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Top 10 Hiking Trails in Ontario

Top 10 Hiking Trails in Ontario

Strap on your hiking boots! When you’re in Ontario, you’ll hear the trails calling your name—and they’ve got something for everyone. 

Whether you’re up for a stroll or a more challenging adventure, you can hit the trail and discover the best of the great outdoors! To help you decide which spot can satisfy your wanderlust, we gathered the best hiking spots in Ontario, so read on!

La Cloche Silhouette Trail


Total distance: 78–100 km 

Difficulty: Difficult

The La Cloche Silhouette Trail is like a big loop, about 80 kilometres long, cutting through lakes, streams, rolling hills and forest areas. They say it’s a bit of a challenge, so plan on spending a solid seven to ten days if you’re up for it—it’s no cakewalk, that’s for sure!

Since this Ontario hike is pretty easy to get to, you gotta be on top of booking those campsites early if you’re thinking about taking it on. There are 54 spots scattered along the trail, so plan ahead!

Just a heads up, it kicks off and finishes at George Lake Campground and usually takes about seven days to conquer. Know your hiking game and figure out how far you’re up for trekking each day on the trail— it’s all about pacing yourself!

Pro tip:
Most backpackers go for the clockwise loop, but you can mix it up and go counterclockwise. If campsites are scarce when you’re booking, going counterclockwise might open up more choices for you.

Opt for meals that don’t require any fancy refrigeration or special storage.

Bluff Trail, Awenda Provincial Park


Total distance: 13 km

Difficulty: Moderate

If you’re ever two hours north of Toronto, swing by Awenda Provincial Park near Penetanguishene on the Georgian Bay. And it’s also home to the Bluff Trail, which is extra stunning when fall rolls around! 

Just so you know, it’s not exactly a deep-in-the-wilderness kind of trail, but it’s perfect for families. After the hike, you can plop down on the beach and dive into the Georgian Bay for a refreshing swim. 

Oh, and as if that’s not adventurous enough, more than 200 bird species are hanging around. If you’ve got some fancy binoculars, keep your eyes peeled for the hooded warbler—they’re like the summer VIPs of the bird crew.

Pro tip:
There’s a fee to get into Awenda Provincial Park. For summer day trips, it’s $15.50 for adults, $12.50 for seniors, and there’s a discounted rate for folks from Ontario with disabilities. 

Quick heads up—there’s a bunch of caterpillars hanging around that might hitch a ride on your clothes, shoes, or even your head. Keep an eye out, especially if you’re not a big fan of unexpected guests.

Cup & Saucer Trail


Total distance: 12 to 14 km (combined)

Difficulty: Moderate

The Cup and Saucer hiking trail on Manitoulin Island is a real crowd-pleaser with around 14 km of trails and all kinds of difficulty levels – there’s a path for everyone. You can go for a quick 15-minute stroll or challenge yourself with a four-hour climb. 

And if you make it to the cliffs, the views are like winning the whole island panorama. Just a heads up, be a bit cautious when you’re heading up—some parts have pretty rocky terrain, so watch your step!

Getting to the tip-top of the island means tackling a steep climb on the Adventure Trail. It’s no walk in the park since this rugged and rocky ascent will have you scrambling through caves, squeezes, and a bit of everything. 

Pro tip:
Some hikers have a bit of trouble spotting the guide marks on the trails. To stay on track, it’s a good call to download the offline maps. 

Just so you know, the starting point for the trail is right where Highway 540 meets Bidwell Road. 

Middlebrun Bay, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park


Total distance: 4.8 km

Difficulty: Easy

You should check out the Middlebrun Bay trail in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. This trail leads you to this fantastic beach – perfect for a chilly summer swim or checking out some ice formations in the winter.

Plus, this trail is a hotspot for birding, camping, and fishing. But here’s the bonus: you can still soak in peace during the off-peak hours, and it’s open all year round.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for deer, moose, and other big critters as you explore the vast forests and lowlands of the park. Whether you’re trekking through those lush green paths or cruising down snowy trails, this park’s beauty is bound to captivate you.

Pro tip:
To find the Middlebrun Bay trailhead in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, enter from Highway 587, head south, pass Lake Marie Louise Lake Campground, go 1.2 km further, take a left at the fork, and drive another kilometre to the trailhead parking lot.

Also, feel free to bring your dogs along, but make sure to keep them on a leash.

Top Of The Giant


Total distance:  22 km 

Difficulty: Difficult

Here’s another gem from Sleeping Giant Provincial Park—the Top of the Giant hike. It’s a fantastic trek that treats you to jaw-dropping views of Lake Superior from cliff tops above the lake, and you can even spot all of Isle Royale across the water. 

Now, it’s one of the longest day hikes in Ontario, with a round trip of 22.4 km, but a solid 16 km of that is as flat as a pancake. If you’ve got a bike, you could even roll for that part and lock it up when the climbing kicks in and don’t forget about the 300-m elevation gain.

You should also know that tackling this hike is for the fit and ready, so ensure you’re in good shape. And hey, pack some water, rock those sturdy hiking boots, and toss in a first aid kit for good measure. 

Pro tip:
To reach the Top of the Giant trailhead, begin at Kabeyun South Trailhead, located off Highway 587 in the southeast corner of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park will be quite crowded in 2023. If you want to secure a spot for the day, make sure to grab a daily vehicle permit ahead of time.

White River Suspension Bridge Hiking Trail


Total distance: 18 km

Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

If you’re up for a challenging and scenic day hike, the White River Suspension Bridge Trail is the go-to. It promises an impressive view from high above a roaring waterfall—an exhilarating natural escape.

About halfway to the bridge, you’ll stumble upon the hidden gem of Playter Harbour—a quiet beach perfect for a chill break, snack, and a quick bathroom stop. If you’re too tired to trek all the way to the bridge, this spot is a good turnaround point.

Picture this: the White River Suspension Bridge is a sight, stretching 30 meters and towering 23 meters above Chigamiwinigum Falls. Just past the bridge, there’s a trail veering off to the right, and you can follow it downstream to a cozy picnic spot by Chigamiwinigum Falls.

Pro tip:
To reach the White River Suspension Bridge Hiking trailhead, follow Trans-Canada Highway 17 to Highway 627. Continue on Highway 627 for 15 km until you reach Pukaskwa National Park and the Hattie Cove Campground and Day Use Area.

Orchard Trail


Total distance: 2 km

Difficulty: Easy

Check this out—Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto is Canada’s only urban national park, right along the Rouge River. You can easily reach it by public transit and visit The Orchard Trail—a sweet two-kilometre hike to give you a look at nature reclaiming the urban scene.

Speaking of which, the Orchard Trail stands out as the most diverse among Rouge Park’s trails. Get ready for a journey through the woods, a stroll along Little Rouge Creek, a climb up the escarpment for some killer views, and a trek through some wetlands. 

Once you’re on the way back, the route traces the railroad and the escarpment’s edge before bringing you back to where you began. The cool thing is, you’ve got choices to tweak the loop—make it shorter or go for the extended version by sticking with the river.

Pro tip:
To kick off the Orchard Trail adventure, head to the north trailhead—it’s just a 10-minute stroll east of the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre. Alternatively, you can hit up the south trailhead from Twyn Rivers Drive.

You could take your mountain bike on this trail, but not many folks go for it. Rouge Park has some better trails if you’re itching for a solid mountain biking experience.

Maple Mountain


Total distance: 40 km of paddle and 3.2 km of hiking

Difficulty: Moderate

Meet Maple Mountain—one of Ontario’s well-known peaks, standing tall at 350 meters above sea level (1,150 feet). You see, the trail is a mere 3.2 km, but brace yourself for an adventurous twist since you’ll be canoeing most of the way in.

Here’s the deal—there’s a 40-km paddle from Mowat Landing, cruising through Lady Evelyn River and Lady Evelyn Lake, all the way to Tupper Lake. Most folks take a two-day canoe trip, camping at one of the many spots along the way on Lady Evelyn Lake.

After passing a small lake, the trail gets steeper to the cliffs and eventually the summit. Also, the peak seems to be about 100 meters north of the fire tower, marked by a small boulder poking a few feet above the height of the land near the tower.

Pro tip:
Quick heads up: motorized boats are allowed around Lady Evelyn River, Lady Evelyn Lake, and Sucker Gut Lake. But here’s the catch—Hobart and Tupper Lakes are a no-go zone for them.

The Ganaraska Trail


Total distance: 500 km

Difficulty: Difficult

Get this: the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is a whopping 500 km long, stretching from Port Hope all the way until it hooks up with the Bruce Trail near Collingwood. It’s one of the top-notch long-distance hikes you can tackle in Ontario. 

Break it down, and you’ve got eight legs: Pine Ridge (63 km), Kawartha (75 km), Wilderness (65 km), Orilla (70 km), Barrie (50 km), Wasaga Beach (51 km), Midland (35 km), and Oro-Medonte. It’s a trail with some serious mileage!

While some bits of the trail take you through remote wilderness, there are plenty of sections perfect for a chill weekend hike, like The Northumberland Section. Plus, the Pine Ridge trail shows the gorgeous Ganaraska Forest.

Pro tip:
Here’s the deal: if the trail blazes don’t quite match the map while you’re out there, just stick to following the blazes. 

Also, note that a bunch of the trail cuts through private property. So, while you’re out there, act like you’re the guest of the landowners who’ve given you the green light to hike on their land.

Shield Trail


Total Distance: 4.8 km

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate 

The Shield Trail traces part of the old Addington settlement road, delving into the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield. Up north of Napanee, this park has been a hotspot for artists and photographers, all thanks to the iconic Mazinaw Rock. 

So, this is a 4.8-km cliff-top trail—it’s not crazy hard, but get ready for a bit of climbing to reach the three awesome observation decks perched on the cliffs. Worth the effort, though!

Oh, just a heads up—If you’re without your own canoe, you’ll need to cough up a few bucks for the Mugwump Ferry to cross Mazinaw Lake and reach the cliffs. This trail is exclusive and accessible only by water. 

Pro tip:
You can snag a campsite up to five months in advance, whether you hop online or give them a ring.

Speaking of which, the best time for hitting this trail is from May to October. 

Ontario’s packed with beautiful views and nature, so disappointment isn’t really on the menu at these hiking. It’s all about what works for you – how long you’re planning to hike, the season you prefer, the difficulty level, and so on. 

Oh, and here’s a tip—if you’re not just about the hiking trails, Canada’s got some top-notch cities waiting for you. Plus, getting around is a breeze with car rental companies scattered all over the place.  

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