Awenda Provincial Park, Tiny, ON, Canada
Driving time from Barrie
Where to start
Access to Awenda Provincial Park is on Awenda Park Road off of Concession Road 16 East. There are multiple parking lots straddling the Bluff Trail, so follow the signs and get going. Be sure to pack your day hiking essentials, including some snacks and enough water (and maybe even a swimsuit) in your daypack.
Hike the Bluff Trail
The 13km Bluff Trail loop is long but relatively easy with moderate elevation gains. It will take you around the park, through low wetlands and along a high bluff, while providing some picturesque viewpoints along the way. On spring hikes, keep an eye out for trilliums blooming (they’re the Ontario provincial flower) and the park’s 120+ species of birds perched in the 250-year-old maple trees.
If you want to extend your hike, there are also a number of other trails linking the Bluff Trail to Georgian Bay, Kettle Lake and the park’s various campsites.
Spend some time by the bay
The clear fresh water of Georgian Bay is known for its turquoise hue, and makes the shore along Awenda particularly nice to look at as you explore. Walking west, you can check out the park’s four natural beaches and rugged shoreline.
If you have a boat, the nearest boat launch is in Penetanguishene. If you do plan on heading out, be sure to check conditions, as the winds on Georgian Bay can be intense and are known to rise unexpectedly.
Learn something new
From late June until early fall, Awenda Provincial Park offers guided hikes, special events, children’s and evening programs focused on the history and biology of the area. Walk with the park experts or sit in on a talk to find out more about the plants and animal species that call this part of Ontario home – once you know what to look and listen for, you’d be surprised at how many plants and bird calls you might be able to recognize with some practice.
Heading home…or not
Catch the sunset on the beach before the drive home, or spend the night in one of the 333 campsites spread across the six campgrounds in the park. From remote radio-free sites (a bonus if you’re looking for a mini-escape from busy cities) to more social sites and rentable cottages, there’s somewhere suitable for everyone to crash after a long day of exploration.