Hiking in Halfway Lake Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: June 2021

Halfway Lake Provincial Park is located just north of Sudbury on the southern edge of the boreal forest. The landscape in the park has been shaped thousands of years ago by glaciers and today features valleys, eskers, moraines, and many ridges. Halfway Lake offers a variety of recreational activities including camping (both front country and backcountry), hiking, canoeing, swimming, and fishing.

We camped the previous night at Windy Lake Provincial Park. After eating breakfast we drove 30 minutes north to Halfway Lake. As we were nearing the park entrance we passed a section of burnt trees from when a forest fire ravaged this area back in 2007.

We initially planned to hike along the Osprey Heights Trail (6km, rated difficult), but the entrance to the parking lot was blocked off and there was a sign to indicate that the area was closed. Last summer this trail was closed, but that was just because the trail wasn’t maintained due to COVID-19, but you could still hike along it. So I called the Park Office for more details. Apparently the viewing platform over Antrim Lake had washed out, which was the best part of the trail.

Instead we decided to hike along the Echo Pond Trail (6km, rated moderate). The trailhead is located in the Hawknest Campground between sites #143 and #146. There are actually three trails that originate here and form a series of interconnecting loops: Moose Ridge Trail (2km), Echo Pond Trail (6km) and Hawk Ridge Trail (15km).

In order to get to the Echo Pond Trail, we first had to hike along the Moose Ridge Trail. A tornado swept through this area along the Moose Ridge Trail back in 2002. As a result, there was a lot of new growth and smaller trees. The trail is signed with red markers and follows the shoreline of Raven Lake up over to a small glacial ridge. The ground and much of the shrubbery were still wet from last night’s rain, which brushed up against our legs. We hoped it wouldn’t wipe away the bug spray.

After a kilometre or so, the trail connects with the Echo Pond Trail. At the junction the turnoff is well-signed and there’s even a map of the trail system.

We headed north along the Echo Pond Trail, which is marked with orange markers. These are relatively new markers as they weren’t here last summer when we visited. The path continues to follow Raven Lake and leads up (and then down) part of a steeper ridge system. The path is narrow and there lots of hidden obstacles like roots and rocks.

The trail then leads down to the west shore of Echo Pond before heading back up a ridge. Much of this stretch of the path is through the forest and along rocky outcrops. There are also a few signs that let you know the distance you’ve already hiked in one kilometre increments.

Mid-way through the path branches off for the Hawk Ridge Trail, but we continued to follow the orange markers along the Echo Pond Trail. The path eventually connects back with the Moose Ridge Trail and leads to a viewing platform, which provides sweeping views of the area.

From the viewing platform it’s a short stretch back to the trailhead and parking lot. Overall it took us just under an hour and a half to complete the trail. Afterwards we drove to the beach area. We took off our shoes and socks and ate some oranges in the shade.

We then headed back to Windy Lake to go for a swim.

L

My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

23 thoughts on “Hiking in Halfway Lake Provincial Park

  1. Ab says:

    It’s amazing how you are able to remember such fine details such as the orange markers being new, considering you visit so many parks!

    Looked like a nice day out at Halfway Lake and very nice to end off with time at the beach and fruit!

    How many park crests are you at now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ah yes, the random stuff I tend to remember. I usually take pretty good notes and way too many pictures whenever I travel, which helps trigger my memory. I’m glad the clouds cleared and we got to enjoy the sunshine for a bit. To date I’m at 41 patches.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ab says:

        I’m sure your detailed notes and photos are very appreciated by your readers. I know I’ve learned a lot about the parks!

        Like

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks! I find I have to keep notes otherwise all the days and parks start to blend together. Oh the joys of getting older. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Hopefully you weren’t too impacted by the huge thunderstorm yesterday.

        Like

  2. Diana says:

    Echo Pond looks very serene. Holy cow with all the natural disasters in this area though… fire, tornado, enough water to washout a platform. Sounds like you guys were lucky to have a nice weather day!

    Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Haha, no kidding. I couldn’t even imagine what it would have been like for the people who were camping during either of those natural disasters. That’s rough. So yah, can’t really complain about a bit of overcast in the morning.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kagould17 says:

    Lovely forest walk. So nice they incorporated a viewpoint. That is one thing we do not always get on the prairies. Did you ever see any hawks or moose? It would be a nice place to get a glimpse. The park badges remind me of my days in scouting when I had to come up for a badge design for the various Beaverees my colony attended. The badges are surprisingly cheap when you gate a thousand of them. Cheers. Allan

    Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s nice to walk through the forest, but the scenic viewpoints let you see the forest through the trees. We see quite a bit of hawks in the skies. Moose are much rarer. We’ve only ever seen a moose once in Ontario and that was when we were hiking in Lake Superior Provincial Park last summer. I’ve become a bit obsessed with collecting all the various park badges. Each one on their own is relatively cheap, but when you’re up to 40+ badges, it starts to add up! Have a wonderful weekend. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to hike through the forest as it typically provides good shade coverage from the sun. But those viewpoints that overlook a lake or provide a panoramic view of the surrounding area are generally my favourite part of any hike. I’m starting to get some great ideas of what to do with all those park badges. I can’t wait to start working on my arts and crafts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’ve gotten some great suggestions on what to do with all these park badges that I’ve started collecting. It sounds like a great project to work on during the winter. Glad to hear that you are interested in visiting more of Ontario’s parks. And to think, all it took was the pandemic to encourage me to explore more of Ontario!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Yet another lovely trail and a badge. You could use a CD binder case to store your fabric patches or you could make a cloth book. If you want to keep your patches organized, and you want to be able to look at them, they don’t always need to be mounted to your wall. How about making a cloth book to display them?

    Velcro and felt would make them repositionable, and sewing them on would let you keep them forever in place, perhaps adding embroidered embellishments or captions or even photographs. I had a few patches and pins from my travels and used to proudly display them on my backpack. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Like

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I am loving all these ideas people are suggesting for what I should do with my Ontario Parks badge collection. The opportunities are endless!! This seems like a great project to tackle this winter. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I love it! This was a nice hike through the forest that features a few scenic lookouts of the lake and surrounding area. It’s amazing to get a panoramic view of the area to get a sense of how completely surrounded by nature you are. Have a wonderful weekend as well. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

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