Killarney hosts a number of hikes ranging from seven days to a couple of hours.
Whether your intention be to complete the 78km loop of the La Cloche or to simply summit “Silver Peak” (the highest elevation in the park), Killarney will deliver.
Through quartzite ridges, granite slopes, and some of Ontario’s oldest forests no one trail is like another.
Information on locations and distances can be found via Killarney Outfitters or in the free K.P.P. information paper available for pick up at the George Lake Office and all around Killarney town.
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Rachael Sorochan is the leading Trip Planner for Killarney Outfitters, which prides itself on being the information destination for the Killarney area.
Providing complete outfitting services, trip planning and rentals, their Trip Planning Service gives adventurers all the information they need to explore and enjoy the park independently.
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Killarney Provincial Park, located on the northern shores of Georgian Bay of the Greater Lake Huron is one of Canada’s most unique wilderness experiences.
The La Cloche Silhouette Trail, named in dedication to The Group of Seven artist Franklin Carmichael, is a 78km backpacking route that brings hikers through some of the most secluded and wild areas Killarney has to offer.
Quartzite and granite ridges, valley bottoms, and water falls set the stage for this exhilarating hike. The campsites are private and limited to allow this area to maintain Killarney’s wild feel.
Due to the La Cloche’s rugged nature, it is important that adventurers understand that it requires preparation, planning, and a good deal of physical conditioning. Attracting adventurers from all over the world, it is also important for those planning to attempt this trip to make reservations with Ontario Parks in order to insure availability of campsites. It is recommend that the hike be completed in no less than five days, any shorter, and the park will no longer insure search and rescue (meaning you will have to pay for your own rescue if something happens).
Day hikers do not fear, the Park still has plenty to offer. Portions of the La Cloche; the “Crack”, “Silver Peak”, and “Cranberry Bog” are of varying difficulty and may all be completed as a day time activities.
Independent of the La Cloche, “Granite Ridge” is located across the highway from the main park entrance and is a 2km loop affording day trippers a stunning view of both Georgian Bay and the varied elevations of Killarney Park.
The “Chikanishing Creek” hike exposes visitors to another side of Killarney. Where the Park is predominantly quartzite, this area sees expanses of smooth pink granite cascading along the shores of Georgian Bay. Although the scenery is, as always, gorgeous be sure to keep an eye on the rocks to see the trail markers!
To be transported once more try the “Lake of the Woods” hike, located nearer to the northern access travels through some of the Killarney’s oldest growth forests, even offering views of Silver Peak. With none alike to the other, day tripping in Killarney is sure to leave an impression on hiking enthusiasts!
"The Crack" hike
This is hands down a must-do in Killarney. Summiting this ‘cracked’ quartzite peak fills travellers, geologists, and artists alike with and undefinable sense of wonderment. This outstanding trail can be reached either by boat for canoe trippers, or by highway access for those who only have the day.
This brings adventurers up to the highest point in Killarney Park. A short 45-minute paddle from the northern Access Point, Bell Lake (canoe reservations should be made ahead, boats are available on site with no need to transport) will be required to reach the trail head.
In autumn when the leaves are changing, the myriad of colours is truly inspiring. As the Park's wildlife prepare for fall, activity increases as does the opportunity to see or photograph these amazing creatures.
Although a majority of the campsites on the La Cloche Silhouette are reserved for those looking to complete the loop, there is still opportunity for shorter adventures. A great option for solo trippers, start either at the west end and aim for Topaz Lake, or try the “Crack” access to reach Little Superior Lake.
Reaching Topaz for the day is no easy feat. Approximately 10kms each way, this portion of the La Cloche Silhouette brings you to the gem of Killarney Park. Located on a portion of the famous “Pig” portage, it is most often enjoyed by hikers and paddlers en route, but can be an excellent day for those seeking a challenge.
Best times to go:
Peak season in Killarney is definitely in August. Warm weather, minimal bugs, and the last days of summer vacation draw many visitors to Killarney.
Early season certainly brings less traffic and lots of sun, however depending on the year the bugs can be ferocious.
Looking to avoid the crowds? After the first weekend in September (a holiday in Canada) the weather is generally agreeable and availability for late bookers tends to open up!
If it’s the fall colours you seek, early to mid-October (although experiencing cooler temperatures) make for amazing photos.
Kayaking on Philip Edward Island is wonderful all season long. The islands do not experience the same concentration of biting bugs as one would find in the park. The fall, although beautiful does begin to see higher winds and is therefore not recommended for novices.
1. George Lake jumping rocks. Located at the East Beach in George Lake Campground, these rocks are famous among visitors and locals alike for testing bravery!
2. Herbert’s Fish and Chips. World famous for a reason. A must-have post-trip staple meal, located at the end of Highway 637 in Killarney Town.
3. Lighthouse Trail. Beginning in Killarney Town at the Mountain Lodge, or accessible by car (following directions to the airport), the Lighthouse is a fantastic picnic spot for before and after trips.
Jeff’s Map is essential for beginners planning trips.
Killarney Outfitters are ready to answer all your questions and offer trip planning/outfitting services.
And also look out for the Friends of Killarney Park’s La Cloche Silhouette Guide as well as Paddling and Hiking the Georgian Bay Coast by Kas Stone.
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