Killarney’s Silver Peak is an ultimate trek, but it’s not my favourite. The park offers more scenic views and shorter climbs for an autumn day hike.
I spent last week base camping in the main campground and took a different hike each day. Here are my top three three:
Lumsden Lake Ridge
This trek starts just past the parking area of the main beach of the George Lake campground, across the walking bridge and dam where the Chikanishing River flows out of George Lake. The trail follows the western portion of the Silhouette Backpacking Trail, a 100-kilometre loop that circles the entire park.
Less than an hour en-route, you’ll come to a side trail leading to Lumsden Lake, an aquatic blue-coloured bowl surrounded by sparkling white quartzite.
Just before getting to the first campsite, make a sharp left and scramble up the southern ridge. You’ll be rewarded with an excellent view of Georgian Bay and the white quartzite ridges surrounding the lake.
The view from the Crack—a large split in the rock on top of Blue Ridge—excels Silver Peak by far. The hike also takes half the time.
From the top, you overlook Killarney and O.S.A. Lake. It’s not as panoramic as Silver Peak, but in my opinion, it’s far more breathtaking.
To reach the access, drive along Highway 637 approximately seven kilometres east from George Lake campground. There’s a parking area on the north side of the highway.
It’s a linear trip that takes about four hours to complete. It starts off easy, following an old logging road that makes its way through a second growth hardwood forest. You’ll soon see where the La Cloche Silhouette trail links up from the left. Continue right, now following the Silhouette trail, which remains relatively flat for a bit but eventually goes straight up, quite sharply at times, to “The Crack.”
Once you scramble up through the giant rock fracture you’ll catch the incredible view of Killarney Provincial Park.
Chikanishing River Trail
This is a perfect short day route, beginning at the Chickanishing boat landing, located at the end of Chikanishing Road, three kilometres west of George Lake campground (just before the river bridge). The hike leads you along the rugged Georgian Bay coastline with a series of plaques describing points of interest such as old voyageur and First Nations sites and anchor sites for Killarney’s lumber ships.
The loop run counterclockwise. The first quarter of the trail is the best. In fact, I rarely complete the loop. The last part goes through a swampy stretch and the boardwalk is in desperate need of repair. I simply walk to the second lookout, especially around dusk, to capture the sun as it drops behind the distant mountains and the expanse of Georgian Bay.
Have you hiked these trails in Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario?
Tell us about your experience!
Tweet us at @explore_mag