Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: January 2021
Perched atop a bluff overlooking the sandy shores of Lake Huron, Point Farms Provincial Park was once the site of a popular Victorian resort from the mid 1800s until it ceased operating in 1915. The hotel no longer remains and in 1965 Point Farms Provincial Park was established. The park offers a variety of activities and includes a large sandy beach with good swimming, 6 km of hiking trails, and just over 200 campsites across two campgrounds.
We spent the weekend winter camping at MacGregor Point Provincial Park. On the drive back to Toronto, we made a detour to visit Point Farms to knock another park off the list from our Ontario Parks Challenge. We rolled into the park just before 11a.m and parked outside the main gate. Even though the park is officially closed in the winter, cross-country skiing and hiking is permitted on roads and trails.
Located near the park gate is an access point for the Old Farms Trail (4km, rated easy). The trail loops through old farm fields, open meadows and orchards. There is an access point on either side of the road with a map of the hiking trails in the park, we took the access point on the right and hiked counter-clockwise along the loop (which is a great thing as the other side was flooded, but more on that later).
The path is relatively flat and mostly winds through an open field. Most of the snow was melting and the path was quite icy or slushy in places. We stuck to the sides of the path as they tended to have less ice. It was a slow slog through the field.
We made a detour to hike along the Ravine Trail (1km one-way, rated moderate). The terrain is more challenging and involves a few steep inclines that wind along the side of the ravine. There was thankfully less ice on this trail.
At the end of the path there are a number of wooden steps that lead down to the beach.
We continued along the path as it looked like from the map you could walk along the beach to get to the Below the Bluff Trail, which later connects back with the Old Farms Trail. But the water level was high and we couldn’t jump across the stream. Instead we turned around and walked back the way that we came along the Ravine Trail.
At the junction, we followed along the Old Farms Trail once again, which leads to the Stirling Barn. The barn was originally raised in 1889 and owned by William Stirling. The building was preserved as a symbol of the close association of the park land base with its earlier farm use and history.
From here the trail branches off into two shorter trails, Hare Trail to the left and Tortoise Trail to the right, both of which connect back with the Old Farms Trail. We opted for the Hare Trail as it looked slightly shorter on the map. The path was pretty much underwater and we clung to the sides to prevent our boots from getting too wet and muddy.
We continued along the Old Farms Trail, which follows along part of the road in the Colborne Campground. The trail leads back through an open field, connects with the Huron Trail and then leads back to the Old Farms Trail once again.
We had reached the final junction and according to the map, only had 18 minutes to hike to get back to the park entrance. The path itself was in rough shape with lots of wet patches. And then we reached a massive puddle (more like a pond? stream?) that was impossible to cross or walk around.
Instead we turned around, walked back to the junction and followed a short connector path which leads to the main park road. We then walked along that to get back to the main gate where our car was parked. Within the last 15 minutes of our hike it started to snow.
From Point Farms it’s about a 2.5 hour drive back to Toronto. Luckily there was next to no traffic on the roads.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here