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.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here