Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: January 2021
McRae Point Provincial Park is located on a small peninsula on Lake Simcoe. It’s quite popular in the summer and offers a large beach area for swimming and has boat launch facilities with access to the Trent Severn Waterway. There is also a single hiking trail in the park that circles McRae Point.
After spending the morning hiking in Bass Lake Provincial Park, we decided to hit up McRae Point Provincial Park since it’s located nearby. The park is technically non-operating in the winter and there are no facilities or services available. The main gate into the park is closed, but visitors can park just outside the entrance and walk in. We arrived at McRae Point just after 1p.m and parked along the side of the road near the main sign of the park.
There is a single trail in the park, the Water’s Edge Trail, which weaves through the forest, follows along the shores of Lake Simcoe and circles McRae Point. When we entered the park, we followed the direction of the blue sign with a symbol of a person walking as that seemed promising.
The start of the trail is located near the boat launch. We first walked down to the shore and looked out over the partially frozen lake. The one benefit to visiting the beach in the winter is that we had the place mostly all to ourselves.
The path is relatively flat and well signed with blue markers with a hiker symbol. The first stretch follows along the shore of the lake. Despite the fact that the park is closed in the winter, the snow along the trail was packed down with footprints.
We followed the markers through the forest to MacRae Point. Apparently this spot is known for its nice sunsets over Lake Simcoe. We wouldn’t know as it was dark and dreary outside. And we were visiting in the early afternoon.
From here we got a bit disoriented. We ended up backtracking and turned off at the junction to continue along the other part of the trail, however, this ended up looping back to McRae Point too.
We then somehow ended up at a road. According to google maps, this would eventually take us back to our car, so we walked along that. Turns out there’s a second part of the loop which we missed completely, that leads down to the beach area. Oh well, we’ll just have to save this for another day.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here
46 thoughts on “McRae Point Provincial Park”
Looks like another enjoyable winter walk, I love walking alongside frozen lakesides. Hope you have a good weekend. Marion
I usually find being by the water so peaceful and relaxing, even in the winter when the lake or river is frozen. It was a little chilly outside, but otherwise a pleasant day to go for a stroll. Take care.
Wonderful winter walk! Love how the place seems deserted and you have the whole park to yourself. Advantages of cold weather! Enjoy your weekend.
For sure. I’ve come to enjoy hiking in the winter for that very reason. Our parks were beyond crowded last summer and fall, so we’re trying to see as many of the parks close to the city now when the weather isn’t the greatest.
A great well signed walk, but perhaps intermittent route maps would have been helpful. I tend to take a photo of the route map at the beginning, just in case things get confusing. Even then, we sometimes go astray. Always nice to walk by the water, frozen or otherwise. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend. Allan
Agreed, I’ve come to appreciate trails that have a map at the trailhead or junctions along the way. I usually take a picture of the map as well as I am directionally challenged. It can be harder to navigate in the winter as the path is not always well defined. It’s always great to just be by the water in general, except in the spring I guess when the mosquitoes are the most active. Hope you had a good weekend.
Looks like you are doing a great job going through the Parks challenge. I love snow coated tree branches and icy lakes. Such idyllic scenes. And also nice to imagine them without the snow and unfrozen. Summer will be here soon!
We had such a great start to the year and challenge and managed to visit nine parks in January. Our progress was a lot slower in February, largely on account of the weather. We used to never hike in the winter, but I’ve come to enjoy it as the trails are usually empty and the snow makes everything look so beautiful. And yes, summer will be here soon. Most of our snow has already melted.
Have you and K started to book your camp sites? I’m hearing on the online boards that I’m on that there is a really high demand for them this year.
I can imagine that winter hikes are wonderful. March weather will hopefully be better! It felt almost spring like this weekend.
I’ve booked a few sites for the first week in July. I made my reservations as soon as the reservation window opened at 7a.m, 5 months in advance. Even then there were slim pickings at some of the parks. I was reading an article last week about how Ontario Parks has said booking has nearly doubled in the first two months of 2021 compared to the same time last year. We’ll be booking the sites for our Northern Ontario trip later this week and I’m feeling a bit anxious as to what will be available. Have you booked any sites yet?
It sounds so intense and stressful! 😞 We’re not doing camping again this year but we will be planning out our roadtrip this weekend and staying at cheap hotels/motels along the way. Probably should book these sooner rather than later. Good luck with your bookings!!!
Thanks! The tough thing about camping last summer was the lack of shower facilities. We’re planning on staying in a couple of motels mid-way through our road trip so we can at least take a proper shower and feel somewhat clean. Best of luck planning out your road trip, sounds exciting!! I’m so looking forward to the summer.
What a snowy path L, those markers seem to be everywhere❣️
I’m a huge fan of trails that are well signed with markers or blazes. I’m not the greatest with direction, and it’s sometimes challenging to navigate when the ground is covered in snow. Despite having the trail markers, the path was still a bit confusing, so I can’t even begin to imagine if there were none to begin with!
I am glad they are there L!
You’re really keeping busy with the walks! I love that photo of the tree over the frozen lake. Your story about Google Maps made me laugh! I have had that get weird on me when hiking, so I basically don’t use it anymore lol
Since it’s winter, we’re still working from home, and we’re under lockdown, we don’t really leave our apartment that often. I’ve been making more of an effort to go for a walk on weekends to get some fresh air and some well needed exercise! Yah google maps isn’t always the greatest to help navigate when you’re in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t too bad when we used it because we were on an actual road at that point. That is one of the drawbacks to hiking in the winter, the snow can make it more challenging to navigate. But it’s a relatively small park, so it wasn’t too bad getting lost.
That’s good you’re getting out and about even though your lockdown is still going on. It’s always weird trying to decide whether to use Google Maps. Sometimes there’s nothing like using your own intuition because it works better than tech!
For sure, otherwise I would probably just go crazy. It’s tough being cooped up inside all the time.
I know. I think pandemic fatigue is kicking in
Most definitely. The days blur together and every day starts to feel the same. I think I just need a vacation! Only issue is, there is nowhere to go, especially since we’re still under lockdown. Sigh.
Exactly. My parents and I are on the fence about the eclipse going on this summer. We want to go, but not all of us will be vaccinated by then. It’s such a dilemma!
I was hoping for more progress when it comes to vaccinating people in Canada. There’s still a bunch of time between now and the summer though, so hopefully it all works out. I’ve had to start changing some of my summer plans because of how fiercely competitive it is to book something. I was initially planning on taking a road trip through Northern Ontario in August, but I’m going to postpone it to September. Hoping there will be less people and bugs.
I hope that works out for you. The trouble with us is the eclipse is in June. I likely won’t have a vaccination by then, but my parents will. It’s tough. I thought there would be more progress too. At least I am not in the US right now though and that’s something
That’s true. Young people are at the bottom of the list for a lot of things these days, including the vaccine. If your eclipse trip doesn’t work out, are you going to do something else instead later in the summer?
You’re so right. That explains a lot with youth disillusionment. We haven’t decided on a trip yet, but we might
Best of luck with the trip planning. It’s nice to have something to look forward to these days. At least the days are getting longer and weather warmer. Can you believe that it’s going up to 15C here tomorrow? All our snow has already melted.
Oh wow! That’s like California winter 😂. Over here there is some snow and we have had temperatures from 8-13, but now we’re getting more cold temps. Mother Nature is definitely menopausal!
Ha, I love that. She certainly likes to keep us on our toes!!
Indeed! I am used to Mother Nature being menopausal in England too
Isn’t great when you have a whole park for yourself?
We went camping to McRae about 7 years ago, but didn’t have time to hike, we went to the Powwow festival in Orillia during those days.
Indeed, the park has a nice spot on the lakeshore where you can see a beautiful sunset🙂
I’ve come to enjoy hiking in the winter for that very reason. Parks have been insanely busy this past year because of the pandemic, so having the trail to yourself has become a rarity these days. I’ve heard McRae Point is well known for its sunsets. Looks like we’ll have to return when the weather is warmer on a clear day.
I admire you to continue hiking in the middle of winter.
Thanks. I’ve come to enjoy hiking in the winter, especially right after a fresh snowfall. The trails are usually quiet, there’s no bugs, and traffic isn’t bad. I’d take walking in the snow over the rain any day!
I was also thinking about bugs, hesitating between cold and bugs, which is the worst.
Both are pretty bad, but I think I’d take the cold over the bugs! I might take the bugs over the rain though. That one is tough.
A great place to hike a breathe in the fresh air.
Totally. Since we’ve been working from home for the past year, I’ve found that I don’t get nearly as much fresh air, especially during the winter, as before. We’ve been trying to visit a new park every weekend for that very reason, to get some fresh air. And some exercise of course.
That lake looks somewhat like mine up here (Great Slave Lake), but the walking is probably rather warmer. Yesterday morning I awoke to -41C. I walked to work, but I sure bundled up first.
It’s always nice to get those lake views, even in the winter. And wowza, that’s cold! It’s been pretty mild here and most of our snow has unfortunately melted. This hasn’t been the greatest for hiking as many of the trails are now swampy. Stay warm out there.
I admire your continued off-season exploration . The icy winter lake and dark sky look both beautiful and foreboding.
We only really started to get serious about winter hiking last year during the pandemic when we had nothing better to do. I’ve come to really enjoy it now, and with the right gear, it’s not so bad being outside in the snow. There are significantly less people around and no bugs!
Looks like a wonderful location for a pleasant winter hike – thanks for sharing 👍
It looked rather drab and dreary, but it turned out to be a pretty nice day to go for a walk. It’s always nice having a view over the lake, even in the winter. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Wonderful Winter Park.
It’s amazing how the snow can just transform the landscape. It’s neat visiting some of these parks in the winter to get a very different experience. It’s a good excuse to get some fresh air these days.