Point Grondine Park is a new addition to Ontario’s Killarney region, developed in 2016 by the Anishinabek Nation of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. Before the park was opened to the public, it was only explored by the members of the Anishinabek First Nation, who manage and operate its 18,000 acres of woods and water. The park is taking a phased development approach and has now created paddling routes, day-use hiking trails and an overnight backpacking trail. You’ll need a day or overnight permit to explore the park, which can be purchased at the site, online or by calling 1-705-859-2900.
The more adventurous overnight route—Wemtagoosh Falls Trail—is my favourite. It takes you into Point Grondine Park’s interior. The length is 22 kilometres. It’s a unique hike that requires a water crossing and several difficult sections with plenty of elevation.
The access is the same as the two-day use trails—A-Mik-Zii-Bi and Merv’s Landing—and is located south of Highway 637, 38 kilometres east of Hwy 69, heading towards Killarney, along Mervs Landing to the Mahzenazning Lake canoe launch. Merv’s Landing loop is 6.9 kilometres and leads to a summit with stunning views.
The Wemtagoosh Falls trail is a little less scenic than the Merv’s Landing trail, but it does have its fair share of scenic views of the surrounding lakes and rivers, and Wemtagoosh Falls certainly doesn’t disappoint. Another nice section is along the Mahzenazing River to Cedar Lake, where you hike through a narrow passage to the lookout at Smugglers Cove.
To link to the Wemtagoosh Falls trail, you must first hike a section of the Merv’s Landing trial. The shortest way is to go left on that loop from the access point. Take note that there is a rough road/path that leads straight through the centre of the Merv’s Landing loop. This is the portage to the canoe launch on Mahzenazing Lake.
The water crossing (approximately 20 metres) is near the beginning of the loop, at a narrow stretch of Mahzenazing Lake. A side trail leading off the Merv’s Landing trail takes you there. A self-propelled raft called the “water spider” was originally placed here to help you across, but now there are a few canoes, with paddles and PFDs stored, to get you across. Just make sure to leave at least one canoe on either side of the crossing for other backpackers.
The backcountry campsites (a total of seven) are set up at the falls and along the edge of the interior lakes. They’re all nestled amongst old growth pine and are prime spots to pitch your tent for the night. Sites numbers 2 and 7 are classed as “premium” and come equipped with a wooden tent platform, a built-up fire pit and a picnic table.
My 2nd edition of A Paddler’s Guide to Killarney and the French River, to be released sometime in April, has more information on the trails and canoe routes available at Point Grondine Park.