Information Centre regarding the trials' history. The trial head is located on Hwy. 11 just south of Gravenhurst at the Tourism Centre.

Old Stone Road Trail - Gavenhurst area, Muskoka

6km, linear, easy-moderate. This historic trail was used in the spring, since it alone was a passable connection between Gravenhurst and Bala. While the ground is mostly shield, the surroundings are nicely forested. From Bay Street in Gravenhurst follow the 169 a short distance to Borth Muldrew Lake Road, which you'll see on your left. Follow Muldrew and watch for the signs and the the trail on your right. This is a multi-use trail.

Spirit Rock Trail - Spirit Rock Conservation Area, Saugeen, Bruce County

2km, easy, loops. The area is know for it's ruins, it's Indian legends and its excellent viewpoint on Colpoy's Bay. There are two short loops which will take you to the ruins of the McNeill Estate while a section of the Bruce Trail takes you to the short spur that leads to the Spirit Rock Lookout. A spiral stair case takes you down the escarpment to the Georgian Bay shoreline. The Conservation Area is just north of Wiarton on the east side of Route 6 at the base of the peninsula. The Conservation Area provides access to the Bruce Trail.

Saugeen Bluffs Trail - Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area, Saugeen, Bruce County

2.5km, easy-intermediate, loop. The trail takes you through a forested area to an excellent viewpoint over the Saugeen River. From Hwy. 9 follow Bruce Road 3 through Paisley to he conservation area which is about 5km north of the town.

Stoney Island Trails - Stoney Island Conservation Area, Saugeen, Grey County

8km, intermediate, loops. The trial system is a set of interconnecting loops within a mixed forest along the shores of Lake Huron. Follow Hwy. 9 northwest to Kincardine then take Country Road 23 north a short distance to the Conservation Area. The trails are multi-use.

Strawberry Point Trail - Bracebridge, Muskoka

2.0km, easy-moderate, linear. The trail leads through mixed forest with a variety of hardwoods including maple, which makes this a spectacular hike when the leaves are at their peak colour. The trial leads to an excellent viewpoint on Lake Muskoka. There is one fairly steep section on route. Access is from Kerr Park off Beaumont Drive. This is a multi-use trail.

Torrance Barrens Trails - Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve, Muskoka

2.5, 3.5 & 2.5km, easy, intermediate. The Conservation Reserve has been designated as one of the worlds first Dark Sky Preserves. If you've ever seen the night sky form an area which doesn't suffer from light pollution, then you'll know just how spectacular the real sky is. The barrens is such an area and this designation should help maintain this exceptional area for future generations. During the day you'll be surprised at the landscape of the barrens, which some describe as lunar like. Aside from the bedrock and stunted trees you'll find wetlands and areas of peat. To access the Barrens follow Hwy. 169 towards Bala from Gravenhurst to just passed Torrance, where you pick up District Road 13. Continue until you see the sign and the parking area.

Trans-Canada Trail Bracebridge Section - Bracebridge, Muskoka

26km, linear, easy-moderate. The trail follows through a variety of woods, fields, country lanes with some hilly sections. It passes by many of the areas natural attractions such as High Falls and Wilson Falls. As of this writing most of the Bracebridge section of the trail was complete. There are access points in several areas including Kerr Park on Beaumont Drive west of Wellington Street. Another option is from Highway 11 where you take Taylor Road West to Cedar Lane. You can also reach the trial from Macauley School (the trial starts at the back of the school) or at High Falls. This is a multi-use trail.

Wilson's Falls Trails - Bracebridge area, Muskoka

2.5 or 7.5km, linear, easy. The trail meanders through through a nicely forested area with a a section following the muskoka river. A very nice hike which is punctuated by the view of the falls at the end. There are several access points. From Hwy 11 take Taylor Road West, then head north on Pine Street to Rodgers Road. Another alternative is to from Hwy 11 take Taylor Road West to Cedar Lane and Macauley School. The trial starts at the back of the school.

Wye Marsh - Wye Marsh Conservation Area (Ramsar Site)

There are a series of easy loop trails which interconnect throughout the center. The trails take you through the wetlands, woodlands and around the ponds to observe the wildlife. There are observation blinds as well as towers on route. Birders will find this to be an excellent area, easily accessible from major urban centers allowing you to visit again and again. From the 400 north of Barrie take exit 121 and follow Hwy. 93 north passed Wyebridge to Hwy. 12. Follow the 12 east and watch for the sign.

 
 

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