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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 it offers fabulous hiking 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.

"A path of green'

A path of green

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.

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.

"Reflection"

Reflection

The Bluff Trail in Awenda Provincial Park

I was in the park to hike the Bluff Trail – a 13 kilometre circular route, accessible from many points within the park.

The 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 including 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.

"bird's nest"

I don’t know 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

"Nice open campground site"

Nice open campground site

May and early June are great times to visit the park because it 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.

"Some massive trees around"

Some massive trees around

"Road of green"

Road of green

"There's some mystery in these woods"

There’s some mystery in these woods

"Awenda Park Trail map"

Trail map of the park

Although the 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 wasn’t a leaf in sight you’d get some views out into Georgian Bay over to Giant’s Tomb Island.

"Lake in Awenda Provincial Park"

The Wendat Trail takes you around Kettle Lake

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.

Hiking in Awenda Provincial Park, Ontario

Leigh McAdam

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 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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