From Manitoulin Island to Milton, the best Ontario hikes take you through a rugged and beautiful landscape of the Niagara Escarpment with hikes that suit all levels and age groups. With short treks to waterfalls or epic hikes through Canada’s oldest and longest footpath, Ontario is an amazing province to enjoy the great outdoors. If you are thinking about exploring Ontario on foot, dive into our list of the best hikes in Ontario.
Best Hikes in Ontario
The best Ontario hikes may not take you through the towering peaks of the Rockies but they do take you through some easily accessible hiking with stunning vistas. Getting outside makes for the perfect day trip in Ontario, so let’s see where to go in Ontario this weekend.
Bruce Trail – Niagara to Tobermory
Beginning in on the US-Canada border in Niagara Falls and running all the way to Tobermory, the Bruce is one heck of an adventure trail. All counted the hike covers 885 km (550 miles). If you are up for the adventure, a thru-hike takes roughly 30 days to complete. The Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest footpath taking you through thick forest, rolling countrysides, and up to huge boulders and cliffs. If you do hike it from end to end, make a note that camping is not possible on the entire section. You can check the Bruce Trail Conservancy for great accommodations at each section of the trail.
Sections of the Bruce Trail
For us mere mortals, the trail is broken up into sections and most people tackle the Bruce Trail on day hikes. Some of our favorite sections of the Bruce Trail are around Hamilton and Milton area or Tobermory and Collingwood. But you can’t go wrong with any section of the Bruce Trail. Hamilton has some of the best waterfall hikes in Ontario while Tobermory has some of the best views in Ontario. Check out all the trail sections here.
Dundas Peak Trail – Hamilton
One of the best hikes to do in the fall is the day hike to Dundas Peak. Just an hour out of downtown Toronto is where you will find Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. The trail begins here and winds along the Niagara Escarpment, beneath the heavy mixed forest. With the sun poking through the orange canopy, the hike is a sight to behold.
But what makes the Dundas Peak Trail one of the favorite hikes among locals, is the multiple waterfalls it passes. Along the way, you will cross by Webster and Tews Falls before ending at the peak’s beautiful lookout.
Coastal Trail – Lake Superior
Tracing the Lake Superior coastline, this epic hike is one of the most challenging but rewarding hikes in Ontario. Within Lake Superior Provincial Park, this trek can take up to 7 days to complete. The trek starts off at Agawa Bay, making its way around Lake Superior to Chalfant Cove. The well-marked trail traverses rocky terrain to jaw-dropping cliffs, dense forest and several storybook beaches. Although there are several exit points, you will want to have a clear weather forecast to enjoy this hike end-to-end.
Pukaskwa Coastal Hike – Lake Superior North Shore
The Pukaskwa Coastal Hike is considered one of the most challenging hiking routes in Canada and it is incredibly beautiful and remote. The Lake Superior Coastal Trail is a 65km route that starts in Agawa Bay and ends at Gargantua Bay. It is a demanding trail that takes several days. For more on this epic coastal trail, check out our hike in Pukaskwa National Park.
Cup and Saucer Trail – Manitoulin Island
Few know that the amazing geology of the Niagara Escarpment continues well into northeastern Ontario. In fact, it helped create the stunning view from the highest point along the Cup and Saucer Trail.
Beginning at the Cup and Saucer trailhead, you will have a couple of options to choose. The 3.4-mile White Trail or the 4-mile Blue Trail. Complete one or both depending on the time you have to explore the area.
Either way, you will enjoy stunning views of the Manitoulin Island cliffs as you stand high above the hardwood forest.
For more tips on what to do on Manitoulin Island, click here.
Stubb’s Falls Trail – Arrowhead Provincial Park
From an all-time epic trek to one of the prettiest waterfall hikes in Ontario, the adventures keep coming. You can put on your running shoes for this trek with a series of rewarding short uphills on your way to Stubb’s Falls. The falls provide the perfect opportunity to have a picnic with friends and family or some quiet nature time with your partner. The ease of the trek, compared to many others on this list, also creates an opportunity to get the young ones out into nature. Arrowhead Provincial Park is a scenic 2.5 hour drive north of Toronto.
Mizzy Lake Trail – Algonquin Provincial Park
To enjoy the Mizzy Lake Trail to its fullest, it is suggested to get out early. This hike is within Algonquin Provincial Park, the king of Ontario Parks. Along the journey, you will pass nine ponds and a series of small lakes, making this trail one of the most picturesque hiking trails in Ontario.
As you come to the north end of Mizzy Lake, the path changes to a boardwalk that carries you to a section frequented heavily by wild animals including moose, otters and it’s a bird watchers paradise. This is why it’s best to be up early to increase your opportunities to spot wildlife. From there, turn into the boreal forest on your way back to the trailhead.
Pines Hiking Trail
As the name suggests, the Pines Hiking Trail presents trekkers with giant, ancient pines. The kind that makes you sit back and realize how small you are. Over the course of the hike, you will have many opportunities to admire the towering trees. But you should also maintain a steady pace in order to reach Pickerel Lake. Here you will find an excellent picnic spot with gorgeous views.
Once you have completed the moderate hike that offers some short steep climbs, the fun doesn’t end there. You will be able to hike a further 1.5 miles along the popular Whiskey Jack Trail.
The ancient glacial landscape found within the Awenda Provincial Park is the setting for one of the best Ontario trails. The Bluff Trail leads you through old-growth forests before guiding you to the top of Nipissing Bluff. A sandy beach that quickly rises to 197ft above.
Although a trail with minimal elevation gain, the length of the Bluff Trail makes it a moderate trek. But all the effort will be worth it with the chance to birdwatch and get amazing views of Georgian Bay. While in the fall, auburn leaves coat the path.
Along the path there are many trails that link up, providing ample opportunity for day trips further into Awenda Provincial Park.
Silver Queen Mine Trail
This well-maintained trail leads you to a historic mica mine that was a major part of the local community in the 20th century. The mine remains partially operational today but is best explored by hiking. Old and young alike will enjoy exploring the restored bunker house that once held the mine’s workers.
Importantly, as it is not a challenging hike, this trail is perfect for families wanting to put an outdoor activity on their Ontario itinerary.
Fire Tower Trail in Restoule
Put on your hiking boots for a little bit of everything along the Fire Flower Trail. This day hike will lead you through boreal forest, across simple boardwalks, and also rugged trails. As you meander around Amber Lake, you will enjoy intermittent views of the beautiful lake. But as tempting as it would be to stop, the views will continue to get better.
Eventually, you will pass the historic fire tower which gave the trail its name. From there, you will embark on a short but challenging climb to a stunning viewpoint. Atop Stormy Lake Bluff, you will see well beyond the sparkling lake and the old-growth forest.
La Vigilance Trail
Combing beautiful scenery and a splash of history along this hiking trail. Starting within the René Brunelle Provincial Park, the trail is well-maintained and a perfect trek for all skill levels.
After a couple of miles, you will arrive at a viewpoint that presents views of Airplane Island. Created as a base for airplanes in the 1920s, Airplane Island helped fight forest fires within Ontario Parks and around the province.
Along the way, you will also find details of a tragic plane crash that occurred two years after the base opened in 1922.
La Cloche Silhouette Trail
Arguably one of the most strenuous hikes in Ontario, the iconic rugged trail is a circuit of the province’s La Cloche Mountains. For those up to the challenge, you will be well rewarded over the 7-day journey.
Beginning within Killarney Provincial Park, the challenging trail takes you deep in to the wilderness. Keep an eye out for nature, with the opportunity to spot bald eagles.
Not everyone will arrive with the necessary gear to tackle one of the hardest Ontario hikes. However, with the help of Killarney Outfitters, you can enjoy exceptional gear and help planning the trip.
Top of the Giant Trail
For the adventurous soul, one of the best Ontario Hikes is in the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. In order to get to the epic Top of the Giant Trail, you will need to trek along the Kabeyun Trail and Talus Lake Trail for 16 km (10.3 miles)
After completing the Talus Lake section, you will have a steep 3km (1.7-mile) hike to the dizzying views of Lake Superior. This trek is for experienced hikers because of the steep climb. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a first aid kit for this remote trek.
The good news, however, is you can enjoy a spot of mountain biking to the end of the scenic and flat Kabeyun Trail.
Barron Canyon Trail
Within the iconic Algonquin Park, you will have an abundance of hiking options to choose from. If you are short on time or prefer something easy, then trek down the Barron Canyon Trail. What it loses in length, it gains with spectacular scenery and offers hikers one of the best lookouts in Algonquin Park. A ledge that hangs 330 ft above the Barron River and offers far-reaching views of the park.
White River Suspension Bridge Hiking Trail
No list of Ontario hikes would be complete without mentioning the renowned White River suspension bridge. This long day trip will take you deep into thick forests, wetlands, and Canadian Shield. About halfway down the trail, you will arrive at a secluded beach within Playter Harbor. Grab a snack and enjoy the views before continuing on.
The bridge has to be seen to be believed. Standing 76ft above Chigamiwinigum Falls and spanning almost 100ft, it is an unforgettable trip across.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I hike in southern Ontario?
Hamilton, London and Milton have several preserves and parks with excellent hiking. Many that connect with the Bruce Trail. The trek to Rattlesnake Point near Milton is a local favorite and great for kids.
Check out our article on the best things to do in Hamilton.
What is the longest trail in Ontario?
The longest trail in Ontario and also the oldest is the Bruce Trail. The trail is 885 km (550 miles) long and generally involves 30 days of hiking. The trail follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, one of thirteen UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Canada. Along the Bruce Trail, you will find over 400 km (250 miles) worth of side trips. If you really want a challenge, you can try to complete the Bruce Trail in record time. The first record was set in 1995 at 14 days.
But if you have time to explore further afield, you will find an untouched wilderness. One shaped by the raw power of ice moving for centuries on end and eventually washed away.
Hiking trails in Ontario are well-marked and easy to follow. Overnight camping is prevalent and outside of Algonquin is easy to book. So with all that in mind and a cheat sheet to the best Ontario hikes, it’s time to get outdoors!
Want to know more about treks around Canada? Check out our guide on the top hikes in Canada.
Ontarians love to hike, so much so that they the town of Haliburton throws the largest hiking festival in Canada. You can read more in our guide on the best things to do in Haliburton.
There are so many places to hike in Ontario we have just barely scratched the surface. Where is your favourite hiking trail? Read next: Things to do in Ontario22 Most Epic and Thrilling Things to do in Ontario
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