Distance hiked: 6.0km
Location: Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: June 28, 2020
As part of our road trip around Lake Superior, we stopped at Killarney Provincial Park for a couple of days. Nestled along the shoreline of Georgian Bay, Killarney is considered a wilderness park in which large areas are left to nature. While there is one small campground, many areas in the park are only accessible by foot or canoe.
Killarney offers a few different hiking options ranging from shorter day-use hiking trails to multi-day hiking trails. The most popular of these trails is The Crack (6km round trip, rated difficult). The trail overlaps with a small section of La Cloche Silhouette Trail (an 80km loop that typically takes between 7 to 10 days to complete) and weaves up the white cliffs of La Cloche Mountains and through a crack to the top of Killarney Ridge. The top of the ridge is reputed to provide the best views in the park.
The trailhead is located 7km east of the George Lake Park Office. We arrived at the parking lot just after 7a.m in an effort to beat the crowds (and the heat).
The trail is well marked with a series of red markers. The first 2km of the trail is relatively flat and uneventful. But after crossing Kakakise Lake, which nears the base of the mountains, the terrain becomes progressively more rough and rugged. This is where the real challenge begins. At this point the trail runs parallel to the La Cloche Silhouette Trail and is marked with red (for The Crack) and blue blazes (for La Cloche Silhouette).
The trail leads to a trail re-route. There’s a sign to indicate that the new section bypasses a steep badly eroded area and the old trail will be rehabilitated to prevent further erosion and encourage growth of natural vegetation. The new trail section adds an extra 300m to the hike, but follows a shallower gradient up the slope.
The trail weaves up and around large white boulders and rocks of the La Cloche Mountains and through a narrow crack between the range.
The trail for The Crack ends at the top of Killarney Ridge, however, continues for La Cloche Silhouette Trail. At the top of the ridge we found a spot in the shade to take a break, eat a snack and soak in the views before heading back down.
It took us just over 3 hours to hike The Crack, but this includes a lengthy break at the top to enjoy the views. We’re glad we got an early start for the hike as it was still reasonably cool outside and we pretty much had the trail to ourselves, or at least the part along La Cloche Mountains. On the way back, we passed a number of other hikers and the parking lot was nearly full when we got back to our car. When we left the park later in the afternoon, there were cars lined up along the road leading to the trailhead.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here
15 thoughts on “Hike #25: The Crack”
So great to be an early riser and beat the heat and crowds for the hike. Thanks for sharing. Stay well. Allan
The morning is our favourite time to hike. There’s also more opportunities to view the wildlife as the roads are still quiet. Thanks for reading.
Enjoyed virtually hiking via your blog! Great photos.
Aw thanks. Hiking is one of the few activities that we’ve been able to do during the pandemic, so I guess it’s a good thing we signed up for the 52 Hike Challenge earlier in the year. It’s a good excuse to explore new provincial parks and trails close to home. Thanks for following along.
That tree at the top, it reminds me so much of the paintings of the Group of Seven and their followers. Thanks for the walk.
After visiting Killarney it’s not hard to see how much the landscape influenced the work of the Group of Seven. There are a few areas along the northern shore of Lake Superior that have these “Moments of Algoma” interpretive installations which usually include a painting and highlight more details about the Group of Seven and their treks along this landscape.
Yet another great hiking trail with such splendid views! We always try to get up early too, especially now with all the social distancing thing. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading about your next hiking adventure.😀 Aiva
It generally pays off to get an early start. You don’t have to worry too much about traffic and parking and the trails are also quieter. In the summer, it’s usually much cooler in the morning too. In retrospect, signing up to complete the 52 Hike Challenge this year worked out quite well during the pandemic. Thanks for following along 🙂
How cool to go through a crack — and a scenic one at that!
Better to go through the crack in the mountains than over them! Despite the challenging terrain, the views from the top of the ridge were worth it.
I always like starting early for all the reasons you mentioned. With my husband now partially retired, he has become my hiking partner. During summer, he has to water all of his plants before we can leave home (it’s a lot). Rarely do we get an early start like you did here. It’s such a beautiful view from the top.
It sounds like he has a lot of plants to water! But it’s better to start your hike later than not start at all. The views are usually better from the top. It was a nice reward after all the rock scrambling to reach the top of the ridge.
I really enjoyed your post with such details . Thanks for the trail.
Thanks for your kind words and for following along. It certainly was an interesting hike, especially the last kilometre of the trail when you’re scrambling up, over, and around large boulders. It was a full body workout.
My pleasure ! 😊