Distance hiked: 6km
Location: Halfway Lake Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: August 9, 2020
Halfway Lake Provincial Park is named after Halfway Lake, which marked the halfway point between the main logging area and the railway line back in the early 1900s when this area was used as a logging camp.
We camped the previous night at Windy Lake Provincial Park where it rained pretty much all throughout the night. We decided to spend the morning hiking at Halfway Lake. After checking in at the park office to get a map of the trails, we set off to hike along the Echo Pond Trail.
At the trailhead there is an interpretive sign to indicate the many forces that have changed the landscape in the park, including a forest fire in 2007 along the western shore of Halfway Lake and a tornado in 2002 that went through the area around Raven Lake and Echo Pond.
To get to the trailhead for Echo Pond, we first had to hike along the Moose Ridge Trail (2km, rated moderate), which follows along the shore of Raven Lake before heading up over a small glacial ridge. The trail is well marked by a series of red markers on the trees, but the path was quite rugged and narrow.
Everything was still damp from all the rain we received the previous night, so some of the rocks and roots were a bit slippery.
The path then leads to a junction, which marks the trailhead for Echo Pond Trail (6km, rated moderate). There is even a map here to assist with navigation.
The trail is signed with yellow markers with a heron symbol, some of which indicate the distance already traveled every kilometre. The path itself is even narrower and there are lots of rocks and roots to hop over, on and around.
The trail passes by the trailhead for Hawk Ridge Trail (15km, rated difficult) which we initially planned to hike, but decided to skip it because (a) the park ranger mentioned it might be in rough shape and (b) we were concerned that it would be even more challenging because everything was still wet. Hard pass.
Along the way we spotted an old thunder box next to the trail complete with a toilet seat. Also a hard pass.
The trail continues to follow along the shore of Raven Lake.
The path then leads over part of a steeper ridge system before heading to the west shore of Echo Pond. Near the end of the trail, there’s a lookout tower with a viewing platform that provides a nice view overlooking the forest and Echo Pond.
The trail loops back with the Moose Ridge Trail for the last stretch and eventually leads to the parking lot. In total it took us 1.5 hours to complete the hike.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here
19 thoughts on “Hike #36: Echo Pond Trail”
Looking at the thunder box, I can only imagine using it in an emergency. Too bad about the wet conditions. Stay well and thanks for sharing. Allan
This was the first I’ve seen a pit toilet so close to a hiking trail and with no privacy. It’s also a relatively short trail (6km), so begs the question why it’s even there. Either way, it gave me a good laugh because it was so unexpected. I also love that someone put a toilet seat on it. Take care.
Wonderful photos in spite of the weather. Thanks for sharing your park trip with us.
The weather could have been worse, at least it wasn’t raining! Glad we were able to still get out and go for a hike. The clouds cleared up later in the morning and we had fabulous weather for the rest of the day. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Lovely as always. I like those yellow markers on the trees to let hikers know what’s ahead and behind. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve always appreciated trails that are well marked. Sometimes the path is obvious, but other times not so much. Especially if you’re hiking in the fall or winter. I like that some of the markers are different depending on the park. The markers for this trail indicated the distance travelled every kilometre, which was nice.
It speaks well for trail management. Your places always look well-marked and accessible. Maybe that’s just a good Canadian thing!!
Great post and fantastic photos, guys! Reaching the lookout tower and taking in those stunning views from the viewing platform has to be one of the best parts of the hike. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva
Thanks for your kind words. The lookout tower was a bit sketchy, but it did provide a good viewing platform, which overlooked the surrounding area. I’ve always enjoyed trails with viewing platforms too. They make for some good photo ops. Take care.
What a strange place for a thunder box. As Allan said, would need to be quite the emergency!
Great photos. The viewing platform is a nice hike reward. 🙂
Ha, agreed! It was so random and unexpected. By the looks of it, it’s probably been there for a really long time.
Just when I thought there are no more parks to learn about, I learn about another new one! ☺️ And that uh box doesn’t look very appealing with that moss green layer on top! 🤣
Do you keep a diary that you then transcribe into your posts? Your level of detail from a trip a few months old is great!
I’ve done my fair share of camping in the backcountry and that was by the far the worst thunderbox I’ve seen! I keep a travel journal and usually write in it at the end of each day while the details are still fresh in my mind. I’m just incredibly behind in writing up about my adventures!
You’ve got an extra decade in 2020 to catch up in your writing! 😅
Haha, that’s so true. It’s not like I’m overly busy these days anyway!
I like the narrow passage between the trees, it keeps surprising as you go along. It’s a chance to have this lookout tower to overlook the landscape, this is what is missing on a rather flat and wooded trail.
I was very thankful that the trail was well-marked otherwise it might have been a bit challenging to follow the path given how narrow it is. I always enjoy trails with a lookout platform. It gives such a nice view of the surrounding area and makes me appreciate how vast the wilderness is.
Such a pretty area. I have never heard of a thunder box before. I assume it’s an outhouse without the house. 🙂
These thunder boxes are quite common in the backcountry here in Ontario. This one was a bit strange as it had a toilet seat around the hole, there was no cover/lid for the thunder box, and it was right next to the trail. But yes, it’s essentially an outhouse without the house. I actually prefer them to covered outhouses as they are generally less stinky.