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