Point Farms Provincial Park

Length of stay1 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.

L

My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

40 thoughts on “Point Farms Provincial Park

  1. Ab says:

    Learned about another park that I’ve never heard of thanks to you! Lake Huron offers beautiful scenery too and that looked like a nice day spent in nature and not too snowy! About how many parks are off your list so far now?

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I used to go to Lake Huron every summer with my sisters and camp at Pinery. I haven’t been in this area in years, so it was nice to return. We’re planning on coming back to Lake Huron in June. So far we’ve visited 12 parks this year. Hoping to go for a hike at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        We ended up going to Mono Cliffs instead as the parking lot was completely full at Forks of the Credit. Who would have though hiking would be so popular in the winter!? There was a park ranger there along with a sign that blocked the main entrance in the park to indicate that the lot was full. When she told us that we’d have to wait 30min to an hour, we decided to go to Mono Cliffs. Hope you enjoyed the lovely weather yesterday too.

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  2. kagould17 says:

    Ahhhh, wet trails and impediments. I’ve been there. So close and yet so far. Looks like winter hiking in a pandemic is the way to avoid the crowds though. So nice they preserved the old barn. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Our winter hiking boots are waterproof, but even they have limits. There are some puddles (ponds?) that are too deep to cross on foot. I’m glad we could easily backtrack and take an alternate route back to the parking lot, so it wasn’t too bad. I’ve come to enjoy hiking during the winter because the park is nice and quiet and there are no bugs. Thanks for reading.

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  3. salsaworldtraveler says:

    You are covering a lot of territory, or should I say Province (ha ha). I would love to visit some of these Ontario Provincial Parks, especially the ones along Lake Huron. Thanks for expanding my horizons on what to do and see.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Good thing Ontario is a big province and there is no shortage of parks! It’s funny because I’ve been to more of Ontario’s provincial parks during the last year than all the other years I’ve lived here combined. We’re planning on returning to Lake Huron in the summer when the weather is nicer to enjoy the beaches and other provincial parks along the coast. Take care.

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  4. carol hopkins says:

    It’s too bad the other buildings are not longer there. The barn looks very much like the barn on my sister’s farm. It’s so cool that it’s still there in the park for everyone to see. Hiking in the late winter/early spring can be challenging with so many sodden areas. I’ve never been to this area. It’s so cool that you’re taking the Ontario Parks challenge, and even cooler that you’re sharing what you find.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, it’s too bad that more of the historic buildings weren’t saved. I was also hoping to find some signs to read more about the history of the area, but I guess the park takes those down during the off season. There clearly are some drawbacks to visiting in the offseason, but it was nice to dodge the crowds and feel like we had the park all to ourselves. It’s been fun trying to explore a new park nearly every weekend. It certainly gives us something to do and look forward to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carol hopkins says:

        It’s awesome to be able to take in the parks in Ontario. I’d love to see some of the places you’ve featured on your blog. Such stunningly gorgeous photos are likely the only way I will se them now. My favorite places were North Bay; Lake Superior; Lake Huron; all of north-western Ontario. Oh, there are more but cannot think of all the names at the moment. Ontario is huge and has so much to see and do!

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure, I’ve come to really appreciate how many provincial parks Ontario has. The whole stretch of parks along Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are among some of my favourites too. I’m planning on returning to Northern Ontario this summer and can’t wait to check out a few new parks, while returning to some of my favourites.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks. I’ve been counting down the days to reserve the campsites. I was reading an article last week about how bookings at provincial parks in Ontario has nearly doubled in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same time last year. Seems like there are lots of other people who have similar plans.

        Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Haha, it sure feels that way sometimes. The one drawback to hiking during this time of the year is that the conditions on trails aren’t always the greatest. Our winter hiking boots are waterproof, but even they have their limits to how deep they can go. We’re planning on returning to Lake Huron in the summer and will likely check out Point Farms again. At the very least, we’d like to pick up the park crest for this park.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Little Miss Traveller says:

    Another attractive hiking trail and not too far from your Toronto base. Disappointing that you were unable to continue along the beach due to the high tide and had to backtrack though. Perhaps a good enough reason to return one day.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I used to go camping at Pinery every summer with my sisters. Even though Point Farms is nearby, I had never heard of this park before. It’s been great exploring more of the different parks in Ontario. And agreed, the old barn was nice to see along the trail. They always make for such great photo ops.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lookoom says:

    You will have seen the land in all its forms depending on the season, I have the feeling that winter hikes focus more attention on the trail conditions than on the landscape.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Haha, yes, it sometimes feels that way when the trails are either submerged in water or covered in snow and ice. The nice thing is that the trails are usually empty and sometimes the views are better because there are no leaves on the trees.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. ourcrossings says:

    One of the things that I’ve learned so far – hiking in winter means empty forest trails, which is what you kind of want in the midst of the pandemic crisis to avoid contact with others. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day. Aiva

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. Some of the parks are becoming more popular in the winter though. We tried to visit a park that was about an hour outside of Toronto yesterday and the parking lot was completely full when we arrived and were turned away. We ended up driving another 30 minutes to another park, which still had some parking spaces available. Who would have thought that hiking in the winter would become so popular?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Christie says:

    Winter hiking can be full of surprises, isn’t it? We’ve had a nice winter this season, it was great to see bright and sunny days over the weekends🙂
    Have a nice evening, Christie

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We only really started to hike in the winter last year, but I’ve come to enjoy it. The snow has such a way of transforming the forest, especially on a sunny day when it makes the snow sparkle. The trails are usually quieter and there are no bugs. And yes, we’ve been fortunate and have had a pretty decent winter so far. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The weather wasn’t the most ideal, but it was nice wandering through the park. Since we were visiting in the off season, the trails were empty and it just felt very peaceful. Hope you had a great weekend as well. Take care.

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