Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Kids on crack! The hidden gem in Killarney Provincial Park

Kids on Crack!

Welcome to the hidden gem close to Sudbury Ontario on the North Shore of Georgian Bay.  The Killarney Provincial Park offers a unique family adventure with camping, canoeing and hiking trails, including peak seeking. 


The campground contains electrical and non electrical sites and well as 6 heated Yerts you can rent.  We usually bring our trailer with us.  Most sites are both large and private.  You can find more information about the Killarney Provincial Park on their website.   If you don't want to stay at the campground the town of Killarney has a few hotels and the city of Sudbury is not too far away.

La Cloche Silhouette Trail (7-10 days)

This is a 78 km or 48 mile backpacking loop.  The trail head starts at one side of the provincial parks and completes the loop at the other side of the park.  It contains may unique features along the loop including quartzite peaks of the La Cloche Mountain range.  the complete the full loop, it generally takes 7-10 to complete and there are some spectacular campsites along the way.

We completed this trail in our early 20's and loved it.  We plan on doing it again with our children.  However you do not have to do the entire loop to enjoy the trail.  You can do day hikes from the campground as in and out trails.  Just make sure you give yourself enough time to get back to your campsite by retraining your steps back.

Silver Peak (Full day)

Silver Peak does not disappoint.  Silver Peak is 539 metres in elevation.  The granitized rock stands out in the sea of forest.  Cliffs, rock formations and the shores of Georgian Bay are stunning.

The best (and most adventurous for children) to climb to the top of Silver Peak is to enter at Bell Lake by canoe (you can rent these at the lake at the Killarney Outfitters).  Once you get in your canoe, you will see Silver Peak in the distance and so you just canoe towards it for approximately 3 kilometres.  

Silver Peak in the distance
After 3 km of canoeing, you will see a wooden dock near the base of the mountain.  This dock is used to exit the canoes and join up to the Silver Peak trail by foot.  But before leaving your canoe, make sure you lift it to higher ground and flip it over so everything stays dry (paddles, life jackets).

Posing in front of canoes before making trip to Silver Peak

The hike up to Silver Peak is 5.5 kilometres one way so you will want to give yourself plenty of time to get back down as you will still need to canoe back to the outfitters before they close up shop for the night.

Once on the trail, it starts off fairly flat.  The trail is wide (also used for portaging) and easy to hike.  This hike would be spectacular to do in the fall with all of the different colours (on our bucket list of fall hikes!). This part of the trail provides passes through a number of wetlands and hardwood forests and is a great plate to view a variety of wildflowers and ferns. 

Making our way up to Silver Peak

The last hour of the trail is steep and strenuous.  We went fairly slow through this part and took a lot of breaks to catch our breath. On rainy days, this part of the trail could be tricky with slick rocks and loose footing.  Although at times challenging, the strain is worth it once you reach the peak!

At the top of Silver Peak

The top of Silver Peak is memorable.  Although not huge in elevation compared to other mountain ranges, the views are just as spectacular (and arguably more impressive because the views become less clear once you get higher in elevation).  The La Cloche Mountain range is over 2 billion years old and the white quartzite is perhaps the most recognizable feature of the peak as you are fully surrounded by this amazing plateau of white rocks.  

Depending on the year, the peak can provide a great opportunity to pick blueberries.  We filled two water containers of blueberries in a very short time, which we used for blueberry pancakes the next morning).

Picking blueberries 

The Crack (4-6 hours)

The Crack is an 11 km in-out trail, which takes about 6 hours with children (stopping at the top to pick blueberries).  The beginning of the trail is relatively easy with some ups and downs.  Nothing too technical in the early parts of the trail.  Once you get onto the Crack, this section has a split creating a large crevasse.  The crevasse is steep with jagged rocks and is the trickiest part of this hike.  The children in this section stayed close so we could all assist each other up.   

Once you reach the top of the Crack you are treated to a remarkable view and feeling of accomplishment.  The granitized rock is beautiful.  

The views from the top of the Crack is spectacular with views of hardwood forests, white granite rocks and teal blue lakes.  The colour contrast is remarkable and will have you wanting to come back as the pictures will never be able to capture it. 

The White Quartz Ridge was remarkable

Cairn of white granite


Killarney Provincial Park does not disappoint.  The hiking is spectacular and provides wonderful opportunities to complete day hike in combination with canoeing, scramble up a giant crack in the mountain and challenge the family to a longer 7 day hike.  The peaks are breathtaking, the camping is relaxing and the overall scenery is breathtaking.  Who would have thought a mountain range near Sudbury Ontario would be so amazing! 

Added bonus: Make sure you go into the town of Killarney where you can purchase the most amazing fish and chips from the docks of Georgian Bay. Herbert Fisheries is by far an added bonus on this trip and great for a long day hike.

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