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  • Writer's pictureKress

Hiking The Crack at Killarney Provincial Park

Here it is. The big one. One of the most iconic trails in Ontario: The Crack. Over a weekend my best friend and I hiked all the day trails at Killarney Provincial Park. If you haven’t read the post for the first half of our weekend, go check that out! We did 4 out of the 5 trails at the park on Saturday, so if you haven’t read about that adventure yet go check that out! We saved The Crack for Sunday, best for last. This trail is so iconic to Ontario that I just had to cover this trail with its own blog post. Here, I’m going to cover the trail, how to do a day trip to Killarney and see as much as you can, and some tips and tricks I learned from my experience!

First things first: the trail is challenging. They aren’t kidding when they give it a strenuous rating. For an experienced hiker, the first portion of the trail is relatively easy before you start to climb up the mountain. You read that right - mountain. To complete the trail you’ll need to scramble up boulders and do some serious climbing to get to the top. Even for experienced hikers, this can be difficult, so be aware of your skill level! The trail is 6km(ish) in total and is an out and back trail. I would also suggest getting there as soon as you can to avoid the crowd. By 10 am there are cars lined out the parking lot and down the road.

We got to the trail at 8:30 on the dot and there were 3 or 4 other cars already in the lot, but nothing crazy! We started out on our trek as the sun peeked through the fall colours. We followed a well-groomed path for about 1.5km before we came to a river crossing. The boardwalk was flooded, but that just added to the fun! There's also a 600-meter detour after crossing the bridge! The park is trying to conserve a portion of the trail that is badly eroded. Respect the detour! There are several steep climbs 2km in, and the final stretch to the top is climbing and views galore! I mentioned in my last post that this trip to Killarney Provincial Park was the first time I felt like I was truly in the wild. Flooded bridges and steep climbs just solidified that feeling.

After the first couple climbs we came up to the first of the views. We weren’t even at the top yet and it already felt like we were on top of a mountain. You can see as far as Georgian Bay, and the forest stretches on forever. We kept climbing, following the marked cairns, until we came to the most technical part of the hike, where the trail gets its namesake: a massive divide in the mountain filled with rocks for you to manoeuvre to the top. It is technical but the payoff of the views from the top are incredibly worth it. The view waiting for us was breathtaking. This is one of the most popular trails in Ontario and for good reason.

When I first got into hiking, The Crack was on my bucket list, and here I was, sitting at the top taking it all in. There’s a special sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing off one of your top bucket list hikes and I was mildly emotional sitting there. We even got the chance to see an Eagle soaring over the trees. The whole thing was just such an incredible experience.


  • Sturdy footwear is a MUST.

  • Get there early to avoid the crowd.

  • Always start a trail with plenty of time before the sun sets. This trail is difficult so expect it to take more time than you usually take on hikes!

  • Be respectful at the top and let everyone get that shot for the gram!

  • The top of this trail is not the iconic Silver Peak. That is a whole other trail! You can get to Silver Peak via The Crack, but it’s lengthy (40km ish). You can paddle to Silver Peak for a day trip or visit it on a separate trip while backpacking the La Cloche Silhouette Trail. Definitely going to be adding this to my list!

Tips to make the most of your day trip to Killarney:

  • Get up EARLY! Aim to be at your first trail by 8:45 at the latest! The visitors centre opens at 8:30. Make sure you get your day pass and a map for the park!

  • Plan your route so that you start with the trail that is deepest in the park first and work your way out. I mentioned in my last post that I don’t think it’s realistic to do all the trails in one day. You could do it, but I don’t think you’d really get the most of the trails. They have so much to explore and endless views, so you really want to take your time on them! I would spread them out over two days at least and camp in the park if possible!

  • Pack lots of water and snacks. The trails are hard, and you need to keep your strength up.

  • Do your research and consider your skill level. There’s nothing like an injury to ruin a day trip!

  • Remember your camera! There are endless photo ops here and lots of opportunities to see wildlife on the less populated trails like Cranberry Bog!

  • Remember to rest and hydrate! I can’t say this enough!

As we left the park for the last time I felt accomplished but a little sad. Killarney had been so incredible to us. I felt so incredibly alive hiking there, and I can’t wait to go back.

Bonus tip if you made it this far:

We found a secret lookout at the top of the crack. Take a hard left and see if you can find it! If you do, tag me in your pictures - @explorewithkress or #explorewithkress! The lookout is incredible, so get that shot for the gram!

Have fun exploring!

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