Hike #35: Wendat Trail

Distance hiked: 4.5km
Location: Awenda Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: August 8, 2020

Awenda Provincial Park is located on a peninsula along the shores of Georgian Bay. It features several sandy beaches and a variety of easy to moderate hiking trails that range in length from 1km to 13km. In August we embarked on another Northern Ontario road trip, stopping first at Awenda Provincial Park. What better way to spend our first day than hiking and swimming, which are some of our favourite activities.

We arrived at Awenda the night before and camped here. We started our day off by hiking along the Wendat Trail. Wendat means “island dwellers” or “dwellers of the peninsula” and was named after the Iroquoian-speaking people who lived in this area between 1200 to 1650. Archaeologists believe that at least two historic Wendat villages were located in Awenda Provincial Park.

The Wendat Trail is wide, relatively flat and well marked. It passes through a forest, and features geological formations.

The trail loops around Kettle Lake and there are two viewing platforms along the way.

The lake is thought to be a kettle lake formed by the gradual melting of a large buried piece of ice left behind by retreating glaciers.

The trail also passes the foundations of the Brabant farmstead house and barn. Attempts to farm this area in the 1930s and 40s failed due to the quality (or lack thereof) of the sandy soil. Oliver Brabant and his wife Charlotte sold their property to Frederick William Grant, a Toronto lawyer and former Midland resident. Upon Grant’s death, his land was sold to Horace James Kettle. Kettle and his son harvested a variety of different trees, including maple, ash, beech and oak. The lake that the trail loops around is named after the Kettle family.

In 1963, the Ontario government purchased Kettle’s land, including the lake, making it the largest single land purchase for what has become Awenda Provincial Park.

We hiked counterclockwise along the loop. While the trail mostly passes through the forest, there is a small section near the end that crosses a marsh.

Overall it took us just over an hour to finish the trail. The best part of hiking later in the summer is that there were hardly any bugs.


My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

19 thoughts on “Hike #35: Wendat Trail

  1. Ab says:

    I don’t remember Kettle Lake or the boardwalk from when we visited Awenda so I will definitely have to keep an eye out for it next time. Looks very scenic!

    And I’ve really grown to love and enjoy the clear Ontario lake water! Would be nice right now!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There are a few boardwalk sections along Wendat Trail, which are always my favourite. It’s a nice hike and the path is wide and relatively flat. It truly is amazing just how many lakes are in Ontario! We’re hoping to snowshoe along this trail in the winter (assuming there’s snow).

  2. ourcrossings says:

    Reading about your hiking adventures in Ontario, I had to use Google to see how many parks are in your part of the world. I was surprised to find out that there are over 330 Ontario parks. It’s safe to say, you’ll never run out of trails to explore.

    The boardwalks look fabulous and the trail is so scenic. Can’t wait to read about your autumn hikes; I’m just dying to see fall colours. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, it’s amazing how many provincial parks we have here in Ontario. And there’s clearly a high demand for them as they are usually busy, especially this year because of the pandemic. One of our goals for next year (assuming travel restrictions remain in place) is to see how many Ontario provincial parks we can visit. Last year Ontario Parks came up with these super adorable park crests for 84 of the parks that come in the form of either a sticker or a patch. We’re hoping to collect as many as we can. We’re planning to do some hiking this weekend since the weather looks reasonable. Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s a completely different hiking experience when you’re not stressed about being eaten alive by mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies or horse flies! And this is why the Fall is my favourite time of the year to hike! Thanks for reading.

  3. Lookoom says:

    Beautiful setting, there are so many boardwalks that you can hardly see the ground. It is both more practical in wet areas and protects against excessive stomping. Thank you for taking the time to show it off.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I happen to love trails with a boardwalk. I find I don’t have to pay as much attention to the ground as the boardwalk is relatively flat and doesn’t have any obstacles like roots or rocks, so I’m able to see more of my surroundings. Plus, boardwalks are just always fun to photograph. And agreed, they are much more practical in marshy areas and help protect the flora and fauna (and my feet from getting wet!).

  4. Ohana and Friends Travel says:

    When I read of your hiking adventures and explorations, it really makes me long for the day when I can travel safely again and explore these gems on my own. What beautiful photos of the trail. I am one who always stops and read the informational and historical signs along the trails, so I appreciate hearing the stories. Thanks for sharing your hikes. –Andrea

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! The informational signs are a great way to learn more about the history or geology of a certain area. It’s a mini workout for the brain while you are also working out your body. It’s great!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’ve really been getting into trails that lead around or through a wetland, especially this fall when the buggies are all gone. I just find these areas so incredibly scenic. And the trails usually feature some sort of boardwalk. Hoping to come back to this park in the winter to do some snowshoeing.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The fall is my favourite time of the year to travel and hike. I’ve always wanted to go to Colorado and visit Rocky Mountain National Park. I bet it’s even more scenic with all the fall foliage. And it shouldn’t be as busy.

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