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