When we aren’t travelling around the world, we are exploring our own backyard. Together, over the years we have come across some beautiful spots throughout Ontario. Here is a list of our top 10 hiking spots, in no particular order, that we think you should know about. Whether you are an avid hiker or just want a good view, these trails are good for all types of adventurers.
1. Stubb’s Falls Trail
Arrowhead – Snowshoe hike
Total Distance: 2km
Time: 1 hr
Arrowhead is an excellent spot for winter activities like skating, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. We went for an outdoor date and went specifically for the outdoor skating trail but made our way to the Snowshoe hut, rented some snow shoes and followed a trail. It was a stunning hike through the gorgeous forest with the Little East River rushing alongside the trail. You come across rapids and a nice quaint spot to just sit and relax. We enjoyed every part of Arrowhead Provincial Park and cannot wait to go back in any season!
2. Lookout Point Trail
Total Distance: 3.5km loop
Time: 1.5 hrs
Over the years, Brian has gone camping with his family to Killbear and I had never been. It was only fair that Brian brought me to the provincial park for the day to travel down memory lane. We decided to hike all three trails at the park but wanted to highlight the Lookout Point Trail as it had the best midway view. This hike consist of rock, dirt, and boardwalk type pathways. Winding through trees and swamp, this trail brings you to a beautiful lookout of Georgian Bay.
3. Scarborough bluffs
Total Distance: 1km
Time: 30-40 mins
The Scarborough Bluffs have always been on our list of places to visit. They are these random stunning bluffs with a view of Lake Ontario. The water in this area is a beautiful crystal blue. The view from the top, where we did the hike, is stunning and the view from below is just as beautiful!
If you want to visit the top lookout:
- Park around the intersection of Scarboro Cres. and Drake Cres.
- Follow the path along the edge of the bluffs (don’t be afraid to go off path and wander a wee bit, just don’t be stupid!)
If you want to visit the bottom/beach:
- Make your way to Bluffer’s park
- Follow the path that takes you to Bluffer’s Sand Beach, this will give you a beautiful view!
4. Cyprus Lake Trail/ Georgian Bay Trail/ Bruce Trail
Total Distance: 4km loop
Difficulty: Varying difficulties from moderate to difficult
Time: Approx. 3 hrs
Probably our favourite hike out of them all because there is so much to see and do along the trails. Along the trails we took, you will find The Grotto, Boulder Beach, and the Overhanging Point. We camped at Cyprus Lake and took Cyprus Lake Trail to Georgian Bay Trail. If you don’t camp or are staying elsewhere, you can park in the day parking and take either Georgian Bay Trail or Horse Lake Trail. At the tip of both Georgian Bay and Horse Lake trails you will find the Grotto. Once you are done there (take your time!), take the Bruce Trail west and you will hit Boulder Beach and the Overhanging Point.
The Grotto The Overhanging Point Boulder Beach
5. Devil’s Pulpit – Bruce Trail
Total Distance: 2.6km
Time: 1 hour
With two entrances to the trail, you have options! If you want to avoid the hike and just get the views, you can park at the top of the hill at Caledon Mountain Dr. and Barnett Dr., take the Bruce Trail right to the lookout. We recommend starting at the bottom to get the whole experience! You can park along Forks of the Credit Rd., make your way to Chisholm St. and at the end of the road is the bottom of the trail! You can follow the trail, over railroad tracks and in to Hoffman Lime Kiln Ruins. You can wander around looking at the ruins but if you want the views, keep following the bruce trail. You will make your way over some boulders, beside a creek and at the bottom of a steep rock staircase. Along the staircase, you will find a rope built in to the rock to assist you up the stairs. At the top is the beautiful lookout! We recommend going in fall when the leaves are changing. It is a STUNNING view.
6. Clifftop Trail
Bon Echo Provincial Park
Total Distance: 1.6km
Time: 1.25 hrs
Bon Echo is a beautiful provincial park that you HAVE to check out! They have plenty of things to do; hiking the cliffs, kayaking/canoeing to the petroglyphs, boat tours, and more. We did a few things while camping, including hiking the Clifftop Trail. You have to take a boat or a kayak/canoe across the lake to the dock where the trail starts. At the beginning, there are A LOT of stairs, don’t let this stop you (it didn’t stop Shelby so you should be good!). The trail has a bumpy terrain but a well marked path. You can go off path a few times to see some cool views of the lake and the main land. The trail will finally bring you out to the lookout. Here you are blessed with a lovely boardwalk and areas to sit down to enjoy the view. We found a much nicer view wandering off path but you have to do what you’re comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to wander and investigate!
Views with our lovely friends.
7. The Lookout Trail
Algonquin Provincial Park
Total Distance: 2.1km Loop
Time: 1 hr
We found this was trail had the best lookout in Algonquin Park compared to other trails. With a few steep hills and boulders to manoeuvre around, it sure will get your heart pumping. This trail is perfect if you are in the area and want a hike or if you’re camping and want somewhere to drive to with a good view. The trails were well marked and brought you out to look over the treetops in Algonquin.
8. Dundas Peak
Total Distance: 3.9km
Time: 1.5 hrs
Depending on where you choose to park, you will be able to experience both Dundas Peak and Tews Falls. You HAVE to do both! To do so, you have to park at Tews Falls parking or Webster’s Falls and walk a bit further. As Brian says: what a thrilling hike! If you on your way to the peak, you are able to walk along the edge of Tews falls and find lookouts with beautiful views of the falls. You can even look over the edge of the falls if you’re daring enough, but keep in mind, you will have to get your feet wet! As you continue on the trail, you will come across the view below. It is a stunning spot to relax and enjoy. Feel free to wander off the marked trail so you can get different perspectives. If you love colours, this hike is even more amazing in the fall!
9. Lions Head – Bruce Trail
Bruce Peninsula National Park
Total Distance: 15.3km loop
Time: 4.5 hrs
Although the trail is a 15.3km loop, we only hiked 1.5 km to get to the lookout as we did not have enough time to do the trail in its entirety. From what we saw, this trail is definitely worth it! If you want to do the full trail and have the time for it, you HAVE to, and then tell us all about it! If you can only do the hike to the lookout, you can find parking within the park and jump on the trail right away. It is an easily marked path that leads to a few lookouts of the beautiful crystal blue water and of Lion’s head. If you do the hike in the summer, make sure to go for a swim in Georgian Bay!
10. Toronto Island
Total Distance: 14 km total
Time: However long you wish
An urban twist to a fun outdoor activity. Toronto Island is filled with many trails with all different views! We have spent the day walking all trails from one point to the other. We have also just roamed around the eastern side of the island. From Toronto, you will take a ferry (cheaper than a water taxi) to one of three docks. Once you are on the island, you can just start walking. Most trails will be marked and get you to a specific destination; like a beach or lighthouse. You will find the trails to be very easy for walking/hiking and they are good for all people! If you want a beautiful view of the city, you will take a trail along the northern shoreline. If you want a good beach to swim at, take the trails to the South side of the beach and there are a few choices!
We are always looking for recommendations for our next Ontario hiking adventure. Please share with us some more ideas!
Stay tuned for more hiking/camping locations
Brian & Shelbs