CA, Ontario: Killarney Provincial Park – Best hiking trails of the year: 2020

The Crack

As soon as we got on the trail, I knew it. All the street noise has suddenly ceased, the only family we passed by got quiet, the silent forest enveloped us in its magic touch, and then I knew I’m going to love the place. Was it the park itself, or just my desire to get out after so much social distancing, time will say.

Killarney park - The Crack trail

After a torrid month we’ve had some rain in the forecast, which made us decide to start with the most difficult day hike of the park: The Crack.

We started the trail at a slow pace, breathing in the fresh air, and absorbing the energy that surrounded us. We needed this so much!

Killarney park PP - a peaceful spot along The Crack trail

Some chipmunks were accompanying us for a little while, while some squirrels were chasing each other, ignoring us totally; time to observe the nature once again.

Killarney park PP - The Crack trail, chipmunk eating his lunch

Seeing so many type of mushrooms along the trail reminded me of the Twelvemile beach trail from Michigan. Hard to identify, most of them are not edible for sure.

After half of the distance or so, we saw a big detour, part of the trail was going through the woods rather than climbing some boulders. We were relieved, as we’ve read reviews about this difficult portion of the trail. Or so we thought. We didn’t know yet what to expect, until the last part of the trail, when we saw where the real challenge was.

Killarney park - The Crack trail, natural stairs

Steep terrain mixed with huge boulders, I was just standing there and look how other people were coming back. Using my hands, while getting my balance, I took each step at a time, a little challenge for my legs, as well as for my breathe. I was a bit concern how I will be coming back, as some portions were very steep, almost vertical, but I continued to go on.

Killarney park - The Crack trail, the real challenge is yet to come

At some point we took a break, there was no way to rush. Why not sit on a rock and admire the view? We could almost see the surrounding lakes. A little push and we’ll be there.

Climbing was a challenge for us, but also for the ones descending on the one-way “path” between the huge boulders spread along. I was sorry but proud of the dogs that their adventurous masters took them on this trail.

Killarney park - The Crack trail

Then we saw The Crack. THE actual CRACK

Killarney park - THE actual CRACK

Puffing and panting, we got to the top! A so well-deserved break, indulging the panoramic view, we saw people coming and going, but we stayed for a little awhile, breathing in the Killarney and O.S. A lakes’ view, the magnificence of the white cliffs of the La Cloche Mountains, and the Georgian Bay far in the distance.

Killarney park – The Crack trail, a rewarding view from the Killarney ridge over the Killarney and O.S. A lakes

This 6 km trail, rated as difficult, The Crack can be quite challenging, but if you take your own time, you can do it! We did it in 4 hours (as the little booklet said), but with many breaks along the way, and a longer one on top of the ridge.

Killarney park – V from Victory, we did it, The Crack trail.

Chikanishing

We chose to go to French River Provincial Park on our second day in Sudbury area, as heavy clouds menaced the sky, and some scattered showers along the way.

Next day, our sore muscles told us to pick Chikanishing first, one of the two more trails we’re planning to do in Killarney park.

One can have few options on this side of the park, but we opted for the last 2.7 km of Chikanishing trail.

Watching many people launching their boats and canoes on Chikanishing River, we followed shortly on the shore taking some pictures of all these paddlers going to Georgian Bay.

We didn’t expect the rock outcrops, quite a workout for our already sore muscles. All the way to the end of the trail is actually going up and down on various size boulders, and one needs to step carefully while watching the surroundings.

Killarney park, Chikanishing trail
Killarney park, Chikanishing trail – Common Gartersnake, getting startled while walking on the rocks along the Georgian Bay shore
Killarney park, Chikanishing – following the Bigfoot trail

Many interpretative signs tell a bit of history along the way for those interested, but soon we got to the most impressive part of the trail, once we reached Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay at the end of Chikanishing trail, Killarney park
Killarney park, Chikanishing trail – the last leg of the trail has one steep rock, the secret is not to look into the waters

We had to sit down and immerse into the scenery, as if in front of an impenetrable miracle. Grateful to the sky that wanted to stay blue all day, grateful to all the beautiful thoughts and memories I humbly found in the peaceful silence of the caressing waves.

Killarney park, Chikanishing trail - Georgian Bay shore
Killarney park, Chikanishing end of the trail, Georgian Bay
Killarney park - Paddlers on Georgian Bay, coming from Chikanishing river

After an hour or so we’ve had our way back. Most people choose to return via the same path, but we decided to do it through the forest, completing the trail loop, enjoying a bit of shade and again surprised by the many types of mushrooms, and plants, quite different than the ones from the other trail.

This 2.7 km trail, rated as moderate could be done in one hour, but the views and the location wouldn’t let you do that. That’s the place where I would have liked to spend half the day, having a lazy afternoon, reading, fishing, or day dreaming on one of the big rocks along the shore.

Killarney park, Chikanishing trail - a serene place on the Georgian Bay shore

Tip(s) of the day:

* sturdy footwear is recommended, as quite rugged parts of the trails;

* insect repellent is needed for merciless mosquitoes;

* attention on wet surfaces;

* entrance daily tickets can be obtained from the parking lot vending machines;

* George Lake beach areas are amazing spots for lunch, barbeque, or relaxing;

* be prepared for some unpaved portion of the Road 637 (aprox. 30 km) as soon as you’re getting off the Hwy.

~ visited in August 2020

10 thoughts on “CA, Ontario: Killarney Provincial Park – Best hiking trails of the year: 2020

  1. We went to Killarney earlier this summer and had such a lovely time. Hiking “The Crack” was easily one of the highlights. The Chikanishing Trail was really nice too and probably our second favourite hike in the park. We’re hoping to go back sometime in the fall for a few days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One can’t have anything but lovely time in Killarney! Our daughter tried to tempt us to hike “The Crack” in the fall, I bet the views are amazing from the top when the colours are changing. Have a great time, if you manage to go back!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Watching wildlife is amazing, and I always scan the surroundings when go hiking, for a walk, or even when I have my coffee on the deck🙂 The snake was pure chance, it was someone else who made me attentive, luckily I had my camera handy for a close up before he run away.
      Have an great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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