14 must-see Ontario trails WHETHER YOU’RE conquering a rocky scramble or taking a leisurely stroll across a boardwalk, we’ve got the perfect trail for you. How many of these must-see trails from around the province have you explored? RONDEAU PROVINCIAL PARK NEYS PROVINCIAL PARK Island Overlook Trail Hike up this rustic roadbed to the pagoda and enjoy a spectacular iconic view of Lake Superior. Stand in the place where Lawren Harris of the Group of Seven captured and immortalized Pic Island in his sketches and paintings. Capture your moment, then sit next to the artist’s easel (interpretive panel) and read more about the Group of Seven. Don’t forget to take a selfie at the top and show it to staff at the visitor centre to receive your “I hiked to Pic Island Overlook” button! Distance: 4.5 km one way, 9 km return Difficulty: intermediate/advanced (due to steep steady climb uphill) Tulip Tree Trail This barrier-free trail provides a close up look at Rondeau’s beautiful old growth Carolinian forest. Hikers will be awed by the towering Tulip Trees and be surrounded by rare southern species like Sassafras and Shagbark Hickory trees. This trail consists of many boardwalks where you can stop to get a great look at the sloughs and the wildlife that inhabit them. Birdwatchers flock to this trail in May to enjoy the songbird migration and hope to catch a rare glimpse of the endangered Prothonotary Warbler in its prime breeding habitat. During the summer months, it’s not uncommon to see a bright blue flash as a Common Five-lined Skink dashes across the trail. Distance: 1.2 km | Difficulty: easy (and barrier-free!) ESKER LAKES PROVINCIAL PARK Lonesome Bog Trail Esker Lakes is on the largest esker/moraine in Ontario. The trail circles a small, scenic boreal forest lake, crossing a treed bog at one end. Interpretive panels along the trail tell the story of the lake and bog, and point out some of the other features like glacial erratics moved by glacial ice from the far north. The mix of forest and wetland habitat are a magnet for birds – the boreal forest is known as the “songbird nursery.” Distance: 1.5 km loop | Difficulty: easy ARROWHEAD PROVINCIAL PARK Stubb’s Falls Trail Who doesn’t love waterfalls? At Stubb’s Falls, the Little East River rushes down a rock chute. In spring, enjoy truly spectacular blankets of trilliums. In fall, this trail is great for leafy colours. Distance: 2 km | Difficulty: easy RENÉ BRUNELLE PROVINCIAL PARK La Vigilance Trail The path follows the shoreline of Remi Lake through the boreal forest, with views out across the lake. One shoreline opening looks out at Airplane Island, home of a 1920s floatplane base for fire- spotting aircraft. Forest fire-fighting was in its infancy in the 1920s, and airplanes has only been around for a couple of decades, but the deadly Matheson Fire of 1916 caused Ontario to create a fire-fighting organisation. “La Vigilance” refers to being on the lookout for forest fire s. Distance: 5 km | Difficulty: easy SAUBLE FALLS PROVINCIAL PARK Sauble Trail The Sauble Trail travels through a mixed forest of hardwoods and red pine plantation. An interpretive leaflet, with marked stops along the trail, explains current and historic forest management practices in the area. This trail also travels through an area of ancient sand dunes so for their protection, is for hiking only, no bicycles allowed. Distance: 2.5 km loop | Difficulty: easy BONNECHERE PROVINCIAL PARK MURPHYS POINT PROVINCIAL PARK Silver Queen Mine Trail From the Lally Homestead, the Silver Queen Mine Trail leads to the restored, early-1900s, partially open pit mica mine. Take in heritage displays and check out the rebuilt miners’ bunkhouse. Access into the mine and the bunkhouse is available during mine tours only. Distance: 2 km partial loop | Difficulty: easy Footprints in Time (FIT) Trail The trail follows the meandering Bonnechere River. The trail features very innovative posts or “museums- on-a-stick.” It’s a great way for kids to explore while learning more about traditional Indigenous knowledge and park history. Some of the signposts feature instructions for on the spot activities and sensory games. Distance: 2 km loop | Difficulty: easy WWW.OTTAWAOUTDOORS.CA | 13