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  • Writer's pictureKress

Hiking Top of the Giant

If you live in Ontario, there's one hiking trail that stands above the rest for day hiking. Hikers who complete it wear a badge of honour, and it's well known for its status as one of the best day hikes in all of Ontario. That trail is, of course, Top of the Giant in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

For my birthday, I road-tripped up to the part to do this bucket-list-worthy hike. It was the most difficult day hike I've ever done. Read on to find out just how hard it is, if it's worth it, and some tips and tricks I learned along the way!

Here's the info on trail stats:

  • Listed as 21.8km long from the park.

  • It's linear (so 11km one way)

  • 577 metres of elevation gain (according to AllTrails)

  • Originates from the Kabeyun South trailhead

  • Takes 6-8 hours

Here's the ONLY thing... it's not ACTUALLY 21 km long.

The iconic lookout we all know is a little bit PASSED the "Top of the Giant" lookout. It's known as the "gorge," and it's about 1.5km one way from the summit of the trail. The "Top of the Giant" lookout is STUNNING, but it isn't the iconic one that's always used in photos. I didn't know that before I started the trail, so we spent some time looking for the cliffs that are the feature of every picture from Top of the Giant. There's also the option to add another kilometre to see the Sea Lion, which is an amazing rock formation along the shoreline of Lake Superior. We decided to go see the Sea Lion, and I'm happy we did! It's beautiful. This, plus the gorge, put our total hike distance at closer to 27km.

You start from the Kabeyun trailhead, and the first 6km of the trail are rather easy. So easy in fact, many people actually bike it. We didn't, but it would save a lot of time!

You follow the Kabeyun trailhead for 5.8km before branching off towards the Talus Lake and following that trail for 1.5km. After that, you will branch off for the 3.3km climb to the top of the giant. The walk until the ascent is all forested, but once yous start ascending the views don't stop!

Up until that 3.3 km, the trail is basically flat and not technical. However, when you do reach that trail junction it turns into an incredibly steep ascent that is some of the most challenging hiking I've done to date. There are stairs and switchbacks, as well as benches for rest along the way.

I can't stress enough how hard this part of the trail is. Take your ability into consideration, and be prepared with lots of water, snacks, and proper footwear. While I was hiking down from the lookout, I saw multiple people along the easy part of the trail in flip-flops and no water. Don't be the reason for a rescue. Be smart and plan!

All that being said, the views that reward you at the top are some of the most breathtaking I've ever seen. This trail is 100% worth the effort that it takes to get to the top.


  • There is basically 0 service in the park, so download maps beforehand.

  • The bugs while I was there were so bad. Pack bug repellent!

  • Budget 10 hours to do this trail. Give yourself lots of time.

  • Pay attention to the trail junction signs so you know where you are!

  • Pack lots of snacks and LOTS of water!

This trail was everything an adventure lover needs! It has it all. If it isn't already on it, add this trail to your bucket list, it's 10/10!

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