Hiking in Ontario  by Tracey Arial

Hiking in Ontario Guide Book

by Tracey Arial (Ulysses Travel Guides)
Hiking in Ontario  by Tracey Arial
This practical guide covers the most beautiful hikes in all regions of Ontario. In addition to providing descriptions of hikes in more than 50 areas that are classified by level of difficulty, a thorough portrait of the natural wonders of Ontario is supplied, enabling hikers to make the most of their adventures. Detailed maps and clear directions accompany the text, making for worry-free trekking.

© 2005 Tracey Arial/Ulysses Travel Guides. All Rights Reserved.

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Trails from the "Hiking in Ontario" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 62.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 62.

Albion Hills was created in 1954, which makes it the oldest conservation area in Ontario. Its location on a part of the Oak Ridges Moraine, locally known as the Caledon Hills, means that hikers can expect hilly terrain. If you appreciate wildflowers, you’ll enjoy forests of trilliums and violets in the spring and meadows of golden rod, scotch thistles and asters in the fall. Bird-watchers can look for broad-winged and red-shouldered hawks, blackthroated blue and green warblers and wild turkeys. Children particularly enjoy the three trails named after animals because of the many chipmunks and birds they can see. The small furry creatures dodge your steps while blue birds, blue jays, chickadees and robins fly back and forth across the trail, as if trying to lead you on. The small animal signposts are also helpful in that they encourage children to run ahead to discover the correct path.
Bolton, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 14.9
When the government of Ontario passed the Algonquin Park Act, which set aside 18 townships as a “health resort and pleasure ground” and logging forest reserve in 1893, they didn’t know that their park would eventually attract about a million visitors a year to see 45 species of mammals, 138 breeding birds and a variety of plants, trees and fungi. Nor did they know that future ministers would increase the amount of land protected within their province’s oldest park another 12 times so that it now includes a territory of 772,500ha (1,908,000 acres). The area is so large that a number of trails run from four distinct areas, each of which is a 1 to 4hr drive away from the others. They are: the Frank McDougall Parkway, a Highway 60 corridor that goes through a southern portion of the park; the Brent crater at the northern edge of the park; the eastern Achray campground area, and the southern Kingscote Lake region. This trail guide includes Beaver Pond, Hardwood Lookout, High Falls Trail, Peck Lake Trail, Spruce Bog Trail, Whiskey Rapids Trail, Barron Canyon, Brent Crater, Lookout Trail, Two Rivers Trail, Bat Lake Trail, Berm Lake Trail, Booth’s Rock Trail, Hemlock Bluff, Mizzy Lake, Centennial Ridges, Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail, Track and Tower, Bruton Farm Trail, Highland Backpacking Trail, Scorch Lake Lookout Trail, and Western Uplands Backpacking Trail.
Haliburton, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 169
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Named after one of the rivers it follows, the Avon Trail passes over and by the glacier-created Waterloo moraine, along farmer’s fields and through apple orchards, forests and very small towns. Expect to have to climb up several stiles to get over farm fences and take several short and long footbridges over many creeks and rivers. Besides the Avon River, which flows through Stratford, you’ll pass the Thames River in St. Marys, Trout Creek, Wildwood Lake, McCarthy Lake, Silver Creek, Bamburg Creek, Martin Creek, and the Conestogo River.
Saint Mary's, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 64.5
Anyone interested in glacier-created landforms will want to visit Awenda Provincial Park on the edge of the Penetanguishene Peninsula, which juts into Georgian Bay to create Nottawasaga Bay and Severn Sound. The most impressive visual element of Awenda is Nipissing Bluff, a beach rising 60m (197ft) into the air. The park also includes most of Giants Tomb Island, which it shares with the Township of Tiny. The entire park was created by glacial meltwater, a fact evidenced by its boulder fields, cobble beaches, sand dunes and kettle lakes. Awenda Provincial Park also contains the remains of abandoned Aboriginal villages that are now archaeological sites. Researchers are trying to find evidence of four different Aboriginal cultures– the Paleo, the Laurentian Archaics, the Middle Woodland and the Huron–who are assumed to have inhabited these sites. This trail guide includes Beaver Pond Trail, Brûlé Trail, Nipissing Trail, Dunes Trail, Beach Trail, Bluff Trail, and Wendat Trail.
Penetanguishene, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 18.6
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A visit to Backus Heritage Conservation Area, a 502ha (1,240-acre) site, satisfies a curiosity for both natural and social history. A heritage village that emulates southern Ontario life in the late 1800s and early 1900s forms the best-known section of the park. Now referred to as Backus Woods, the forest includes black gum, pawpaw, shagbark hickory, sweet chestnut, sycamore, swamp white oak and tulip trees among the maple, beech, yellow birch, red maple and red oak trees typical of an Ontario deciduous forest. Stands of white pine, yellow birch and hemlock also appear. Interesting flora includes flowering dogwood and southern beech fern. Eighty species of birds–including hooded mergansers, Louisiana water thrushes, orioles, pileated woodpeckers, prothonotary warblers, winter wrens, vireos, and yellow-bellied sapsuckers–nest in the trees, while flying squirrels leap from branch to branch.
Port Rowan, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 11.5
Thanks to glacier run-off and a waterbed in motion, visitors to Twenty Mile Creek at the edge of the Niagara Escarpment can admire three waterfalls: two large natural ones and one tiny cascade, which is located next to the parking lot. Known as Ball’s Falls, the two natural waterfalls were the sites of several different villages during the 1800s, all supported by commercial enterprises owned by United Empire Loyalist landowners John and George Ball. All the businesses depended on power generated by the flow of water from the falls, although the flow isn’t so impressive anymore.
Jordan, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.7
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Bon Echo Rock on Mazinaw Lake has been an important spiritual site for at least the past 300 to 1,000 years during which it’s estimated the more than 260 Algonkian pictographs on it were completed. The collection, which can only be seen from canoe or boat, is the largest example of Aboriginal rock paintings in Canada. It is so important that the federal government has designated the entire park a National Historic Site. As impressive as the pictographs are, they aren’t the only reason to visit Bon Echo. Another good reason is the rock itself. Known locally as both Bon Echo Rock and Mazinaw Rock, the sheer cliff of hardened pink granite and gneiss rises 100m (328ft) into the air, while it continues another 90m (295ft) below the waterline. The park’s most popular hike leads hikers to the top of Bon Echo rock while another popular trail provides a good overall view of the rock from a lookout. This trail guide includes Cliff Top Trail, Bon Echo Creek Trail, High Pines Trail, Pet Exercise Trail, Joeperry Lake Trail, The Shield Trail, and The Abes & Essens Trail.
Cloyne, ON - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 19
Bruce Peninsula National Park is actually three parks in one. Hikers who like sandy, flat beach walks will appreciate Dorcas Bay, on the shores of Lake Huron to the west of Highway 6. Those who prefer walks along limestone cliffs, through a mixed forest of aspen, birch, cedar, fir and spruce, will prefer Cyprus Lake on the shores of Georgian Bay, to the east of Highway 6. Park staff offers guided walks and other programs during the summer. Those who prefer a more rustic, backcountry experience, or like walking along boulder beaches, will prefer to access the Bruce Trail via the Halfway Log Dump Trail. Plant enthusiasts can spot up to 43 species of orchids, 20 species of ferns, Canada’s best stand of Indian plantain and half the world’s dwarf lake iris on the trails on the Dorcas Bay side (which used to be a reserve owned by the Federation of Ontario Naturalists). Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes, deer, snowshoe hares, raccoons, porcupines, skunks, black bears, fishers, red squirrels, beavers, chipmunks and red fox live in the area. This trail guide includes Georgian Bay Trail, Marr Lake Trail, Singing Sands Trail, Cyprus Lake Trail, Half Way Log Dump Trail, Horse Lake Trail, Cyprus Lake, and Bruce Trail.
Tobermory, ON - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 16.2
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When local resident Thomas D. McGrath and his friends began blazing a 25km (15.5mi) trail between Terrace Bay and Schreiber 20 years ago, they aroused enthusiasm for hiking in the local community. Four additional sections have since been added to their trail to create the Casque- Isles Trail, a 52km (32mi) corridor that meanders along the northern shore of Lake Superior. There are many lookouts along the trail, although the Mount Gwynne Lookout is the most famous, both because it provides a full circular view of the area and because it contains a memorial plaque to the late Tom McGrath. This trail guide includes Bay Point Section, Death Valley Section, Schreiber Point Section, Schreiber Channel Section, and McLeans Section.
Schreiber, ON - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 32
The Ontario government decided to set aside 109ha (269 acres) of land to protect the rapids, waterfalls, wetlands, flood plain and terraces of the Aux Sables River in 1970. The river had been used as a logging waterway from the late 1800s until 1929. Remnants of the log chute still appear near the waterfalls. Today, hikers can follow a circuit around the waterfalls to the mouth of the river and then over a bridge and back up towards a sandy beach and day-use area. Look for the builder’s mark: "J. Rivers, Stonecutter, 1883" on the bridge.
Massey, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
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Cootes Paradise, formerly known as Dundas Marsh, is 800ha (2,000 acres) of marsh and forest at the mouth of Spencer Creek near the Dundas Valley on the west end of Lake Ontario, just off Hamilton Harbour (Burlington Bay). Much of the marsh itself is open water less than 1m (3.3ft) deep, although manna grass and cattails grow at the edges. The area is a refuge for at least 100 species of birds during migration, while another 80 species nest in the area. Some of the species you might spot include black-backed gulls, black-crowned night herons, blue-gray gnatcatchers, common moorhens, double-crested cormorants, eider ducks, green herons, marsh wrens, northern mockingbirds, orchard orioles and wood ducks. European cormorants that began moving into the area four years ago have already destroyed all the trees on Hickory Island. Hikers should look for the large platforms that naturalists have built to prevent the birds from coming ashore. This trail guide includes Captain Cootes, Marshwalk, Macdonell, Pinetum Trails, North Shore , Hopkins Trail, North Shore, Arnotts Walk and Chegwin Trails, South Shore, Ravine Road and Calebs Walk, Ginger Valley Trail, and Sassafras Point Trail.
Hamilton, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
Visitors to Crawford Lake will probably begin with a short tour through the reconstructed Iroquoian Village. A palisade wall encircles four longhouses–two of which are complete and two others which are only exterior frames–burial platforms, a grinding stone, a central fire pit, a sacred plant garden, a “three sisters” (corn, beans and squash) garden, and a games field. This trail guide includes Crawford Lake Trail, Woodland Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, Escarpment Trail, and Nassagaweya Trail.
Campbellville, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
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The Cup and Saucer Trail runs along and below the centre of the highest part of the horseshoeshaped Niagara Escarpment, following two ridges of sorts. At 180m about sea level, the highest of the two ridges is also the highest point on Manitoulin Island. Both ridges are about 70m (230ft) high. Although the escarpment itself is fascinating, the best views are those over the North Channel to the La Cloche Mountains along the upper trail. Eventually, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy plans to build the 450km (279mi) Manitou Trail that would link the Cup and Saucer to South Bay Mouth in the south and the Mississagi Lighthouse in the north.
Manitoulin Island, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
Today, the area is a natural refuge. Forests and meadows have taken over the old farmers’ fields, attracting butterflies and moths. In fact, the park is known as a resting spot for migrating monarch butterflies, which rely on the park’s fields of golden rod during their fall migration in late September. In 1999, three of the 500 monarchs tagged in Darlington were found in Mexico. Lake Ontario, Robinson Creek and the McLaughlin Bay marsh attract a variety of migrating shorebirds in April and October, including Canada geese, dunlins, least sandpipers, pectoral sandpipers, plovers sanderlings, semipalmated sandpipers, stilts and swans. The rest of the year, look for the American woodcocks, killdeers and spotted sandpipers that nest in the park. You may also spot one of nine different species of owls, including barred, common barn, eastern screech, great horned, long-eared, northern saw whet and short-eared owls. The area is also known for a wide variety of songbirds, great blue herons and Coopers hawks that soar around the entrance of the park at dusk. You’ll also notice several tree sparrow boxes along the trails. This trail guide includes Burk Trail, McLaughlin Bay Trail, Robinson Creek Trail, and Waterfront Trail.
Oshawa, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
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Dufferin Islands, a 16.2ha (28- acre) park made up of eleven islands, is a stunningly beautiful area across the road from Horseshoe Falls. Although it takes only an hour to walk through the entire park, add at least another hour to your visit to enable frequent stops. You’ll want to spend some time gazing at the scenery from one of the 22 tiny bridges that connect the islands, staring at the cattails in the marsh, or relaxing in the shade of the large poplars and oaks in the wooded areas. The creek that gives the area its charm is actually the fast-flowing Niagara River, which is pushed into the area by a tilting of the Horseshoe Falls rock shelf. The currents were once strong enough to propel a waterwheel that powered a saw and gristmill built on the islands in 1794. Bridgewater Mills employed many people until it was destroyed during the War of 1812. The islands, which only numbered five at the time, then became known as the Clark Hill Islands, after one private owner, and were named Cynthia Islands by another. They’ve held their current name since 1886, when the Niagara Parks Commission officially named them after the Earl of Dufferin, then Canadian governor general and a leading proponent of creating a public park in Niagara Falls.
Niagra Falls, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.2
Any hiker interested in history should definitely visit one of the three conservation areas within the Dundas Valley. A visit to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area provides a unique view on the Victorian era–a period when train travel was just beginning, when grand estates were fashionable, and when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote her antislavery novel which highlighted Canada’s role in the Underground Railway. Start at the replica Victorian-era train station trail centre, which has interpretive natural history displays, a snack bar and gift shop, and a miniature exhibit highlighting old-fashioned station lore. From there, you’ll hike along the Main Loop. The Main Loop allows you to see the ruins of an 1855 stone estate called the Hermitage, a small stone gatehouse with waterfalls called the “gatehouse cascade” and an old apple orchard. This trail guide includes South of the Trail Centre, Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, Main Loop, Orchard Side Trail, Sulphur Creek Side Trail, Carolinian Woodlands Side Trail, Heritage Trail, Tiffany Falls Side Trail, Monarch Trail, Headwaters Trail, Homestead Side Trail, Reforestation Side Trail, G. Donald Side Trail, Clear View Side Trail, Lookout Side Trail, Hilltop Side Trail, North of the Visitor Centre, Spring Creek Trail, Exercise Side Trail, John White Side Trail, McCormack Trail, and Sawmill Side Trail.
Dundas, ON - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 52.6
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The town of Elliot Lake offers hikers a multitude of linked trails, all located from various parking lots in the middle of town, including two on Highway 108 itself. If you want to do all the trails, begin at Spine Beach and follow the 3.5km (2.1mi) Westview Nature Trail with its many boardwalks and rocky areas.
Elliot Lake, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 15.5
Ferris Provincial Park is highly recommended for a relaxing, easy day-hike that also provides ample entertainment. Hiking up and down an almond-shaped drumlin is the highlight, although Ranney Falls, Trent River and an Osprey nest also ensure something to see outside of spring when the huge white trilliums no longer bloom. You also won’t want to miss walking along the new Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge for spectacular views of Ranney Falls and the Trent River. This trail guide includes Gorge Trail, Drumlin Trail, Ranney Falls Trail, and Milkweed Trail.
Campbellville, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
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Foley Mountain sits on a granite ridge, 65m (200ft) above the village of Westport. Three kinds of squirrels, white-tailed deer, two kinds of rabbits, fishers, pine martens, bobcats and porcupines also live in the park. Sightings have been made of more than 100 species of birds, including warblers, which breed in the area. The conservation area includes 325ha (800 acres), owned and operated by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. This trail guide includes Beaver Pond Trail, Nature and Rideau Trail, Spy Rock, and Scenic Ridge Trail.
Wastport, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
By providing hikers with a peaceful experience, Frontenac Park lives up to the creed of its first superintendent, R. Bruce Page, who believed that wilderness should be as untouched by humans as possible. Although once heavily settled by farmers, miners, loggers, and then cottagers, the park now feels relatively empty. The last seasonal resident left in 1991, and now only hikers, campers and canoeing enthusiasts frequent the area. Thirty-eight different mammals live here, including bears, beavers, coyotes, deer, fox, minks, moose, otters, porcupines and wolves. There are 30 species of reptiles and amphibians, including the rare five-lined skink. About 170 bird species nest in or migrate through the park, including barred owls, great blue herons, hawks, eagles, kingbirds, kingfishers, osprey, turkey vultures, wood ducks, and various woodpeckers. This trail guide includes Arab Lake Gorge, Doe Lake Trail, Arkon Lake Trail, Bufflehead Trail, Little Salmon Lake Trail, Big Salmon Lake Trail, Little Clear Lake Trail, Tetsmine Lake Trail, Hemlock Lake Trail, Gibson Lake Trail, Cedar Lake Trail, and Slide Lake Trail.
Sydenham, ON - Hiking - Trail Length: 112.5
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