Now that summer has finally arrived (took long enough, didn’t it?), Ontario’s hiking trails have never been more popular – many of which are a short drive (or walk) from your front door. With the long weekend coming up, we hit the road to find five of the best trails our province has to offer.
1. Nassagaweya Canyon Trail – Halton, ON
A photo posted by Sara Bettencourt ? (@chasing.clarity) on May 23, 2016 at 2:55pm PDT
Part of Halton Parks, Nassagaweya Trail is a 13km terminal trail which connects Crawford Lake at the west end to Rattlesnake Point at the east end. In between, you’ll encounter a few moderately difficult climbs, a few wide trails and some narrow ones, as well as lookout points. The lookout at the east end is particularly beautiful as it gives you a view of Halton Region from a few hundred feet up. If you’re looking for a moderate hike with some difficulty, Nassagaweya Canyon Trail is worth the drive.
2. Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve – Laurel, ON
A blissful trail run to celebrate some small wins! Been a real grind lately, in a good way. But we’re making some stellar headway on @gotriplust, @aticketforward and all of the book, TV and film stuff inspired by the trip. Can’t wait to share everything without being so bloody elusive. Happy Friday, all! Celebrate the small wins 🙂
A photo posted by Jordan Axani (@jordanaxani) on May 1, 2015 at 8:18am PDT
A 13.7km round-trip hike nestled in the hills north of Orangeville, the trails at Hockley Valley are hilly with some rolling sections and a fun little switchback about ¼ through the hike, if you’re planning to walk the full length of the trail. You’ll go through moderately dense forests, into clearings, and walk along the occasional river (a great place to grab a snack and catch your breath). If you’re looking for a good cardio workout that doesn’t involve a treadmill, I’d recommend the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve.
3. Arkon Lake Loop Trail – Sydenham, ON (part of Frontenac Provincial Park)
A photo posted by Sara Hobbs (@shobbs116) on Jun 12, 2016 at 7:31am PDT
A short 11km in length, the Arkon Lake Loop trail is a relatively easy hike through the northwestern section of Frontenac Provincial Park. You’ll make your way through a forest floor (keep an eye out for non-poisonous snakes and the occasional deer sighting) and into clearings where you’ll see plenty of frogs and painted turtles sunning by the various lakes while red-shouldered hawks fly ahead. Easily doable in the space of a day, Arkon Lake Loop is one of the more popular trails in Frontenac, but isn’t heavily trafficked in the summer months. A good hike if you’re looking to get your blood pumping without having to put in too much effort.
4. Track and Tower Trail – Off Hwy 60 (part of Algonquin Provincial Park)
A photo posted by @jenclarke12 on Oct 13, 2015 at 4:17pm PDT
One of my favourite trails in Algonquin Provincial Park, this trail starts off a bit difficult due to the rocky, rolling trail in the first kilometer, but quickly gets easier towards the middle. It’s not all northern Ontario wilderness, however. You’ll come across a dam, an awe-inspiring lookout over Cache Lake that would make Tom Thomson jealous, and an old railway trestle: signs that Algonquin wasn’t just home to bears, wolves and more chipmunks than you can count. The trail can be cut short in case the climb to the tower overlooking Cache Lake is not something you want to attempt. Either way, this 7.7km hike is worth the trip to Algonquin (especially during the fall as the leaves change colour), particularly if you plan to stay overnight at any of the campsites nearby.
5. Abes and Essens Trail – Cloyne, ON (part of Bon Echo Provincial Park)
A photo posted by Mel Gee (@m.gamma) on Jun 14, 2016 at 11:01am PDT
The Abes and Essens Trail is comprised of three different loops – one of 4, 9 and 17 km in length. This trail of average difficulty can be completed in its 17km entirety in a day if you get an early start and push hard, but is also well-suited for an overnight trip if you want to take your time and enjoy the hike. The most notable feature of Bon Echo Provincial Park is Mazinaw Rock, a 1.5-kilometre sheer rock face rising 100 m above Mazinaw Lake, one of the deepest lakes in Ontario, and features over 260 native pictographs – the largest visible collection in Canada. A good trip whether you’re looking for a good workout or an easy saunter through the woods.
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