When it comes to hiking, Ontario has a lot to offer. While the province doesn’t have the towering mountain ranges that can be found out west, Ontario does have some beautiful scenery with plenty of lakes, forests, rivers, rock formations – and let’s not forget about some of the most beautiful fall foliage colours in the world. If you’re looking for exploration, lace up your boots and check out this list of 5 of the best hiking trails in Ontario.
Cup and Saucer Trail
Located on Manitoulin Island, the Cup and Saucer trail is considered to be one of the best hikes in Ontario thanks to its beautiful views and the fact that it is accessible year-round. There are about 12km of trails to tackle with varying difficulty depending on the route you take. Most people hike a 5.1km ‘out and back’ type route that is considered to be moderately challenging. The trail can take anywhere from 1.5-4 hours, but after a steep climb, you will be rewarded with a stunning view overlooking the North Channel and Lake Manitou.
For those planning on this hike in the winter, it’s recommended that you have crampons as it can be very icy. Several reviews also suggest bringing a GPS as the markers are limited and sometimes hard to see in the snow.
Top of the Giant via Kabeyun Trail
This 22.7km trail takes, on average, 6 hours to complete but is considered by many to be one of the best hiking trails in Ontario. Located in the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Thunder Bay, many who visit this trail actually bike in the first part as it’s relatively flat. After about 7km or so, things get challenging - you’ll have to climb up a steep zig-zag path, but you’ll then find multiple viewpoints over Lake Superior and, of course, the interesting rock fractures in the cliffs, which are magnificent on their own.
The trail is best accessed from spring to fall, and previous hikers mention that hiking boots and poles come in very handy for this hike.
Mizzy Lake Hike
Algonquin Park is a playground for many hikers and nature lovers. It’s home to a number of different hiking trails, but the Mizzy Lake Hike is a firm favourite and often thought of as one of the best hiking trails in Ontario. It’s also accessible year-round.
Mizzy Lake Hike is a 12.2km loop that takes hikers through the forest and around some of the ponds and lakes of the provincial park. This hike takes on average about 4.5 hours to complete, although chances are it will take a little longer, because there’s plenty of wildlife in the area and you’ll no doubt want to stop and watch. From deer and moose to otters and ermines and plenty of birds, you’ll want to keep your eyes open!
La Cloche Silhouette Trail
If you are an avid hiker up for a multi-day adventure, then consider adding La Cloche Silhouette Trail to your list. La Cloche Silhouette Trail is located in Killarney National Park and takes about 7-10 full days to complete. At 78km long, hikers will be rewarded with some of the best scenery in the province, including many views that inspired the famous Group of Seven painters.
Not only is it a long trail, but it’s also quite difficult in some areas due to the many steep and rocky sections. Hikers will also pass through valleys and alongside lakes, so note that during heavy rainfall it can be slippery and muddy, with some areas posing extra difficulties to pass. However, those up for the challenge will find some breathtakingly scenic views.
It’s also important to know that since this is a multi-day hike, it does need to be planned well in advance in order to book space at the campsites. You can do this by calling Ontario Parks Central Reservation Number at 1-888-668-7275.
The Bruce Trail
This route is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you are an avid hiker and adventure seeker, then add this trail to your list of the best hikes in Ontario. After all, The Bruce Trail is the oldest and longest footpath in all of Canada – if you’re looking for the best hiking trails in Ontario, it doesn’t get more epic than that!
The Bruce Trail stretches from Niagara Falls to Tobermory and covers over 900km. It’s recommended you plan 30 days for this trail and, like La Cloche Silhouette Trail, you will need to plan in advance and make accommodation arrangements during your hike. You can visit the official Bruce Trail website for more information on how to plan here. Not keen on 30 days of hiking? Don’t worry – you can explore the Bruce Trail in smaller, more manageable sections. The area around Hamilton is known for its waterfalls while Tobermory has fantastic cliffs and viewpoints.
One final tip before you pack up your vehicle to head to your next hiking adventure: Are you sure that your car is properly protected to drive you to and from all these treks? Check out auto insurance from Sonnet – you can get a free quote in minutes. Happy trails!
Hannah Logan is a Canadian travel writer who dreams of being just like Indiana Jones. You can follow her travels on her personal travel blog Eat Sleep Breathe Travel where she shares her travel tales and (mis)adventures around the world.
Hannah Logan is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.