Distance hiked: 12.0km
Location: Frontenac Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: February 15, 2020
For the Family Day long weekend we drove up to Frontenac Provincial Park in the hopes that it would have more snow that we had back home in Toronto. Frontenac Provincial Park is located just north of Kingston and is situated above an ancient granite ridge connecting the Canadian Shield to the Adirondack Mountains. It is an all season park and provides a range of recreational activities in the winter, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter camping.
We arrived at the park just before 12:30p.m and checked in at the Park Office to get our parking permit and a map of the park. We then set on a very ambitious hike along the Bufflehead Trail (8km roundtrip).
And for those that are wondering what a bufflehead is, they are very small, compact ducks with large, rounded heads and short, wide bills. I’m not sure whether the trail got its name because it somewhat resembles a Bufflehead or whether these types of ducks are frequently found in the beaver ponds along the trail (or both?).
In order to get to the trailhead to the Bufflehead Trail, we first had to hike along the Corridor Trail, a linear trail that starts at the parking lot adjacent to the Park Office and ends at the south shore of Big Salmon Lake. The park is well marked and has signs at each junction to assist with navigation.
The path was well trodden as it serves as both a cross-country ski path, hiking trail, and a route to a few campsites for (brave) backcountry winter campers.
We followed the path for a couple of kilometres until we reached the trailhead for the Bufflehead Trail, which overlaps with part of the longer Arkon Lake Loop Trail.
The trail meanders through the forest, around frozen beaver ponds and over the barren granite forming part of the Canadian Shield. There are also a few other campsites accessible from this trail in clusters 6, 7 and 8. In case you’re wondering, the campsites are available all year-round. From November to April, campsites are available on a first come first serve basis.
The nice thing about hiking in the winter (besides the fact that there are no bugs), is that the forest is just so quiet. The Bufflehead Trail was far less travelled compared to the Corridor Trail and we only encountered one other pair of hikers.
And just when we thought we couldn’t possibly handle another downhill (followed by an uphill), the trail levels off and loops back with the Corridor Trail.
The remainder of the path is relatively flat and loops back to the parking lot. Overall it took us 2.5 hours to complete the hike. From here, it’s a 1.5 hour to get to the cabin, which is where we planned to stay for the weekend.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here