Silent Lake Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: January 2021

Located near Bancroft, Silent Lake Provincial Park is open all year-round and boasts of offering a variety of activities for every season. During the winter, there are over 34km of groomed cross-country ski trails, around 8km of snowshoe trails and ice fishing is permitted on the lake. The park also offers a number of winter camping options including 7 yurts, 10 camp cabins, and a number of electrical sites that are plowed and accessible for tent or RV campers. There is even a winterized comfort station in the day-use area.

We decided to spend the long weekend up at the cabin to celebrate New Year’s. Overnight we received 10cm of snow and woke up to a magical winter wonderland. After eating breakfast, we drove to Silent Lake, which is located about an hour and a half west of the cabin. We arrived at the park just before 11a.m and picked up a patch for Silent Lake.

Since Silent Lake is open all-year round, most of the roads in the park are maintained in the winter and were plowed by the time we rolled in. We drove to the parking lot on the eastern side of the park, which marks the trailhead for Bonnie’s Pond Trail (3km).

The trail winds through the forest and follows the shores of a large beaver pond. Despite all the snow, the trail was well marked and easy to follow. It also helped that there were footprints in the snow to help guide us in the right direction.

The sun was shining and it was quite pleasant outside (just below freezing). It felt good to be back hiking again after completing the 52 Hike Challenge last year. The trail also features a scenic lookout over the lake.

From the scenic lookout, it’s a short walk back to the parking lot. From there we drove to the other parking area on the opposite side of the park where the heated washrooms are located. There are a few cross-country ski trails that originate here. We walked down to the lake and took a few pictures.

We then drove back to the other parking lot to check out the remaining snowshoe trail. Snowshoeing is permitted on a few kilometres of the Yellow Ski Trail (from junction D to E and from E to F). We didn’t walk far along this as the snow was deep and it was more or less all the same stuff. This trail looked like it would be much better for cross-country skiing. Instead we turned around.

We hopped in the car and drove back to the cabin to spend the remainder of the afternoon by the wood stove.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

49 thoughts on “Silent Lake Provincial Park

  1. kagould17 says:

    There is nothing like a winter hike on a sunny blue sky day to lift the spirits. Love the strong low angle light and the shadows. They make for such interesting photos. Thanks for sharing your trip. Stay well. ALlan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, it was such a beautiful day to go for a hike. The sun was shining, we had lots of fresh snow and it wasn’t windy or too chilly. It’s always good to take advantage of the nice weather while we can. Thanks for reading and commenting. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. We’ve been spending so much time cooped up indoors because of the pandemic so we’ve been trying to explore new places in Ontario on weekends to shake things up and get some fresh air. It can be a bit of a struggle in the winter, but we had fabulous weather this day. The igloo was a nice surprise, it would be neat to try to make one someday.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Not all provincial parks in Ontario have their own patch, but just over 80 of the more popular ones do. Ontario Parks came out with them a few years ago and I only recently started to collect them. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them all, but they are really nice.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        You must have quite the collection then. I’ve been collecting the Starbucks You are Here series mugs and then of course they changed the look and feel of them completely and introduced a whole new collection. So then I stopped. And now I have all these mugs that I’m not quite sure what to do with. They take up a lot of space in my cupboard. So now I’ve moved onto the Ontario Parks patches because that’s the only “travelling” that I’m able to do these days. It’s always nice having a souvenir from your trip.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, the snow makes everything look so magical, especially when the sun is shining. The cabin definitely feels more cozy in the winter. It’s so quiet and relaxing. We’re hoping to head back there next weekend.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s nothing better than going for a hike in the winter after a fresh snowfall. Luckily this is a pretty popular trail and the snow didn’t obstruct the markers, so it was easy to navigate. The designated snowshoe trail was pretty short, only 3km, so we weren’t out too long. Thanks for reading.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ontario has been under a strict lockdown since December 26th, but thankfully provincial parks remained opened. It was nice to be able to get away, spend time at our cabin, and explore Silent Lake Provincial Park. The snow made everything feel more magical and cozy.

  2. ourcrossings says:

    Wow, what a stunning place to celebrate New Year’s and I am so glad to finally see a winter hiking post! You know by now that I love snow and these kind of posts always make me jump from joy! Isn’t amazing how winter transforms a trail. The hiking is beautiful, and snow can cover and even out rocky, rooty paths, sometimes making them easier than in the other seasons. Thanks for sharing and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You and me both!! Despite the cold, I actually really enjoy the winter because of the snow. We’ve unfortunately had a mild start to the winter and the day before there was hardly any snow on the ground. So when I woke up to a fresh layer of snow outside, there was only one thing to do: play outside in it. You’re absolutely right, it can totally transform an otherwise ordinary trail into something that looks like a winter wonderland. And the downhills are definitely easier in the snow. Take care.

  3. Ab says:

    That looks like such a wonderful outing and I see you got the crest!

    Did you go inside the igloo? I would love to do that one day.

    I’ve always thought about doing one of the yurt or winter cabin rentals but often don’t get my act together before they get snatched up. One of these days!

    I know you did the cabin rental. Have you done the yurt before?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Yes! I have become obsessed with trying to collect all the various park crests. It’s a bit challenging during the off season, but there are a few parks like Silent Lake that have park staff at the visitor centre or gatehouse all-year round. We didn’t end up going in the igloo because there were some kids right behind us that were eagerly waiting for us to take a picture so they could play inside. Yurts and cabins are a hot commodity these days (just like real estate!), I have yet to try one of the yurts. The cabins are really nice though.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I was so happy that we had that big snowfall overnight. It transformed everything into a beautiful winter wonderland. I can see why Silent Lake is so popular in the winter, it was also a huge bonus that they had heated washrooms.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, it’s amazing how the snow can make everything look so magical and sparkly, especially when the sun is out. It’s usually the sunny days that are the coldest during the winter, but it wasn’t too bad, just below freezing. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Live Laugh Dis says:

    I am really ready for a weekend getaway right now. Maybe a weekend in the local mountains here in Washington would do the trick. Would love to enjoy some easy hiking in the snow. You have definitely inspired me. As usual, your photography is beautiful! -Andrea

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. Being under lockdown has become a bit monotonous, so we’ve been trying to visit at least one new provincial park each week. It’s a good way to get out of our apartment and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. It’s gotten considerably chillier here, so this weekend might be a bit of a struggle. Hope you manage to get out and do some winter hiking in the snow too. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Yes! It was all the more enjoyable to visit Silent Lake after a fresh snowfall. We had such fabulous weather too, the sun was shining, there was no wind, and the temperature was just below freezing. Right now it’s -8C in Toronto and feels like -18C. I was planning on going for a hike today, but now I’m not so sure.

      • alisendopf says:

        I hear you! Stay warm by the fire!!!

        I was cross-country skiing yesterday when a blizzard / cold snap pulled in. We started at -11, and it dropped to -18 in a matter of minutes. My friend’s eyelashes froze and she thought she lost a contact lens. It was brutal. It is -20 now. I’m supposed to go backcountry skiing tomorrow with my daughter… I will have to seriously consider my clothing options.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Yikes. Hiking or cross-country skiing in the winter definitely requires more thoughtful planning and consideration. When it’s that cold where your eyelashes can freeze, that’s when you can really tell the difference between proper layering and gear. I’ve learnt long ago not to cheap out on any winter clothing, including socks! I’m glad we ended up going for that hike yesterday as today is supposed to be even colder and there’s a blowing snow advisory in effect. Bundle up out there. Stay warm.

      • alisendopf says:

        Excellent point! Clothing makes all the difference. I woke to -30 this morning. We were supposed to take our daughter backcountry skiing. Even with great gear and clothing, I will wait for a nicer day.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The snow makes everything look so magical and peaceful. I’ve lived in Ontario for my entire life and have only now started to make a real effort to explore more of the provincial parks here thanks to the pandemic. I guess a lot of other people have a similar idea as the parks are much busier than before.

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