Six Mile Lake Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Six Mile Lake Provincial Park is located in Muskoka on the southern edge of the Canadian Shield. It offers camping, a variety of recreational activities on the water including boating, canoeing, fishing and swimming, and a few short trails for hiking.

After spending the morning in Awenda Provincial Park, we arrived at Six Mile Lake shortly before 1:30p.m. We planned to make a detour here to hike along the short trails in the park and eat some lunch. We decided to get the hiking over and done with first.

The trail system consists of three short interconnecting trails, which form a larger loop. The trailhead is located in the Maple Campground by site #161 and #163. As we were driving through the campground, signs of all the rain from yesterday was still clearly visible. Some of the campsites were even flooded. I’m glad we weren’t camping here tonight! We were a bit worried about what the conditions were like on the trail.

We started off along the Living Edge Trail (1km). The trail winds over rocky granite outcrops and passes a wetland. The trail itself is well marked, but the ground was quite wet and muddy in areas. This should be no surprise as it’s located close to the marsh and it looked like the the swamp was starting to reclaim the trail.

We contemplated turning around, but then we reached the junction for the Marsh Trail (1km). Weren’t we already hiking along the Marsh Trail?! The conditions on this trail were even worse. I give it a 5/5 in terms of mosquitoes, 4/5 in terms of flooding and 1/5 in terms of enjoyment. Maybe we should have eaten that lunch first.

The Marsh Trail connects with the David Milne Trail (0.5km). The trail is named after David Milne in an effort to recognize his contributions to Canadian Art. Although his work was often overshadowed by the Group of Seven during his early career, Milne is now recognized as one of Canada’s foremost artists.

The trail connects back up with the Living Edge Trail and the conditions become even worse (if that’s even possible). At one point, the trail winds close to the campground. We decided to risk it and cut our way through the swampy bush to get back to the road. We then walked along the road back to the trailhead where we parked. The road itself was also in pretty rough shape from all the rain and many of the campsites along this stretch were flooded and muddy. We could only imagine how much worse it would have been if we had stayed on the trail.

Afterwards we drove to one of the beach areas, which didn’t look the greatest. We instead drove to an empty campsite (that wasn’t flooded) and ate our lunch there. The campsite at least overlooked the water and provided a nice view of the lake.

We were happy to leave and move on to a (hopefully) better park.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

67 thoughts on “Six Mile Lake Provincial Park

  1. Ab says:

    The hiking did not look enjoyable at all with the flooding! But good for you for earning another park crest.

    A colleague has raved about Six Mile in the past. It relatively close to the city too so provides an enjoyable camping experience when not flooded! She did warn me that it is noisier than other campsites cuz of vicinity to city and highways.

    Other than the flooding, it did look like a nice park!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thats was probably some of the worst conditions we encountered while on the trail all year. Besides the flooding and muddy areas, it was quite scenic with all the marshes and rocky outcrops.

      I’m not sure how I’d feel about camping at Six Mile as many of the sites didn’t seem all that private and were so close together. So I believe that it can by noisy. My opinion may be biased because we were so turned off from this park by all the flooding.

      • Ab says:

        Yes, my colleague noted the noisy campsites. I guess it’s the trade off for being so close to the city.

        I can totally see why your experience turned you off from camping there. Good thing there are lots of other sites to choose from!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        We found this summer was especially bad for noisy campgrounds. I’ve been trying to convince K that we should just buy a camper van. It would help block out the noise and we wouldn’t have to worry too much about the weather.

        I wouldn’t mind giving Six Mile Lake another chance, but maybe during the off-season. And yes, we certainly do have a lot of camping options. Fingers crossed booking a campsite isn’t nearly as competitive next summer as it was this summer!

      • Ab says:

        A camper van sounds like such a great and fun idea. I live vicariously through social media people who do the van life! 🙂 A good friend of mine rented a camper van in Yukon for her 40th bday in September. It looked amazing.

        I think things will still be competitive next summer unfortunately. Not quite out of the woods yet. But hopefully with US travel an option now, it’ll spread it out more!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Ha, same. While I don’t think I could do van life full-time, it seems like it would be a fun way to take a road trip. I’ve heard amazing things about Yukon. I’d love to visit someday in a camper van. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to sleep in a tent there with all the grizzly bears.

        Yah, I have a feeling that our parks are going to be crowded for the next few years. But as you said, with more things opening up, hopefully this gives people a chance to spread out.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh gosh, I think I have around 50 badges so far. The issue is that many of the parks sold out of their badges early in the summer so there’s a number of parks that we visited where we couldn’t get a badge. Unfortunately you can’t buy they online, only from the actual park itself. I guess this means that we’ll just need to return to a few of these places!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s unfortunate that we visited after a heavy rainfall. The trail system seems well-signed and there are some lovely views of the marshes and rocky outcrops. The campground didn’t look the greatest though as many of the sites seemed too close together for my liking. I have so much more of an appreciation for Canadian art now that we’ve been to a few of the places where they drew inspiration from.

  2. Diana @ Handstands Around the World says:

    I chuckled (but also felt your pain) when you ranked that trail 5/5 for mosquitoes. This looks like it was more of an adventure than you were expecting, and not in a good way! Hopefully you can return sometime when it’s not filled with floodwater and mosquitoes.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For a trail that was rated easy, it sure turned into a challenge with all the flooding and mosquitoes. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? If only. We’re totally going to buy some bug jackets for next year though.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ha, no kidding. But hey, at least it wasn’t raining when we visited. Not like that would have made much of a difference because our feet ended up wet anyway after hiking along the trail system. I’m just happy that we didn’t have to camp here!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The marshes and stagnant water on the trail were definitely a mosquito’s paradise. We didn’t encounter any other hikers on the trail, so I’m sure the mosquitoes were extra excited to see us. It was quite the adventure and gave us a good laugh afterwards. I’m just happy that we didn’t have to camp and stay the night at this park.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I have no regrets about abandoning the trail. We did complete most of the loop, but I can’t even begin to imagine what that last stretch must have been like considering how terrible the conditions were on the road. We probably would have been required to swim back to the trailhead.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      At least we didn’t encounter any deer flies or black flies. The hike itself wasn’t the most enjoyable because of the bug situation and flooding, which was too bad because it was quite scenic. It’s all part of the adventure though and I’m glad I at least took a few pictures along the way.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s so true. And hey, it makes for a funny story afterwards. Thankfully it was a short trail system, unlike the West Coast Trail, and we were able to find a way off the path and back to the road. I’ve always wanted to do the West Coast Trail. I can always return to this place with a heavy backpack for some practice!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was not a very enjoyable hike, which was such a shame because the scenery was really quite lovely. Our shoes were wet and we were pretty miserable after being harassed by the mosquitoes for what felt like forever. Plus we were hungry. Not a good combination. We had a good laugh about it afterwards once we changed into dry shoes and ate some lunch. It could have been worse though and at least we didn’t have to camp here.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s true. And it’s like someone else said, you have to hike along some of the bad trails to make you appreciate the good ones. It’s too bad about the conditions on the trail, but the landscape was really quite scenic. We still have a good laugh whenever we talk about this park. We used it as a benchmark going forward.

  3. kagould17 says:

    Looks more like the place should be named Six Lakes per Mile. Wet hiking is never fun, especially when mosquitoes are around. At least you have a story, remember that time we had to swim the trails in that park. The boardwalk dying in a puddle was a good touch. Cheers. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ha, no kidding. Or maybe even Six Miles of Mosquitoes? The stupid thing is that I did bring waterproof hiking shoes, but I didn’t wear them because the trail system was short and the description said it was easy. Rookie mistake. But hey, at least we had dry shoes to change into afterwards. Don’t even get me started on those useless boardwalks. They turned out to be a total trap. We tried to cling to the edge of the trail as much as possible to avoid the worst of the swamp. Despite my grumblings, we still get a good laugh when reminiscing about this trail. Take care. Linda

  4. ourcrossings says:

    What a muddy trail! Hiking is a great way to immerse yourself in nature, get a good workout in, and recharge your batteries, but at the same time you need knowledge of the trail conditions, difficulty, terrain and time/effort it takes to go out AND back as well as when to turn around.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We had a severe thunderstorm the day before and it looked like this area experienced quite a bit of flooding. Since this region in Ontario is rather rocky and the soil thin, the water just puddles. For a trail that was rated easy, all the wet and muddy sections sure gave us a challenge!

  5. Linda K says:

    oh boy….looks like this park needs some upgrades. Wonder what it’s like in summer when the conditions are a better. You just never know what you’re going to find when you set off on a trail. Well at least you can give this a big check for done!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh gosh, this park definitely looked like it needed some help. A severe thunderstorm rolled through here the day before and clearly left some wreckage behind in the form of flooding and mosquitoes. For a trail that was rated easy, it sure turned into a challenging obstacle course of trying to avoid the puddles (ponds?) and mud. We definitely earned our badge for this park!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m sure the existing boardwalks and wooden planks are usually fine, but I think we just had bad timing when we visited as this area received a massive downpour the previous evening. It’s too bad the entire trail didn’t consist of a boardwalk though! Despite the flooding (and mosquitoes), the views from the trail were beautiful. It’s always fun to learn more about Canadian history, including how artists drew inspiration from the landscapes right here in Ontario.

  6. Britt Kascjak says:

    I just came across this post. I’m sad to see that you experienced it for the first time during flooding because it really does take away from the experience. Don’t get me wrong, the mosquitoes on that trail are always bad due to the marsh, but I can only imagine how much worse they were with the extra water everywhere. We go to that park every year and while some sites are quite noisy, there are others that are great. If you’re tent camping there are some beautiful walk-in sites to give you that added privacy. For those that aren’t interested in a walk-in, look at the Maple loop to get away from a lot of the noise.

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