Hike Ontario Fact Sheet 6
BEST BACKPACKING IN PROVINCIAL PARKS
Ontario's provincial parks offer a wide variety of walking experiences, from short interpretive walks to long-distance backpacking hikes in the wilderness. The following is a list of the parks with the most extensive trail systems; these parks will also be good for day hikes and shorter walks. A canoe will give the hiker access to many interior trails as well. Contact the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Parks or the individual Parks for maps, guides and brochures as well as information regarding designated camping sites and reservations.
Call Ontario Parks and request a copy of their Parks Guide. This booklet will give you very complete information on Ontario's provincial parks.
We also recommend the book Ontario Provincial Parks Trail Guide, by Allen MacPherson, published by Boston Mills Press in 2000. The ISBN is 1-55046-290-3. Check with your favourite book dealer.
Fact sheet #7 lists several parks that have excellent day hike trails. And finally, check the Hike Ontario website, www.hikeontario.com, for useful links and additional fact sheets.
ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK
The park offers long-distance backpacking trails in the interior and many short interpretative loop trails, 14 in all, both easily accessible from Hwy 60 which runs through the park. The Highland Hiking Trail extends from the highway to Head, Harness and Mosquito Lakes, with the return trip totalling 35 km. The "shortcut" trail starts circles Provoking Lake ( total 19 km). The Western Uplands Hiking Trail allows backpackers to explore the rugged hills of Algonquin's west side through three loops with round-trip lengths of 32 km, 55 km and 77 km. The trail begins at the Oxtongue River Picnic Grounds, at Kilometre 3 on Highway 60, and is also accessible via the Rain Lake Access Point. Experienced hikers will have little difficulty covering the 32 km loop in three days. Backpacking Trails of Algonquin Provincial Park map provides further information on trails.Algonquin Provincial Park.
Whitney, ON. K0J 2M0
(705) 633-5572 or (613) 637-2828.
BON ECHO PROVINCIAL PARK
The park, 30 km north of Kaladar on Hwy 41 in eastern Ontario, is dominated by the dramatic outcrop of Mazinaw Rock and has over 2000 pictographs. There is altogether over 60 km of rugged trail, including the Abes and Essens Lakes Trail System which consist of three interconnected loops - a short 4 km loop, a 9 km loop, and a 17 km loop. The trails pass scenic lakes and the back-country camping sites are especially attractive in fall. Guided hikes are offered on Saturdays.Bon Echo Provincial Park
R. R. 1, Cloyne, ON. K0H 1K0
FRONTENAC PROVINCIAL PARK
The park lies in a transition zone of the Canadian Shield in eastern Ontario, 35 km north of Kingston. It is a hiker's paradise with over 160 km of hiking trails to explore lakes, cliffs, swamps, rock outcrops, bogs, forests and beaver ponds on trails ranging from 1.5 km to 21 km. The park offers opportunities for both day hikes and wilderness backpackers, but campsites are available only in the interior. The Rideau Trail traverses this park.Frontenac Provincial Park
P. O. Box 11, 1090 Salmon Lake Rd.
Sydenham, ON. K0H 2T0
HALFWAY LAKE PROVINCIAL PARK
The park is located 90 km northwest of Sudbury and offers hikers the pure beauty of the boreal forest, the silence of spruce-scented glens and the solitude of unchanged lakes. The four trails are the easy Moose Ridge Trail (4 km), the medium length trails - Osprey Heights (7 km) and Echo Pond (10 km) - and the demanding Hawk Ridge Trail (30 km) leading into the back country.Halfway Lake Provincial Park,
c/o 199 Larch Street, Suite 404
Sudbury, ON. P3E 5P9
(705) 965-2702 and (705) 564-3161 October-April
KILLARNEY PROVINCIAL PARK
The park, on the north shore of Georgian Bay, 100 km southwest of Sudbury, offers the 100 km loop on the La Cloche Silhouette Trail, which features a variety of terrain, including centuries-old hemlock forest, beaver meadows, crystal-clear lakes and extremely rugged terrain. The trail's main attraction is Silver Peak, towering 370 m (1,214') above Georgian Bay and offering spectacular views on a clear day. The whole trail may be covered in seven to ten days; hikers must be self- sufficient for the duration of the trip. Hikers are required to obtain a permit and register their route with park Staff. Ridge walking is also a popular activity because of the open nature of the terrain, but should only be attempted by experienced hikers. Killarney has provided inspiration to many artists, including the Group of Seven's A.Y. Jackson.Killarney Provincial Park,
Killarney, ON. P0M 2A0
LAKE SUPERIOR PROVINCIAL PARK
The park's trails include the 55-km Coastal Trail along the eastern shore of
Lake Superior, 20 km south of Wawa. Over 125 km of trails allows the wilderness hiker
the opportunity to explore both the rugged interior and the coastline which once
attracted members of the Group of Seven. Currently, hikers can choose from short
interpretative two hour walks to six day backpacking trips. Fees for overnight
camping (available until late October) can be paid at several self-serve
registration points. Coastal trail details are also contained in the Voyageur
Trail Guidebook (Voyageur Trail Association - see Hike Ontario's club
Lake Superior Provincial Park
MASSASAUGA PROVINCIAL PARK
Just south of Parry Sound, on the west of Hwy 69, is The Massasauga Provincial Park which includes the aptly named Spider Lake, several other lakes and a generous section of the 30,000 islands and Georgian Bay coastline. One area at the northern arm of the park includes a 30- km hiking/orienteering trail (unblazed - you follow your compass) with ten campsites on the various adjacent lakes. At the south end of the park are two short trails near Blackstone Harbour (at the end of Healey Lake Road): the six-km historic Baker Trail and the 1.5-km Wreck Island Trail. Winter park headquarters is shared with Oastler Lake. Water access only.The Massasauga Provincial Park
RR#2 Parry Sound P2A 2W8
SLEEPING GIANT PROVINCIAL PARK
The park, on the Sibley Peninsula east of Thunder Bay, has over 64 km of trails available for day use or overnight camping. The Kabeyun trail is 40 km in length and provides hikers with breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the 244 m cliffs of the Sleeping Giant. Other trails are the Burma Trail (10 km), Two Pine Lake and Talis Lake trails (5 km) and the Sawyer Bay Trail (6.5 km).Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Pass Lake, ON. P0T 2M0
WAKAMI LAKE PROVINCIAL PARK
The park, 145 km northeast of Sault Ste. Marie, offers hikers the opportunity of backpacking the 76 km Height of the Land Trail that circles the lake. Users must register with the park to arrange to cross the northern part of the lake by boat. The four-day hike passes through the transition zone between boreal and Great Lakes forest as well as abandoned logging camps and a trading post.Wakami Lake Provincial Park
190 Cherry Street
Chapleau, ON. P0M 1K0