Ontario, a province known for its vast landscapes and diverse ecosystems, is home to some of Canada’s most iconic hiking trails. Each trail offers a unique experience, promising adventure and breathtaking views. Explore some of Ontario’s premier hiking destinations and learn about the hiking gear you will need to enjoy your hiking adventures to the fullest.

Top hiking trails in Ontario

Bruce Trail: Ontario’s iconic footpath 

Spanning over 890 kilometres from Niagara to Tobermory, the Bruce Trail stands as Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath. Traversing the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, hikers are treated to a diverse range of ecosystems. From ancient cedar forests to serene wetlands and dramatic cliff edges, the trail offers a new perspective at every turn. The best time to hike the Bruce Trail is during the fall when the foliage turns into a mesmerizing palette of reds, oranges, and yellows. 

Algonquin Provincial Park trails: A mosaic of nature’s wonders 

Covering over 7,500 square kilometres, Algonquin Provincial Park is a testament to Ontario’s natural beauty. With over 15 interpretive trails, each offers a unique window into the park’s diverse habitats. The Lookout Trail, for instance, provides panoramic views of the park’s vast forests and shimmering lakes. For those seeking a challenge, the Highland Backpacking Trail offers a multi-day hiking experience, weaving through dense forests and along serene lakeshores. Spring and early summer are ideal times to visit, with the park coming alive with blooming flora and active fauna. 

Killarney Park’s La Cloche Silhouette Trail: A journey through quartzite mountains 

Killarney Park is a gem in Ontario’s crown, known for its distinctive quartzite ridges and sapphire lakes. The La Cloche Silhouette Trail, a challenging 78-kilometre loop, takes hikers on a journey through these ancient mountains, offering panoramic views from elevated vantage points like Silver Peak. The trail is demanding, with rugged terrains and steep climbs, but the views make every step worthwhile. The cooler temperatures of late summer and early fall make them the best times to tackle this trail. There are also fewer bugs. 

Waterfront Trail: A journey along the Great Lakes 

Stretching over 3,600 kilometres from the Quebec border to Lake Superior, the Waterfront Trail offers a unique hiking experience, tracing the shores of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. This trail is not just about nature; it also provides a glimpse into Ontario’s rich history and culture, passing through 155 communities, villages, and First Nations along the way. The trail is segmented, allowing hikers to choose sections that align with their interests, be it serene beaches, bustling harbours, or historical landmarks. Spring and summer are the best times to explore the Waterfront Trail, with the lakeside breeze providing a refreshing respite. 

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park Trails: The legend of the giant 

Located near Thunder Bay, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is named after its iconic landform that resembles a giant lying on its back. The park offers over 100 kilometres of hiking trails, each promising unparalleled views of Lake Superior and the surrounding landscapes. One of the most popular trails is the Top of the Giant Trail, which takes hikers to one of the highest points in Ontario, offering panoramic views that are truly awe-inspiring. The park is also steeped in Ojibway legends, adding a layer of mystique to the hiking experience. If you would like to experience the foliage turn into a riot of colours, fall is a particularly enchanting time to visit. 

Woman holding hiking pole.

Gearing up for your Ontario hiking adventure 

Embarking on any of these iconic trails requires the right gear. The hiking essentials below will help you have a safe, enjoyable experience.

Navigational aids for the modern hiker 

filtered water bottle

In the vast expanses of Ontario’s wilderness, having reliable navigational tools is crucial. A GPS watch can help you track your route, monitor your progress, and ensure you’re on the right path. For those who prefer traditional tools, a compass remains an invaluable ally, especially in areas with weak GPS signals. 

Lighting and hydration essentials 

Whether you’re starting early or wrapping up your hike at dusk, a headlamp is essential. It ensures safe navigation and can be a lifesaver in unexpected situations. Hydration is equally crucial. A filtered water bottle provides clean water access, while a hydration backpack is ideal for longer treks, allowing you to carry ample water without added bulk. 

Build your hiking kit 

Every trail has its challenges, and being equipped with the right hiking gear can make all the difference. From walking poles to camping gear for overnight hikes, each piece of equipment plays a pivotal role in your hiking experience. Check out this collection of hiking essentials that caters to both novice and seasoned hikers to start planning your hike.

Get ready to explore Ontario with the right gear

Ontario’s trails beckon with the promise of adventure and discovery. As you set out to explore these natural wonders, remember to equip yourself with the right gear before hitting the trails and hike responsibly. The province’s diverse landscapes await, offering experiences that will remain etched in your memory for years to come. 

This article was drafted using AI technology and then reviewed, fact-checked, and revised by a member of our editorial team.

Best Buy (assisted with AI)
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