Written by Emara Streich, Sustainable Tourism Coordinator
SPRING IS HERE!
We have plenty of ideas for spring adventures at Amazing Places to ensure that you are getting the most out of these extra hours of daylight!
TRAILS TO HIKE!
Spring ephemerals, by definition, do not last long; hiking during this season means admiring an abundance of charming wildflowers that will disappear soon. So when they start to pop up, grab your camera, and enjoy the trilliums, trout lilies, and lady slippers while they last!
Left image: White Trilliums covering a forest floor. Right image: a Red Trillium.
Spring is also a fantastic time to view and hear various birds. Even if you’re not an avid birder, this is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with some different species, like warblers and ducks. Make sure to bring your binoculars – you might see some fledglings, too! There is a great chance of spotting other wildlife as well, including moose, deer, foxes, and more.
Trails to put on your springtime bucket list:
- The Rose Point Trail -Formerly a railway bed, now 6 km of thriving wetlands and forests. You might spot a Northern Parula, a bluish gray warbler with yellow highlights!
- Park to Park Trail –A series of trails connecting Killbear Provincial Park to Algonquin Provincial Park, species to be on the lookout for include Ospreys and Tree Swallows! Ospreys are very large, distinctively shaped hawks. These raptors fly with a kink in their wings, making an M-shape when viewed from below. Tree Swallows earned their name for their habit of nesting in tree cavities. These beautiful birds have a deep blue iridescent back, white fronts, and are very vocal with sweet chirping calls.
- School House Trail –Find the large cedar bridge spanning a wetland and see what wildlife you can spot! While on the trail you might hear a Yellow Warbler, with their tumbling series of whistles that sounds like “sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet!“, or spot a Yellow-rumped Warbler, the warbler you’re most likely to see fluttering out from a tree to catch a flying insect!
- The Waterfront Trail –Take a leisurely stroll through the scenic winding shoreline of Parry Sound, and as you pass by the beaches, be on the look out for loons, as well as Buffleheads and Common Goldeneye, who will be moving north.
- At Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre there are more than 30 km of trails that provide awesome mountain bike and hiking opportunities. The Lynx Loop trail is a must-explore. You might see a Hooded Merganser in one of the ponds! They are extravagantly crested ducks that can alter the refractive properties of their eyes to improve underwater vision while finding prey, and they have an extra transparent eyelid that protects their eyes while swimming.
- The Papase Trail to the Five Finger Rapids, or Zoongininjii in Anishinaabek, requires pre-planning as it is 9 km! You will not regret bringing binoculars if you spot a Migizi, or Bald Eagle, who hunt for fish in the open water.
Tip: Don’t let bugs deter you from enjoying the outdoors! Wear long sleeves, and bug nets if desired!
PLACES TO CAMP!
Perhaps you are used to camping in the summer. However, doing so in the spring is a rewarding experience for a multitude of reasons. First of all, campgrounds are not crowded during this time, so you and your friends can plan spontaneous trips on a whim, and enjoy more privacy than usual. There is also something magical about being in nature amongst the promises of spring; seeing trees starting to bud, the first flowers on the forest floor blooming, all while gathered ‘round a fire with your loved ones. Priceless!
- Point Grondine Park –This First Nation owned and operated park offers 22 backcountry campsites, and more than 20 km of hiking trails with spectacularly stunning views. Learn about Anishinaabek culture by participating in the authentic Indigenous experiences offered here, including guided hikes, songs and drum teachings, and more!
- Six Mile Lake Provincial Park – An enchanting park conveniently located off Hwy 400 in Muskoka. Rentals are available for those looking to paddle. The Living Edge Trail is a rugged, picturesque 1 km hike, and Ontario’s only lizard species, the Five-Lined Skink, can be found here.
- Grundy Lake Provincial Park – Mixed forests, inland lakes, and beaches with smooth rocky shorelines –what’s not to love? There is also RV, car camping, or backcountry canoe-in sites available. Must see: The Swan Lake Trail –this 1.5 km loop takes visitors through bogs and Jack pine barrens.
- Killbear Provincial Park –Here you will find gorgeous sand beaches sprinkled through out rocky shorelines. Camping in the spring offers a more secluded experience that is just not possible during the extremely popular summer season. There are several excellent hiking trails, including The Twin Points Trail.
- The Massasauga Provincial Park –This park is a mecca for backcountry campers, with its prominent landscape of colourful gneissic rocks and fantastic geological formations, and an abundance of narrow bays and inlets to explore.
- Georgian Bay Islands National Park –Camp, stay in a cabin, or enjoy an oTENTik when visiting this national park! It’s home to two Amazing Places on Beausoleil Island: Christian Beach & Fairy Lake. The former is a peaceful secluded beach, the latter is gorgeous blue lake accessed by its 2.5 km namesake trail. Bicycles are available for rent on this island, but the Fairy Lake Trail is hike-only.
- French River Provincial Park –This first-come-first-served backcountry camping destination has plenty to offer. View the French River Gorge from the suspension bridge and check out the French River Visitor Centre. Paddle to your heart’s content in the French River Delta, and bring your fishing gear!
- Although the Parry Sound & Area Community Apiary is open year-round for tours, there is no doubt that springtime at the hives is simply abuzz with excitement! This is the busiest time of year for bees and their beekeepers, as spring is when Queens begin laying their eggs.
- Hole in the Wall –While the Island Queen Cruise tours wont start for a few more weeks, you can certainly paddle out to this spectacular channel. The three-hour afternoon Island Queen Cruise will begin running in June.
- Tower Hill Lookout –Climb the 30 m high observation tower in Parry Sound to view the town and the bay. It’s always exciting to take in the views from the highest point in town, no matter what time of year.
- Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery: Spring is the best time for wildlife sighting, and the forest floor will be abundant with wild leeks, trilliums, Dutchman’s breeches and many more! Join the Bog to Bottle Tour! And while Maple Syrup season is now over, there are plenty of treats available that combine tart cranberries and sweet maple syrup!
- Georgian Bay – Explore the rugged shoreline that the “Sixth Great Lake” is famous for. Go for a paddle, hike or bike along the coast to experience this stunning archipelago. The bay will still be cool, so dress appropriately for all adventures!
Hopefully you are inspired to get out there and enjoy all that spring has to offer, in as many Amazing Places as you can visit.
And of course, discover your own!
Be sure to tag #AmazingGBay so we can experience the adventures together!