Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021
Sharbot Lake Provincial Park is located along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, which is known for its abundance of rocky outcrops, lakes and wetlands. It has around 175 campsites and includes two hiking trails, two sandy beaches for swimming and a boat launch for canoeing, fishing or boating.
We arrived at Sharbot Lake in the early afternoon. We were a bit concerned that the park would be full since it was a hot Sunday afternoon and when we visited the nearby Silver Lake Provincial Park earlier they were turning cars away. But surprisingly Sharbot Lake wasn’t very busy.
After stopping at the Park Office to pick up a patch and information guide, we drove through the campground and found an empty campsite to eat a sandwich for lunch. Afterwards we headed out to first hike along the Discovery Trail (1.7km loop, rated moderate). The trailhead is located in the Ridgeview Campground by site #176.
To start, it’s a steep descent down a hill to the water. There’s even a dock located towards the bottom of the hill which serves as a portage from Sharbot Lake into Black Lake.
The trail is signed with eight numbered posts that correspond to a description of the trail guide located at the trailhead. The first post is located in a sheltered bay on the western part of Sharbot Lake.
The trail then leads through a classic Southern Shield landscape of extremes from lakeshore to rock-face, rich forest to barren ridge. The first stretch hugs the shoreline of Sharbot Lake and provides great views of the water and windswept pines.
The trail then leads up a ridge through the forest to the boundary of the park. The path continues through the forest and crosses an open meadow. There’s also a short detour to a lookout, which is located up a ridge. The views were just okay as they were mostly obstructed by the greenery.
We then drove to the trailhead for the Ridgeview Trail (500m, rated easy to moderate), which is also located in the Ridgeview Campground by site #182. The first portion of the trail involves a steady ascent up a ridge through the shaded forest. The path eventually levels off and leads to an open clearing of tall grass and wildflowers. We could somewhat glimpse the water through all the greenery, but we couldn’t find a clear view of the surrounding area. Either way it was still really scenic. We continued onwards until we reached a marker that signals that this is the end of the trail. We turned around and walked back the way we came.
After sufficiently working up a sweat we figured it was finally time to go for a swim. Sharbot Lake features two sandy beaches on Black Lake. We drove to the smaller beach area as we figured it would be less busy. The beach was relatively quiet and the swimming area was buoyed off with different sections depending on the depth. The first buoyed area had a depth of 15m. We swam out to the second area and we could see that the third area had a sign to signal no motor boats. Perhaps it was because it was really hot outside, but this felt like the warmest lake we’ve swum in so far this summer. It was a nice way to cool down and rinse off all the bug spray and sweat.
After taking a shower at the comfort station, we headed out. We planned to spend our final night of our road trip at the cabin, which is located about an hour away from Sharbot Lake.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here