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  • Writer's pictureKress

Killarney Provincial Park

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Killarney Provincial Park is one of Ontario’s best-known parks. It’s home to the infamous Crack trail, which has been dubbed one of the toughest day trails in Ontario. A couple of weeks ago, my best friend and I decided we were going to take on all of the day trails in the park. We picked a weekend and planned out our trip. There are certainly more day hikes that can be done in the park, and there is no shortage of places to explore! There are 5 main trails that we had chosen for our adventure:

  • The Crack (Covered in a separate post!)

  • Lake of the Woods

  • Cranberry Bog

  • Granite Ridge

  • Chikanishing

I don’t think it’s realistic to do them all in one day and really enjoy them/complete them. These trails need time to explore and enjoy. Not to mention the difficulty of the trails. Killarney is a wilderness rated park, and when they say rugged they mean rugged. To fully do all the trails in one day would take some pretty hardcore fitness, and hiking right when the sun rises until the sun sets.

It took some planning, prep and dedication to get these trails done in a weekend (and I mean really do them! We hiked them in their entirety and really took time to explore and take in all that they had to offer!) The effort was well worth it, though, and Killarney may just be one of my favourite places in the world. I seriously can’t wait to go back soon!

That being said, here is how the first day of the weekend went! I’ll be posting a downloadable guide to hiking the trails as well so keep your eyes peeled for that!

The welcome centre opens at 8:30 am, so we started there, grabbed a map and headed out to our first trail. We decided to save The Crack for Sunday and the rest of the trails on Saturday. On Saturday, we hit the other 4 trails!

Chikanishing trail:

We started off strong with the Chikanishing trail. This trail offers stunning views of Georgian Bay and was such a lovely way to be welcomed to the park. The trail takes you on pink rocks that are wave-swept from Georgian bay. It was gloomy and raining a little, but that only added to the vibe. We learned quickly on this trail that Killarney is as rugged as they say. The trails are difficult. For comparison, Algonquin’s difficult trails would be rated Killarney’s easy-moderate. There were several times that I almost ate it on the slippery rocks, so be careful! This trail was roughly 2km and features some breathtaking views. I was recently told to go back and take a dip in the water in the summer, and now I’m already planning a summer day trip just for that! We wandered on the rocks admiring the uniqueness of the inlet. As you continue one the loop there are ridges offering views of the water. There are a couple of steep climbs, but it’s so worth it!


  • Some trail markers are painted on the rocks, so keep your eye out for them!

  • The trail says loop but there is a section of it that is an out and back so be aware of that!

  • There is a bridge connecting the main trail to an island where you will have to scramble up a rock to continue the trail! Super fun!

  • Don’t miss out on the informational plaques along the trail that detail some of the park’s history!

Granite Ridge:

We continued on to our next trail, another 2km loop called Granite Ridge. This trail is rated moderate, and it was, in my opinion, accurate. There are a couple of steep climbs to the viewpoints but again, worth it for the beauty. Granite Ridge is the trail I would recommend doing if you aren’t up for The Crack. The views are comparable, and the hike isn’t so long or hard! The trail has beautiful trees, and of course, stunning views of the La Cloche mountains. These mountains were once larger than the Rockies but over time, wore down to what they are now. The hike to the top is quick, and we spent some time sitting at the top enjoying a snack and the views. Sitting at the top, feeling the rain hit my cheeks, it was obvious to me that the rocks in front of me had once been the mightiest of mountains. Killarney feels truly wild, and Granite Ridge offers just a taste of what the park has to offer.


  • Pay attention to trail markers so you don’t get lost!

  • There are a couple of steep climbs! Be ready for them.

  • Take your time at the top. The lookouts are seemingly endless.

  • Be courteous to those who are climbing down. Remember people descending get the right of way!

Cranberry Bog:

This was the longest trail of the day for us, but it had so much to offer! My expectations were low for this trail. The description didn’t tout massive lookouts or dramatic views of the mountains, but I should know by now that the best trails never have the hype they deserve. Cranberry Bog offered beautiful views of the pink stone and lovely forests. I was blown away by the rocky outcrops and lush greenery all around me. It was almost like a rain forest! This trail was sort of hard to find because the trailhead is at the George campground. The parking lot for the trail is about a 1km walk to the trailhead. The trail is also part of the La Cloche Silhouette trail which is part of the 80km backpacking trail. After every turn, I was surprised by something better and better. There’s a lovely little lake you come across near the end of the trail that was the picture of tranquillity, which was my favourite part of the trail. This trail is 100% worth the effort!


  • There is so much to see on this trail, be prepared to take pictures and explore a little!

  • There are some steeper climbs near the end of the trail and some rocky descents.

  • Day trail markers are red, and the backpacking trail markers are blue. Pay attention to which you are following, so you don’t end up on the backpacking trail!

  • This is a great trail to view wildlife so remember your binoculars!

Lake of the Woods:

This trail was hands down my favourite hike I’ve done. This trail is down a road that is outside of the park boundary, and the road is QUITE rocky. We were in a little fiat, and there were times I was not sure we were going to make it. By this time it was 3:00 pm, we were tired and a little delirious from hiking all day. We were killing ourselves laughing at every single pothole we hit. When we pulled into the parking lot there was a guy there getting ready to set off on a backcountry canoe trip and he was 100% judging us for laughing so hard. We started the trail out in high spirits and were absolutely blown away by what we saw. This trail was the first time that I have felt truly isolated and in the wild. There was absolutely nobody on the trail with us, and all you could see from the tops of massive ridges was wilderness. This trail offers a view of Silver Peak, which was breathtaking, and we followed the ridge down to the bottom, where there’s a small lake. This was my favourite part of the whole day. There’s a boardwalk leading to an island where you can sit on the point and admire the isolation before you. Two high ridges are surrounding the lake, truly making you feel like there is nothing else in the world but this trail, this moment. We sat there for quite some time until dark clouds began to roll in, and we had to continue on, hoping to beat the rain. We were unsuccessful and got rained on pretty hard but hiking in the rain is underrated, and it was rejuvenating.


  • Don’t rush this trail! It is only 3km, but there is so much to see!

  • The trail markers are scattered and switch between the red markers in trees and cairns, so be careful to not get lost!

  • The terrain is difficult, and sturdy footwear is needed.

  • The road coming in is rough. I would suggest taking your time and not going in a small vehicle!

We ended our day on a high note, excited to come back the next morning to tackle one of the most iconic trails in Ontario: The Crack. We were tired, but something about Killarney had filled us with adventure and a kind of adrenaline I hadn’t experienced before. These trails are not to be underestimated, but completing them felt so damn good.

Check out my blog post that specifically covers The Crack to learn more!

If you end up going to any of these trails tag me in your social media posts!


Have fun exploring friends!

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