The 78-kilometre La Cloche Silhouette Path in Ontario’s Killarney Provincial Park is a loop hike that’s sometimes performed over seven to 9 days. It takes you thru a wonderful panorama that features fairly, crystal-clear lakes, gorgeous sections of open forest, and over white quartzite ridges that supply picturesque views of the La Cloche Mountain Vary. The path is devoted to the reminiscence of The Group of Seven artist, Franklin Carmichael (1890-1945) and is called for his portray La Cloche Silhouette.
La Cloche Silhouette Path abstract
- The La Cloche Silhouette Path is a 78 km loop that begins on the important campground at George Lake. You’ll find yourself climbing greater than that in the event you guide any campsites off the principle path and/or do the up and again hike up Silver Mountain.
- The full elevation achieve and loss is simply shy of 2438 metres or 8,000 ft.
- The hike could be performed in both course although I might advocate clockwise due to the dicey part close to the waterfall that’s simpler to ascend then descend, and so that you simply don’t must climb via “The Crack” with a full pack.
- The hike is rated as difficult although there are numerous simple to reasonable sections. Essentially the most technical part is “The Crack”. It’s reached on day one of many hike in the event you do in counterclockwise course and on the final day in the event you hike it clockwise.
- Permit 7 – 9 days to do the total loop hike. The file for finishing the hike is 9 hours, 25 minutes, and 45 seconds by Eric Batty. We met three guys attempting to do it in lower than 24 hours – and I assumed that was spectacular.
- Make a reservation as much as 5 months prematurely of your arrival date. Reservations could be made on-line or by way of cellphone at 1-888-ONT-PARK (1-888-668-7275). The Ontario Parks Name Reservation service is open 14 hours a day from 7 AM till 9 PM, every single day however Christmas and New Yr’s Day.
- Canines are permitted on a leash, however they too must be in fine condition. And so they’ll want loads of energy, so that you’ll have to have the ability to carry sufficient meals for them as effectively.
Highlights on the La Cloche Silhouette Path
- Lengthy quartzite ridges with lovely white pines and superb views
- Crystal clear – generally turquoise-coloured lakes which are improbable for swimming within the warm-weather months
- Non-public campsites: how typically you’ve got a complete lake to your self?
- The flexibility to have a campfire if fireplace bans aren’t in place
- Testing your self bodily over per week
- Being unplugged – although you may get a cell sign on the ridges in the event you select
- Time to mirror and benefit from the second with out a thousand different distractions
What number of days ought to I permit to do the total hike?
Most individuals ought to plan on a seven-to-nine day hike. You possibly can learn studies about individuals who do it sooner – however you’ll miss out on the total expertise as you’ll be so focussed on attending to the campsite that you simply actually don’t have time to absorb the fantastic thing about the panorama. Having fun with the lake and the views after day of climbing was one of many highlights of our journey.
Can I do the hike solo?
We noticed a couple of half dozen males starting from early 20’s to early 70’s doing the hike alone. It’s very doable however try to be a reliable hiker earlier than you set out. This path isn’t one for first-time backpackers.
The La Cloche Silhouette Path may be very completely different from backpacking trails I’ve hiked within the Rockies. If I guide a backcountry campground in Banff Nationwide Park for instance, I can nearly all the time anticipate to be sharing it with others. There are only a few campsites within the park that solely have one tent pad. On this path, nearly with out fail, you get all the campsite and a lake to your self. That’s nice in the event you’re a pair or in a small group – however in the event you’re going solo, don’t anticipate any path camaraderie within the evenings. I additionally discovered that we solely bumped into between 2 – 6 folks a day, aside from the final day after we hiked ‘The Crack’ part of the path. On two days, we noticed no one. Take into consideration that earlier than you decide to going solo.
What number of campsites are there?
I counted 29 campsites on the topo map so regardless that there appear to be loads to select from, you actually should plan how far you need to hike on a regular basis – and what’s manageable in your group. Purchase a map forward of time via Mates of Killarney Provincial Park so you possibly can see the situation of all campsites – and map out your route. Ever sq. on the map is 1 km by 1 km so you possibly can determine approximate mileages.
We did the next and I feel it labored out rather well although our third day was a protracted one – Topaz Lake (H7), Three Narrows Lake (19), Shigaug Lake (H32), Boundary Lake (H35), Silver Lake (H37) and my favorite, Proulx Lake (H48). There’s a longer description under with images.
Are you able to go swimming?
Swimming is an excellent technique to quiet down after a sizzling hike. Simply bear in mind that some lake entry may be very steep and a lot of the campsites we visited had sharp dropoffs. One lake we stayed at, Silver Lake – was very low and the shoreline was muddy and really unappealing for swimming. There have been a couple of others like that we noticed.
Are there bathrooms?
At each campsite on the La Cloche Silhouette Path you’ll discover signage pointing to a pit rest room. At some campsites, the hike to the bathroom is appreciable however not less than you’ll have privateness. Don’t overlook rest room paper and hand sanitizer.
What animals will you see on the hike?
There are black bears in Killarney Provincial Park, however we solely noticed dried scat twice early on within the hike. Moose poop was seen on numerous events, however we by no means noticed a recent moose monitor. We did see a great deal of purple squirrels and chipmunks – together with one which was consuming a dwell frog.
Hen life was respectable. We noticed ruffed grouse on many events together with numerous loons, back-capped chickadees, juncos, and blue jays. We noticed the occasional merganser, hermit thrush, and japanese wooden peewee. We heard pileated woodpeckers a number of occasions and at evening we went to sleep listening to the barred owl – singing “Who cooks for you?” on two events.
Do’s and don’ts alongside the La Cloche Silhouette path
- Pack out what you pack in. Go away the campsite in higher form than you discovered it and keep in mind to observe go away no hint rules. I did discover the path to be nearly rubbish free. I noticed a couple of bar wrappers and a few campfires had bits of rubbish in them, however that was it.
- Deal with all water.
- Don’t take any cans or glass bottles into the park.
- Tenting is just permitted at designated campsites. By no means arrange your tent at a vacant campsite except you’re a registered person.
- Use cookstoves for cooking and the designated campfire pit provided that a campfire ban isn’t in place. Acquire small items of wooden solely. At one spot we discovered recent branches lower and lined up by the hearth pit. What a waste.
- Grasp all of your meals so make sure to convey waterproof baggage, a size of rope and a number of other carabiners.
Our day-to-day expertise on the La Cloche Silhouette Path
Day 1 – Parking zone at George Lake to Topaz Lake (Campsite H7)
Time we took: 4 hours with a couple of quick breaks
There’s a car parking zone on the west finish of George Lake. From there you cross a bridge, flip left and search for blue markers, indicating the La Cloche Silhouette Path. They level within the normal course try to be climbing.
Highlights on this part embody fairly forest climbing, a beaver dam crossing, and a submerged bridge crossing thanks to a different beaver dam. Go a cottage – maybe grandfathered into the park, to proceed up a hill – the steepest portage route within the park, searching for yellow markers on the left indicating the H7 Topaz Lake campsite. Be certain you observe the yellow markers to the campground – and don’t go off beam and find yourself on a thin path on the high of a cliff like we did. We rapidly discovered it is advisable observe the yellow markers to get to any campsite off the principle path.
Day 2 – Topaz Lake to Threenarrows Lake (H19)
Time we took: 6 hours and 20 minutes with a number of lengthy breaks
There first few hours of the hike took us up one facet of Kirk Creek, over a bridge by a reasonably pond, after which down the opposite facet – all simple strolling within the forest. In one other few kilometres we reached H16 – a pleasant campsite on a quiet part of Three Narrows Lake. From there we hiked within the forest for fairly a very long time with minor modifications in elevation. Our campsite at Three Narrows Lake required a couple of 15-minute stroll in – but it surely was value it. We each loved the views and the simple entry to the lake.
It rained laborious a lot of the evening however by morning it had cleared up. We had rain on 4 of six nights, gentle showers on one, and no rain in any respect the final evening.
Day 3 – Three Narrows Lake to Shigaug Lake (H32)
Time we took: 8 hours and 20 minutes with many stops however nonetheless a protracted, laborious day
The third day on the path was our longest and hardest. Most of it was within the forest with simple sections early on, adopted by many steep ups and downs. There’s a fairly waterfall that can get your consideration since you have to hike up beside it on very slick rock. I feel it will be a lot tougher to descend. Take your time right here. There may be one other VERY steep descent the place you actually need to look at your foot placement. Someplace in right here, John stepped on a small rock that took him out. He ended up along with his pack touchdown on high of him, and a cracked rib.
The part alongside the three small lakes close to H22 and H23 was a delight – and a really fairly space. I preferred the look of the H22 campsite. From there it was nonetheless about 5 km to Shigaug Lake, however fortuitously a few kilometres had been very simple. The lake itself is a standout – and definitely worth the 20-minute stroll in, not less than in hindsight.
Day 4 – Shigaug Lake to Boundary Lake (H35)
Time we took: 4 hours, 50 minutes
We woke to dense fog over Shigaug Lake however fortuitously because the day progressed, the fog lifted, and the solar got here out. The day alternated between pretty strolling on quartzite ridges (generally very slippery) and forest sections. It was actually up and down all day. The ridges normally supplied nice views – and blasts of fall color had been frequent.
The hike into the Boundary Lake/H35 campsite was a protracted one, and the higher a part of a kilometre. Your different choice within the space – H34 additionally includes a lengthy strategy. We each beloved the Boundary Lake campsite – numerous fowl life and straightforward water entry.
Day 5 – Boundary Lake to Silver Lake (H37)
Time we took: 5 hours and 20 minutes together with a climb up Silver Peak
It threatened rain all day, but it surely by no means occurred. Nonetheless, as you possibly can see within the photograph under, the visibility over Silver Peak was non-existent, however nonetheless we determined to do it within the hope it will clear after we received to the highest. It didn’t.
The hike to the turnoff to Silver Peak concerned numerous ridge strolling with views throughout to Boundary and David Lakes. It was pretty. We determined on the well-marked turnoff to Silver Peak that we’d hike it – or we’d have been in camp too early. It’s a reasonable to steep path that can take you between 40 minutes and an hour to climb. The purple markers we adopted disappeared on the peak however somebody had drawn arrows within the filth, so we adopted them to the highest. It will be simple to get circled within the fog.
After that one of many best sections of the entire path takes you on what appears to be like like an outdated, flat street via the forest for a couple of kilometres. A pointy flip south and a bit extra up and down had us at Silver Lake very quickly. It’s in a reasonably setting however I wasn’t a fan of the lake or the campsite. It’s the one campsite the place we might see one other particular person – and he grunted loads. The lake was shallow and slimy, so it was laborious to get recent water. And the bathroom was VERY near the campsite, so in the event you had been a part of a gaggle, you wouldn’t have any privateness.
Day 6 – Silver Lake to Proulx Lake (H48)
Time we took: 6 hours, quarter-hour with breaks
One have a look at the topo map over breakfast and I knew we had been in for 5 plus hours of up, down, up, down, and repeat. Don’t get me improper. It’s a wonderful hike, however there’s a shocking quantity of vertical so we sweated profusely. After Heaven Lake (and beautiful campsite H47) we flew down a portage path, then climbed steeply to achieve a wonderful setting excessive above Shingwak Lake. Our campsite was one other few kilometres away, however the climbing went rapidly. And Proulx Lake was a complete delight.
The color of Proulx Lake would give Lake Louise a run for the cash. It’s an otherworldly turquoise blue that modifications colors relying on how a lot gentle it will get. Our campsite – an actual magnificence – was the place to look at the solar set on the quartzite cliffs. Of any of the campsites on the path, that is the one you need to snag!! Getting water is the one subject – simply don’t fall in as there’s an instantaneous dropoff.
Day 7 – Proulx Lake to the car parking zone by way of “The Crack”
Time we took: 6 hours
From the Proulx Lake campsite to the underside of ‘The Crack” – a well-known, difficult, and well-liked day hike, the climbing was chic. Once more, it was a mixture of forest strolling interspersed with gorgeous stretches alongside the quartzite ridges. It was notably lovely as a result of we began at 7AM and watched the sunshine change as we received nearer to The Crack. The view over Little Superior Lake was chic.
We reached The Crack with out actually appreciating it at first. Abruptly the rock dropped away, and we might see path markers via a big cleft within the rock under. We admired the view on high – particularly searching to the Georgian Bay, after which began the descent. It’s tough climbing, particularly with a pack in your again. We didn’t need to make any improper strikes, so we simply took our time, downclimbing in locations because it felt safer. We had the entire Crack to ourselves so there was nobody chomping on the bit, questioning what was taking so lengthy.
After you’re via the robust part, the remainder of the hike to George Lake is straightforward. And busy. Abruptly we had been bumping into folks, primarily out on a day hike. It felt unusual to see so many individuals directly. As soon as on the turnoff to George Lake and the remainder of the La Cloche Silhouette Path – simply previous Kakakise Lake, it was simply the 2 of us once more. Many of the remainder of the climbing was simple – however due to that, I wasn’t paying consideration and slid on a root and landed with a loud thump laborious on the bottom. Now I had matching bruises on each hips.
We by no means had any issues route discovering till we received to the George Lake campground. Then we needed to attempt to discover our automotive – which you’d suppose can be simple however there was no signage on the path directing us there, so we spent half-hour wandering via campsites, taking what we thought had been shortcuts till we lastly received to a spot that appeared acquainted.
Ten minutes later we had been heading for Parry Sound – and a latte and piece of cake adopted by a drive to Pearson Airport at rush hour. It felt like an abrupt ending to what had been an exquisite hike.
What to pack on the La Cloche Silhouette Path
Packing gentle is all the time good as you’ll have a extra snug hike. A rule of thumb is that your backpack shouldn’t weigh greater than 20% of your weight. I’d say that John and I break that rule each time – however we’re additionally snug carrying the burden. On the finish of the hike, I considered what we carried and what we used and primarily based on that I might counsel the next.
- 6 -7 pairs fast dry underwear
- 3 pairs of climbing socks + one pair for at camp which are clear and dry
- a raincoat and rain pants (solely wore the rain pants for about 2 hours however on a chilly, windy day they’d be a necessity)
- one merino wool lengthy sleeved shirt
- two quick-dry t-shirts
- one pair of climbing shorts or lengthy pants (the zip off selection work effectively)
- bathing swimsuit
- one pair well-broken in climbing boots
- one pair camp footwear or sandals
- one down jacket
- one heat hat + one baseball fashion cap
- one pair of gloves
- one fleece
- one tent and fly
- sleeping bag and pad
- a size of rope + 2 carabiners + waterproof baggage for hanging meals
- water filter
- water bottle (we simply used one every however we had a light-weight packable water bottle with a filter we might fill at each lake we handed)
- cooking range + gas + lighters (take a number of) + fireplace starter
- pot, pan, mug, bowl, utensils, pot scrubber, dish towel, biodegradable cleaning soap
- first help equipment
- compass or GPS
- cellphone (works on ridges)
- rest room paper and hand sanitizer
- waterproof map case
- studying materials
- camp chairs
- climbing poles (we didn’t use, however many individuals will need these)
- a small axe
- insect repellent
You’ll burn loads of energy on this hike – seemingly within the order of two,000 – 4,000 per day. For those who don’t need the effort of meal planning, close by Killarney Outfitters will take care of all the pieces. Simply resolve from their menu and voilá.
Meals is private. Some folks eat for pleasure (me) whereas others eat for gas solely. Make sure you convey numerous excessive calorie meals, quite a lot of power and protein bars, dried fruit, combined nuts, laborious cheese, and another favourites. We introduced 4 dehydrated meals I’d cooked and dried at house and loaded up with different meals in Parry Sound. I forgot the pasta for the spaghetti sauce however discovered Naan bread grilled in olive oil was an exquisite backup. Be versatile in your pondering.
Make sure you manage your meals so that you don’t spend time going via each bag. Pull out snacks within the morning you propose to eat that day – and be sure to have a bag that’s simple to entry devoted to rubbish.
Additional studying on lengthy distance hikes in Canada
Disclosure: Thanks to Ontario Parks and Journey Ontario for getting me to the park and internet hosting me on the campgrounds. It’s an distinctive hike any severe hiker will need to do.
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