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Hiking In Awenda Provincial Park, Ontario

Hiking in Awenda Provincial Park, Ontario

If you’ve never heard of Awenda Provincial Park you’ve got company. Nobody I’ve spoken with who lives in southern Ontario has ever heard of the park and yet there is fabulous hiking in Awenda, particularly on the Bluff Trail and an untouched slice of the Georgian Bay coastline.

Awenda Provincial Park sits at the edge of the Penetanguishene Peninsula on the Georgian Bay, 164 kilometres due north of Toronto. It’s just a two hour drive away. Go hiking in Awenda in spring when the forest is a sea of green and trilliums are everywhere. Return in the summer for the Georgian Bay beaches. In the fall this park needs to be on your destination list. It’s considered to be one of the top places in all of Ontario for a fall show of colour. 

A path of green hiking in Awenda
A path of green hiking in Awenda

What you see hiking in Awenda Provincial Park 

Awenda Provincial Park is home to a mixed deciduous forest – with sugar maples that are reportedly up to 260 years old.  You can see from the pictures in spring that the forest is nothing but a sea of lime green. It’s absolutely glorious – especially with an understory of white, red and painted trilliums.

Reflections in Awenda Provincial Park
Reflections in Awenda Provincial Park

The Bluff Trail in Awenda Provincial Park

I was hiking in Awenda Provinical Park on the Bluff Trail – a 13 kilometre circular route, accessible from many points within the park.

The Bluff trail is easy going with little in the way of elevation changes. It will probably take you under four hours even with stops – though there are certainly additional trails you can hike from it. One I’d recommend is the five kilometre circular Wendat Trail that takes you around Kettle Lake, an area that’s great for wildlife viewing.

I saw no one on the trail the day I did it. Fortunately there aren’t any bears to worry about but I did see three deer, one owl and heard loads of birdsong.

That comes as no surprise as there are over 200 species of birds that go through the area. If you’ve got a good pair of binoculars be on the lookout for the hooded warbler – a summer resident.

The hike does take you across and alongside roads on a couple of occasions – so it doesn’t offer the full on wilderness experience. It’s not a wild and out there kind of hike. But I can’t think of another place I’ve ever been where the forest took my breath away just because of the colour.

Not sure what kind of bird's nest this is in Awenda
Not sure what kind of bird’s nest this is
A ground cover of trilliums
A ground cover of trilliums
Trillium - at the end of the season
Trillium – at the end of the season
Lots of interesting fungi
Lots of interesting fungi
Exceptionally pretty woods by the campground in Awenda
Exceptionally pretty woods by the campground in Awenda

Awenda Provincial Park is quiet in spring

Hiking in Awenda Provincial Park in May and early June is particularly lovely as the park is so quiet. I can well imagine by summer the campgrounds have filled and it’s far harder to find the solitude I enjoy so much.

There are a total of 333 camping sites in six campgrounds, many suitable for RV hookups.

A road of green in Awenda
A road of green in Awenda
Hiking in Awenda you feel a sense of mystery
Hiking in Awenda you feel a sense of mystery
"Awenda Park Trail map"
Trail map of the park

Although the Bluff Trail takes you on top of the Nipissing Bluff, the views out to the Georgian Bay aren’t nearly as good as I’d hoped for.

Perhaps if you came in the winter for cross-country skiing when there isn’t a leaf in sight you’d get some views out into Georgian Bay over to Giant’s Tomb Island.

Hiking in Awenda on the Wendat Trail
Hiking in Awenda on the Wendat Trail around Kettle Lake

After hiking in Awenda visit the beaches on the Georgian Bay

Don’t miss a chance to see the Georgian Bay close-up either. The beaches are in much the same shape that they were 500 years ago. And there is a 2 kilometre (one way) trail that allows you to walk past the four beaches that are in the park.

The beaches of Awenda Provincial Park on the Georgian Bay
The beaches of Awenda Provincial Park on the Georgian Bay
Sand dunes along the Georgian Bay
Sand dunes along the Georgian Bay

There is an entrance fee to Awenda Provincial Park – $12.39 + tax per vehicle per day.

I highly recommend a visit to Awenda Provincial Park. It’s a perfect destination for families and in spring and fall the beauty of the forest will take your breath away.

Further reading on hiking in Ontario

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

A visit to Awenda Provincial Park in Ontario for hiking, camping & beaches

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 13 Comments
  1. Gorgeous photos, Leigh. Awenda was our favorite campsite when my son was small. Haven’t been there for a while but you’ve reminded me how lovely it is. And inspired me to try to get up there this summer.

  2. Hello Leigh. We enjoyed meeting you in Gananoque the other week and I have found lots of lovely things on your website. We hiked this trail in early November and the forest was still very attractive and quiet, with good views from the bluff through the bare trees.

    1. @Rosemary It figures that it takes a guest to our country to explore parks that no one else has heard about. Good to know that there are great views once the leaves are off the trees. Tomorrow – a blog about our 1000 Island experience. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Enjoy the Lake O’Hara part of your hike. There is a tuck shop where you can buy a few things where the bus drops you off (like ice cream and cold drinks.)

  3. It is more than a bit embarrassing to admit not having heard of Awenda Provincial Park since I lived in the Toronto and Muskoka areas for the better part of 35 years. Excellent, brilliant green forest photos. Clearly, it is an outstanding gentle walk through lush forest adjacent to Georgian Bay. I remember the trilliums, Ontario’s protected Provincial flower. Thanks for sharing the experience on the Bluff Trail, Leigh.

  4. The green here in this park is amazing. Looks like Kentucky is not the only place to have gotten a lot of rain.

    So sorry we did not hook up this weekend. I was looking for you at the parties and the one day I did make it to the conference on Sunday. Difficult without a phone to plan this stuff as once I walked out of our place I was cut off from the rest of the world and the wi-fi at the conferences and parties was not that great.

    1. @Ted I couldn’t believe my eyes at the intensity of green that hit me at Awenda. And I am so sorry I didn’t meet you. I was looking for you too – and carrying around a Bruce Peninsula NP map just n case you could have used it. Next time!

  5. Thank you for this recommendation to see Awenda. We had a 4 hour walk in the woods and saw only one other couple. The trilliums were just waking up, hoping to return to see the colour greens captured in your photo. You have inspired us to look into the Bruce Trail options for August. Thanks for this great article.

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