This week, 29 of 48 national parks in Canada will partially reopen for visitors. Typically, this includes use of most of the trails and day use areas. There are, of course, still recommendations
that visitors should follow for social distancing and safety. However, for many people this access to nature is a welcome opportunity. Currently Point Pelee National Park is not set to open on June 1 and Bruce Peninsula National Park’s trails are closed.
For those ready to hit the trails this summer, here are our recommendations for amazing day hikes in Ontario’s national parks that will be open:
Pukaskswa National Park
Pukaswka National Park (which will open on June 5) is simply the best place to take in the beauty of Lake Superior. Remote coves, waves crashing into boulders and beaches, and, of course, the 60-km Coastal Trail with its infamous hanging bridge are all lures to this northern park. One of Ontario’s quietest parks, you’re certain to have wildlife encounters – perhaps even with a moose, bear, or wolf.
For hiking, the park has three short trails. The Southern Headlands Trail travels through mixed forest to the Superior coastline and splendid views of water-dashed rock. Any hiker will want to spend a few hours marvelling at the power of Lake Superior and the lovely view of Pic Island. An extension of the Southern Headland Trail, the Beach Trail, leads through sheltered boreal forest, offering views of Pic River Dunes, the largest dune complex on Superior’s north shore. Horseshoe Bay Trail provides access to a stunningly beautiful cove and beach. Even better than beachcombing is the chance to study the pond life in the pools of water that collect on the shoreline boulders.
Many hikers come to the park to travel the Coastal Trail, including a 15-km section form the campground to the White River crossing. However, the trail is still partially closed – ending past the Fire Walk (which includes the White River Suspension Bridge).
Georgian Bay Islands National Park
The Trails of Beausoleil Island are now open. This classic Canadian Shield hiking, with a mix of rocky outcrops, lowland forest, and wildlife-rich wetlands. One of the most popular is the nearly 7-km Fairy Lake Trail, taking several beautiful bays and some of the best views on the island. There are other trail loops, such as the Cambrian Trail and Lake Trail that can be easily added onto this relatively flat, easy hike. Don’t forget to take bug spray, though!
The challenge, however, is getting there as many of the local marina water taxi services are not open yet. Be sure to call ahead or arrange private transport before heading out.
Thousand Islands National Park
There are plenty of relatively easy hikes found at this park on the St Lawrence River, particularly at Jones Creek and Landon Bay. There are options from a 20-minute jaunt to an all day challenge that take in a wide variety of landscapes from wetlands to fields to forests. The 5-km Donevan Trail offers one of the best views of the Thousand Islands around, and sometimes you’re lucky enough to spot beaver, osprey, and other wildlife along the way. With the exception of the climb to the lookout, the trail is relatively flat, making it possible for most hikers to complete with ease.
To get a full list of what islands and park features are open on June 1, visit this website