Distance hiked: 5km
Location: Darlington Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: October 18, 2020
Located along the sandy shores of Lake Ontario, Darlington Provincial Park boasts of providing a variety of recreational activities such as swimming, hiking, birdwatching, fishing and boating. It is also conveniently located right off Highway 401 and it is open all year-round.
We initially planned to go to the cabin this weekend, but I had to do some work on Saturday. Instead we stayed home and ate like monsters. So on Sunday we decided to get some fresh air, go for a hike and enjoy what remains of the fall colours. We decided to go to Darlington Provincial Park since it’s located close to Toronto.
We arrived at the park just after 10a.m. The visitor centre and park office were closed for the season, so we instead used the self-service machine located behind the Registration Office in the parking lot. From here we set off to hike along the Burk Trail (2.25km, rated moderate).
The path weaves through a meadow and forest and features a scenic lookout over Lake Ontario.
The path also passes by the Pioneer Cemetery. In October 1794, three families (the Conants, Trulls and Burks) landed on the shores of Lake Ontario and were considered the first settlers to arrive in the Darlington area. They came from New York State in response to Governor Simcoe’s offer of free land to any man over 18 years of age. The cemetery contains a single gravestone. It is here where some of the members of the Burk family were buried.
Once we looped back to the parking lot, we followed along the Campground Trail to get down to the beach. Along the way we passed the Darlington Pioneer Home, which used to serve as the visitor centre. The original cabin was built in 1832 for a family of twelve. In 1967, the home was moved and rebuilt as a centennial project to commemorate the early settlers.
We then headed down to the beach. The north shore of Darlington is considered an important area for many birds. The natural habitats of this area provide nesting grounds for nearly 100 species of birds and feeding and resting areas for between 100 to 200 more species during spring and fall migration.
We walked along the beach and then set off to find the Robinson Creek Trail (1km, rated easy). It was a bit unclear where the trailhead was, and we had to backtrack a bit, but eventually we found it. The trail weaves through the forest and follows along Robinson Creek.
Afterwards we walked back down to the beach and found the trailhead for the McLaughlin Bay Trail (1.5km, rated easy). The path starts near a marshy area before weaving through the forest.
From there we walked along the road for a bit until we reached the Waterfront Trail. We followed this for a few hundred metres back to the main parking lot near the park office.
We finished up all the trails in Darlington shortly after 12p.m and headed back home. While we would never camp here (the campsites don’t offer much in terms of privacy and you can hear the nearby traffic from the highway), it was a nice area that is relatively close to Toronto to explore.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here