Canada’s wilderness is world-renowned, and the landscapes of Ontario are no exception. And what better way to experience the land than on your own two feet? Ontario Parks has over 1,800 kilometers (1,118.4 miles) of trails to discover, covering a range of heights and distances and offering panoramic views of the province’s many forests and lakes. In addition to shorter trails and educational hikes, there are a number of impressive long-distance trails that will appeal to trekkers who want to go on a multi-day hike. Here are six of Ontario’s best and most beloved long hikes.
Lake Superior Coastal Trail
Spanning 65 kilometers (40.3 miles) of Lake Superior’s rugged and raw shoreline, the Coastal Trail extends from Agawa Bay to the Chalfant Cove. While the trail does deviate from the coast intermittently, most of the path wanders along cliffs, rocky headlands, beaches, and rough outcrops. The endless horizons of Lake Superior offer dark skies that light up with spectacular constellations and stray stars, and because of its setting, there are fewer mosquitoes and black flies. Keep an eye out for signs of wildlife and striking geology. Shuttles can also be arranged with local businesses for transportation between trailheads.
The Cup and Saucer
Located on Manitoulin Island, the Cup and Saucer offers two trail segments: a side trail toward Manitoulin’s highest point and access to the Adventure Trail, which together wind through 12–14 kilometers (7.5–8.7 miles) of mixed deciduous forest and 400-million-year-old Silurian deposits. Accessing the island’s highest point requires a steep ascent and offers breathtaking views from rocky cliffs. The Adventure Trail, while brief (just 0.5 kilometers or 0.3 miles) is rugged with steep climbs and drops guided by old log ladders and goes through caves, small crawl spaces, and under cliffs. Bring water, hiking shoes, and a camera!
La Cloche Silhouette Trail
Covering 80 kilometers (49.7 miles) of Killarney Provincial Park’s interior, the La Cloche Silhouette Trail allows you to explore extensive cultural heritage, the scenic landscape of the La Cloche Range, and countless inland lakes. Accessible through the park’s George Lake Campground, the trail travels through forests, along rugged granite and quartzite ridges and creek crossings. With a side trail leading to Killarney’s highest point, Silver Peak, as well as access to the infamous Crack Trail (known as “The Crack”), the sapphire lakes and ragged trees that inspired members of the Group of Seven become immediately prevalent.
Top of the Giant Trail
This 22-kilometre (13.7-mile) trail system leading to the Top of the Giant offers spectacular views of meadows and cliffs, not to mention an unforgettable panoramic view of Lake Superior. Located in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, the lookout sits 750 feet (228.6 meters) above the lake – one of the highest points in Ontario. While accessing this trailhead requires navigation through the Kabeyun and Talus Lake Junction trails, the climb is well worth it!
The Bruce Trail
Spanning 890 kilometers (553 miles) from Queenston to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail follows the Niagara Escarpment. Whether you’re planning to hike the trail end-to-end or do some day trip hiking, at any given point of the trail, you have access to countless waterfalls, meadows, wooded areas, bluffs, and cliffs. You can also find virtual geocaches along the trail that note plant varieties, personal histories, and fascinating trailside facts.
You can download an app, which includes a map, here.
The Voyageur Trail
Linking Sudbury and Thunder Bay, the Voyageur Trail parallels Lakes Huron and Superior along 600 kilometers (372.8 miles) of rugged terrain. The trail offers numerous scenic views, ranging from rocky beaches, towering ridges, looming cliffs, rolling hills and densely forested areas. A few notable sections include the Robertson Cliffs along the Goulais River section, the Coastal Trail section in Pukaskwa National Park, and the Casque Isles.
Find a map here.