Are you looking for some great hiking routes in Ontario? From Thunder Bay, to Killarney Provincial Park, to Ontario's highest peak, here are three essential Ontario hikes:
Lake Superior Provincial Park (Central Ontario)
Length: 60 km
One of Ontario’s most scenic hikes, the Coastal Trail follows the rocky shores of Lake Superior for just over 60 km, treating trekkers to expansive vistas, secluded cobblestone or sandy beaches, dizzying lookouts and challenging terrain. Access the Coastal Trail at Agawa Bay if you’d like to hike the whole route, or, day-hikes can be done from points along the route, such as Sinclair Cove, Katherine Cove or Agawa, but you’ll have to retrace your steps; there are no loops. The trail is well-marked by blue-diamond signs; it generally follows the coastline if you get sidetracked. Almost all of the backcountry campsites feature sunset views; bald eagles are particularly abundant along the trail. Warp and Gargantua Bays are especially worthy of exploration; set up camp here and enjoy day’s worth of side trips, if you can spare the time.
Best For: Lovers of the lake; those in search of solitude and sunsets.
La Cloche Silhouette Trail
Killarney Provincial Park , pictured (Central Ontario)
Length: 100 km
If you can’t find a week-off this fall, you can day-hike sections of the La Cloche Silhouette Trail from the George Lake Campground, but it’s worth the vacation time to tackle this classic trek. Starting in the west, the route rambles through forested hills and toward Acid and Lumsden lakes. You may have to cross a few streams; excellent wildlife watching abounds. Soon, you’ll be enjoying views of Georgian Bay as you hike over two-billion-year-old pink granite. In the eastern section, the trail ascends — culminating at The Crack, a strenuous daylong leg of this 100-km-long trek. The sparkling white quartzite cliffs are worth the sweat; this area was once taller than the Rocky Mountains. There are 54 campsites along the trail (permit required, $11.25 per person). Fall is the best time to tackle La Cloche, if only due to the vivid red foliage and nightly wolf-howls.
Best For: Experienced, in-shape multi-day trekkers looking for the same inspiration that fueled the Group of Seven.
Top of the Giant (Kabeyun Trail)
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park (Thunder Bay)
Length: 22 km
This is the signature hike of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Located near Thunder Bay, on Highway 587, ensure you’ve packed plenty of water and your cardio is up to snuff before tackling this heavy-duty hike — the reward is a panorama of Lake Superior from one of the highest points in Ontario. Featuring 300 metres of elevation gain, this hike starts at the South Kabeyun trailhead, which meanders alongside the lake until Tee Harbour; but don’t be fooled by the relatively easy start. After this seven-kilometre jaunt, you’ll hit the Talus Lake Trail, and the route will begin to slope decidedly upwards. The next section is a steep, zigzagging route, followed by a slightly less intense cool-down path to the lookout. Eat your picnic lunch next to the 200-metre cliffs and stand in awe of colossal, deep-blue Lake Superior. Return the way you came. Note: if you want to expedite your trek, mountain bike along the Kabeyun Trail, then hike from Tee Harbour onward.
Best For: Ontario hikers looking to get high.