Hiking at Awenda Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Awenda Provincial Park is located in a peninsula along the shore of Georgian Bay. It has a rich history of logging dating back to the 1880s. The park contains six campgrounds with about 330 sites, features four sandy beaches for swimming and has over 30 kilometres of hiking trails.

The game plan was to drive up to Awenda after dinner on Thursday, but we were a bit hesitant because of the weather. A tornado had touched down in Barrie earlier in the afternoon (and Awenda is located just under an hour northeast of Barrie) and it was currently pouring rain outside. The entire Greater Toronto Area was under a severe thunderstorm warning. But we figured we might as well otherwise Friday would be an extra long day and we’d have to cut some of our planned activities. Besides, the storm was expected to end well before the time we planned to arrive at Awenda.

We packed up the car in the rain. After being out on the road for 15 minutes, I realized that we had forgotten our bathing suits and towels at home. So we headed back to grab our swimwear and hit the road again for real this time. By the time we arrived at Awenda it was around 10:30p.m. Luckily the rain had subsided and it didn’t look like this area had sustained much damage from the storm. We checked in at the Park Office and drove to our site in the Bear Campground, which is located in the radio-free zone. After setting up our tent we went to bed.

We woke up bright and early and made a cup of coffee (for K) and tea (for me). We then went to hike along the Wendat Trail (4.5km). Wendat means “island dwellers” after the Iroquoian speaking people who lived and farmed here between 1200 and 1650. The trailhead is located at Brabant Point, which was named after the Brabant family who were one of the first early settlers who lived in this area.

The area around Awenda was once used for logging, which gave way to settlement. The major lumber companies eventually phased out their operations making room for a handful of French Canadian settlers. These settlers bought land in and around the park for farming, but they weren’t very successful due to the poor conditions of the sandy soil.

The trail is relatively flat, loops around Kettle Lake and is marked with a series of 12 numbered posts. The trail contains two wooden viewing platforms that provide lovely views of the lake.

After we wrapped up our hike, we drove back to our campsite to make breakfast. Except we forgot to bring a spatula or flipper so that meant scrambled eggs weren’t an option. Instead we made hard boiled eggs. Once we finished eating we packed up our tent.

We then went to hike along the Robitaille Homestead Trail (3km, rated moderate) which is an out and back trail and is signed with 10 numbered posts. The trail begins with a steep climb up a ridge, passes by the foundations of the Robitaille family house and farm and ends at an ancient sand dune.

Afterwards we drove to the beach area to check out the viewing platform overlooking Georgian Bay.

From here we walked to the trailhead for the Beaver Pond Trail (1km loop, rated easy). The trail mostly follows along a boardwalk through a nature reserve zone. Along the way there are a few interpretive panels that provides more history of how this area was used for logging and how it’s been shaped by glaciers and the beavers.

We finished our hike around noon and headed off to go eat lunch at the nearby Six Mile Lake Provincial Park.

While it would have been nice to go for a swim, we weren’t quite finished hiking yet for the day.

L

My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

44 thoughts on “Hiking at Awenda Provincial Park

  1. kagould17 says:

    Camping has all the W’s, wacky weather, what did we forget and walking. A great adventure and an example of adaptability. Love the views of Kettle Lake from the stairs and the old homestead. Great variety in hiking is the best part. Thanks for sharing. Allan

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It sure does. It also has a few “wtf” moments. But overall it’s usually worth it (and yet another “w” for the win). Our hike around Kettle Lake was a great way to start the day, especially since we were the only people on the trail. There’s a lot of great hikes to choose from at Awenda and it’s nice that there are quite a few storyboards that provide more information about the history of the area, including about the early settlers and how the landscape was shaped by glaciers. Thanks for reading. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We went on a two-week road trip around Northern Ontario in September and ended up staying in a motel for a few of the nights to avoid some of the storms. It was definitely rough for the rain. I’ve been trying to convince K that we should buy a campervan, that way we don’t have to worry as much about the weather while camping.

      Awenda is a pretty nice park that’s reasonably close to home. There are a lot of great hiking options and beach areas to choose from. I would totally stay here again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ourcrossings says:

    Yet another beautiful trail, Linda 🙂 Just seeing your wonderful photos reminds me that hiking is fun and is a great travel experience, but walking is also an awesome way to immerse yourself in nature for a day; and a super-easy microadventure that you can have on the weekend, to escape the grind and refresh the hell out of yourself for Monday morning. Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. Hiking is such a great way to destress. It’s amazing how much more relaxed I feel after spending a weekend surrounded by nature and away from all our screens. All the more reason for us to do more of it! Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your week. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s no shortage of hiking options at Awenda, that’s for sure. It’s also open year-round and many of the trails are often used for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the winter. It’s always neat to learn more about the history of the park or how it was created. It’s a great way to mix some education with our exercise.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We had such fabulous weather to enjoy the scenery. It’s crazy to think that a severe thunderstorm rolled through here the day before. I’m glad we weren’t camping during that! It all worked out for the best. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your week. Linda

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I usually only ever eat scrambled eggs for breakfast when I’m camping. It’s kind of funny how we eat differently when travelling versus when we’re at home. I currently have all my park patches in two stacks on top of my nightstand. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with them all.

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      • Planet Paul says:

        I remember having some curry from a can whilst camping and thinking “Yum, that’s quite nice”. Then when I had some at home it just tasted like a poor quality curry… obviously! Also, experienced campers don’t carry cans when camping… but I was with my car!

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      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s so true! It’s funny how that works. We tend to pack different food with us too depending on whether we’re car camping or backcountry camping. For some reason the food just tastes so much better when we’re backcountry camping. Maybe it’s because we appreciate it so much more after having to carry it our backpacks while hiking.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! The weather was definitely a bit dodgy when we were driving up, but I’m glad the storm cleared before we arrived. It didn’t look like this area had sustained too much damage or flooding, unlike the next park we visited.

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  3. Ab says:

    This brings back wonderful memories. My friends and I camped twice at Awenda over two summers about ten years ago. A beautiful park and so close to Toronto.

    I remember hiking both the Wendat at Beaver Pond trails and got a nice group photo by that wooden dock. Great memories.

    It’s pretty crazy that this coincided with the Barrie tornado. I still remember that. Very scary. Glad you were not impacted!

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For being so close to Toronto, I’m surprised Awenda isn’t busier. It’s a lovely park with so many hiking trails and different beach areas. Wendat Trail was one of my favourites. We were a bit hesitant to go camping after hearing about the tornado touching down in Barrie, but the forecast wasn’t calling for any rain over the next few days, so we decided to go anyway. Thankfully Awenda didn’t look like it sustained any damage. However, a few of the other parks that we visited afterwards experienced some heavy flooding and signs from the heavy downpour were still clearly visible throughout the campground and trails (more on that to come).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. wetanddustyroads says:

    When someone pack their car with camping gear while it’s raining a storm up, you call those people dedicated campers (or crazy 😉 … or even a bit of both). So glad you could do the hike in sunny conditions and enjoy those lovely views of the lake!

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ha, no kidding. But hey, at least it stopped raining before we arrived at the park and we didn’t have to set up our tent in the rain. It was hard to believe that we even had a severe thunderstorm the night before given how beautiful it was the next day.

      Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s hard to believe that a massive storm rolled through here the night before given how calm the lake was the next morning. Thankfully we had such beautiful weather to enjoy the trails and all those lake views.

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