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
4 thoughts on “Hike #7: Bufflehead Trail”
Such a scenic place to go for a winter hike and I just love how you don’t let the winter keep you grounded! It’s been raining non stop in Ireland for weeks now, and even when the rain stops the forest trails are often too muddy to manage, so we have no option, but wait for the spring! Do you guys wear snowshoes or just ordinary hiking boots while hiking in winter? Thanks for sharing and have a good day. Aiva
I really enjoy hiking in the winter. It’s usually more challenging because of the snow and ice and navigation can be a bit tricky, but everything just looks so pristine and magical blanketed in a layer of snow. Everything around you is so quiet and more often than not, there is no one else on the trail. Plus the bugs are usually never an issue. We usually always bring our snowshoes in the car just in case, but only wear them if the snow is pretty deep and it looks like there haven’t been many people on the trail. Otherwise we just wear our hiking boots. Thanks for reading.
A real winter wonderland. Looks great. Allan
My thoughts exactly! Got to enjoy it while it lasts!