Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2020
Halfway Lake Provincial Park is located near Sudbury. In the early 1900s, there was a logging camp on the shores of Halfway Lake, which was half way between the main logging area and the railway line where the logs were loaded for their trip to the sawmill. The park contains more than a dozen lakes, offers four hiking trails that weave through the different habitats in the park, and has a mix between front country camping (215 sites) and backcountry camping (10 interior sites that are accessible by canoe and 5 interior sites that are accessible by foot).
We camped at Windy Lake Provincial Park the previous night and planned to spend the morning hiking at Halfway Lake, which is located about 30 minutes from Windy Lake. We arrived at Halfway Lake just after 9a.m.
We checked in at the park office to ask about the trails and for a map of the park. Two of the trails, Hawk Ridge and Osprey Heights, were closed this season due to the pandemic. However, the park ranger indicated that that just meant that the trails were not maintained and we could still technically hike them. In fact, his friend hiked Osprey Heights a few weeks ago and indicated that the trail was in relatively good shape.
We first decided to hike along the two trails that were open, starting first with the Moose Ridge Trail (2km, rated moderate), which connects with the Echo Pond Trail to form a longer loop. Moose Ridge Trail 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.
The path then leads to a junction, which marks the trailhead for Echo Pond Trail (6km, rated moderate). 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 also passes by the trailhead for Hawk Ridge Trail (15km, rated difficult), but that seemed too intense even for us. We continued following along the shore of Raven Lake.
The path then leads up and 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 platform that provides a nice view overlooking Echo Pond.
The trail loops back with the Moose Ridge Trail and leads back to the parking lot. We finished hiking these two trails at around 11a.m and drove to an empty campsite to make an early lunch and strategize about what to do next.
We decided to hike along the Osprey Heights Trail (6km, rated moderate) even though it wasn’t maintained this season. The trailhead is located a few kilometres north of the park office on the east side of Highway 144. The trail weaves through the forest and gets down to business right away. There’s a series of wooden steps to help with the climb up the rocky hills of the Canadian Shield.
The trail is well signed with blue markers on the trees. The path continues to wind through the forest and along rocky outcrops, sometimes providing nice views along the edge of the cliff.
The trail eventually leads to Antrim Lake. There’s a viewing platform, complete with a picnic table, that provides a nice view overlooking the lake and surrounding area. We took a break here to eat a snack and enjoy the views. By this time the clouds were starting to clear.
The trail then loops back west, through the mossy forest and back to the parking lot. Despite the fact that the path wasn’t maintained this season, it was in pretty good shape. And we didn’t get lost.
When we finished up we drove down to the beach area to check it out. There’s a large sandy beach and buoyed swimming area. We contemplated going swimming, but decided to head back to our campground and go swimming at Windy Lake instead.
Hiking in Halfway Lake Provincial Park was a nice way to spend the morning.
38 thoughts on “Halfway Lake Provincial Park”
Beautiful views of Antrim Lake. You would almost think you were in the mountains, especially with all the shield rock you had to climb to get up there. Looks like a great place to hike. Thanks for sharing. Allan
It was hard for me to believe that I was still in Ontario! The hiking in Halfway Lake, and just Northern Ontario in general, is fantastic. You really get a sense that you are just surrounded by nature and are all alone. We didn’t pass a single hiker on the Osprey Heights trail. It was great. Thanks for reading.
Beautiful photos, as always. Just curious: Have you ever sighted a moose or osprey on your hikes? I would be delighted (and frightened) to see a moose. An osprey, however, would definitely tie me up while I tried to get a good photo from a distance.
We’ve spotted a moose twice while hiking. Once when we were in Newfoundland a few years ago and the other back in July when we were hiking in Lake Superior Provincial Park. The latter encounter was definitely a bit frightening because of how big the moose was and how close we were to it. Luckily it wasn’t very aggressive, mostly scared, and just stumbled deeper into the bush. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen an osprey while hiking, not even on the Osprey Heights Trail in Halfway Lake.
Great sightings of moose, but I, too, would have been terrified. Don’t give up on osprey. Someday you’ll find one unexpectedly just as you did the moose.
That’s so true. It’s always when you least expect it too. Someday!
Your post takes me back many years to a trip to Manitoulin Island, during which we traveled through Sudbury and seen the great nickel. It is gorgeous country. Thanks for sharing your experiences and your photos. It looks like a wonderful place to hike and enjoy the great outdoors.
We wanted to visit Manitoulin Island on our Northern Ontario road trip, but we just didn’t seem to have enough time. I’ve heard it’s beautiful. Assuming that travel restrictions remain in place next year, we’re planning on going there next summer. And yes, that giant nickel certainly is one of the highlights in Sudbury!
Manitoulin is gorgeous. Ontario is such a huge province, I think it would take a life time to see it all. I especially love Northern Ontario and also Northwestern Ontario, such gorgeous country!
For sure. I tend to take where I live for granted and haven’t really explored much of Ontario until this year. I’m certainly more appreciative of all the provincial parks and conservation areas we have to enjoy. Visiting Northern Ontario was easily the highlight of my summer.
It’s easy to see why, I would have loved to spend time in Algonquin Park, sadly I never had the opportunity. And the little I did see of North Bay, Burks Falls, Orillia and all point north and northwest made me want to come back. It’s easy to see why the Group of Seven painted so many scenes of the north.
Algonquin is one of my favourite places in Ontario. We try to visit every summer and we usually pick a spot up north near North Bay as it’s much more secluded. It’s a great place that’s relatively close to Toronto that you can escape the crowds and just be surrounded by nature. And agreed, it’s so easy to see how and why Algonquin and other areas in Northern Ontario inspired the Group of Seven.
It’s nice to learn more about this park. Will definitely add it to our list to do a stop at next summer. And nice to see more pictures – love those nice and scenic lookout points.
Many of the hikes in Northern Ontario feature some sort of viewing platform or scenic lookout. And it’s not hard to see why. You’re just completely surrounded by nature, so naturally everything is scenic from above. Halfway Lake and Windy Lake are both really close to Sudbury, which is very convenient. It’s funny because prior to this summer, I really didn’t think there was much out by Sudbury. But turns out there are a lot of great hikes and other sights to see.
Thanks! It’s good to know this about Sudbury. It’s on our to do list next summer as we want to do Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory for sure. Ahh. If only next summer dan be here soon!
If only. The area around Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory is so gorgeous. We’re hoping to drive up through there next summer and take the ferry across to Manitoulin Island.
Yah, the ferry is on our wishlist too. It looks awesome. I do suspect road trips will be more popular next summer and thus more crowded too.
Ugh, for sure. I’m trying to plan all my road trips for next year now so when the Ontario parks reservation window opens, I’m ready to book!!
Good luck! Hope you get good spots. We won’t be deciding closer as we may end up doing the East Coast to visit family if they allow us too.
We were initially planning on visiting Atlantic Canada during the summer, but ended up going on a second road trip around Northern Ontario because the restrictions remained in place out East. Fingers crossed for next year. It’s hard to plan with all this uncertainty.
Beautiful! I love the view from the picnic table. It was nice that you were able to hike the trails even though they were officially closed (good that the park ranger was flexible). I assume these trails wouldn’t get super crowded even when open?
Yes, despite being closed, the Osprey Heights Trail was in really good shape and glad the park ranger noted we could still hike it. The terrain was tough, but the views were great. Apparently the summer was really busy at all the provincial parks in Ontario, including in Northern Ontario. However, the trails in Northern Ontario were never really busy and we hardly encountered other hikers. It was fantastic.
Really nice location and the lake photo is great! 🙂
Agreed, glad we were able to explore more around this area even though some of the hiking trails were closed. The view above the lake was easily the highlight of the Osprey Heights Trail. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Beautiful vistas! There’s something very Rockies-like about some of your photos. I haven’t been to this park but it felt familiar. 🙂
Agreed!! I was surprised at how rocky and hilly this area is. It was hard for me to believe that I was still in Ontario. The hiking was definitely more challenging compared to in southern Ontario.
Beautiful photos and beautiful views. The viewing platform with the picknick table has to be one of the most scenic places where you can stop and fuel up. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva
I’m always amazed to come across a picnic table mid-way through a hike. How did they get it up there? Same with the other materials to build the viewing platform. It was nice to be able to take a break, eat a snack, and just enjoy the views from the surrounding area. Thanks for reading. Take care.
I have a bit of trouble understanding the link between the pandemic and the maintenance of the trail, which seems an easy excuse. The last pictures with the blue sky have a lot of charm.
I’m not sure why some of the trails were closed for the season because of the pandemic either. This happened at a few other parks we visited as well. It might have been because many parks opened later in the season and just didn’t have time to deal with maintenance on some of the trails that aren’t well travelled. Either way, glad we were still able to hike along the Osprey Heights Trail as the views along the way were lovely.
Beautiful landscape and great views!
I still can’t get over how incredibly scenic Northern Ontario is. The one up-side to the pandemic is that I’ve had more time this summer to explore what’s in my home province of Ontario. Thanks for reading and commenting.
My pleasure! Thanks for sharing!
I needed to see some beautiful nature in Canada! Thanks for sharing!
I’m amazed and incredibly thankful that Canada’s wilderness is so vast and pristine. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Beautiful photos, good reviews. Short, clear and dense. Hiking and camps area? Thanks for sharing. Allan.
Thanks for your kind words. We visited Halfway Lake last summer and had such a wonderful time that we decided to come back. The scenery is fantastic, but it’s too bad that we didn’t see a moose.