Hiking the Booth’s Rock Trail in Algonquin Park

One of my favourite parts of this trail was what my friends referred to as the mosquito farm.  This huge body of still water was perfect for mosquito larvae.  I simply enjoyed the green and reflection that was provided.  That said, this was the beginning of lots of pesky mosquitoes following us around.  Consider that a heads up if you do make a visit (pending weather and temperature of course).

Before some friends and I took a road trip to Utah a couple of years ago, I felt it was important for them to do a bit of a practice hike (as we were going to be doing a lot of hiking in Utah).  In one case it was to make sure one of my friends broke in his first pair of hiking boots.  So we hopped in the car, drove up to Algonquin Park, and settled on hiking the Booth’s Rock trail.  I actually had the opportunity to hike this in the winter quite a few years ago but attempting this in the Spring just when the mosquito season begins is probably daring on our part.
The trail is a bit trickier to get to as the trailhead isn’t accessible right off Highway 60 but it just requires one to pay attention to the signage to know when to turn off on to the somewhat unpaved gravel road that leads to the trailhead.

Booth’s Rock is considered a moderate hike.  The Park suggests approximately 2 hours but I’d say lean towards 3 hours depending on the pace of you and your fellow hikers.  Especially if there are shutterbugs in the party.

The look of the trail

As with most moderate trails I’ve encountered, the trail isn’t necessarily difficult but it requires people to pay attention to where they are stepping to avoid tripping over tree roots or rocks — as well as some uphill walking.  A fairly large chunk of the trail resembled above.

Reflection on still water

One of my favourite parts of this trail was what my friends referred to as the mosquito farm.  This huge body of still water was perfect for mosquito larvae.  I simply enjoyed the green and reflection that was provided.  That said, this was the beginning of lots of pesky mosquitoes following us around.  Consider that a heads up if you do make a visit (pending weather and temperature of course).

Lookout point

Once you get through the wet part of the wooded area, you finally make it to an awesome lookout point.  You can see it is Spring here as many trees are still bare.  This was a great place to sit down and enjoy lunch.  I’ve done this in the winter too although in the Spring, the mosquitoes were a bit of a nuisance — especially for a friend who couldn’t stand flying insects.

Booth's Rock

As you move along the lookout area you’ll come across Booth’s Rock.  Don’t be fooled by this photograph, it’s pretty huge.

A view of the lake taken while I'm sitting on Booth's Rock

Here’s a photograph of the lake while I’m sitting on a part of Booth’s Rock.

A muddy route along the Booth's Rock Trail in Algonquin Park

As we descended the trail, we came across this brilliant muddy obstacle.  This was the trail back.  This was a good opportunity for everyone to test drive their waterproof hiking boots.

Tourists on a staircase

Of course, the trail is made a little easier for most folks by this giant staircase.

Lakeside view

Along the way back to the trailhead, the route pretty much sticks to the lake which makes for an excellent and peaceful view.

Beaver dam

Even came across a beaver dam.

This is one of my favourite hikes to do in the autumn.  I love to just hike up to the lookout point, sit on Booth’s Rock and enjoy the view with some lunch.  These are just some highlights but you can check out the whole trek and a bit more in my photo album.

Kabeyun Trail to Top of the Giant

Ever since I stumbled across photos of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park a number of years ago, I’ve yearned to explore the area.  Unfortunately the park being close to Thunder Bay makes it a little far for me to drive there from Toronto.  It’s a 19 hour drive, if not more. Finally opportunity arose when I had a single vacation day remaining and extended the weekend.  Add on a discounted flight with Porter and bonus!

Ever since I stumbled across photos of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park a number of years ago, I’ve yearned to explore the area.  Unfortunately the park being close to Thunder Bay makes it a little far for me to drive there from Toronto.  It’s a 19 hour drive, if not more.
Finally opportunity arose when I had a single vacation day remaining and extended the weekend.  Add on a discounted flight with Porter and bonus!

One of the craziest things about Ontario is that it is incredibly difficult for majority of its population to reach some of the province’s most unique and stunning landscapes.  It is both a good and bad thing.

Had the lucky opportunity to set up camp on one of the most beautiful campsites (in terms of non-back country sites) I’ve encountered.  My tent was set up mere steps away from from the interior lake Marie Louise.  Stunning views, although we had noisy neighbours and a family of ducks that kept visiting.

Best Campsite in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

What I did not know was that the hiking trails were located so deeply within the park.  After driving to the trailhead, there was still at least a 6km hike just to get to the real hiking trails.  Most people brought mountain bikes to make the trek shorter or made use of the back country campsites.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Once on the actual trail towards the top of the giant, things got a lot more interesting as did the landscape.  Often stumbled across deer and rabbits — even the odd wolf and red squirrel!  Sorry no photos of those 😦

Crazy split tree in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

I was initially weary of the hike up the giant as I wasn’t seeing any truly good views but in the end, the climb up the giant was definitely worthwhile as we got to look out over Lake Superior.  Ran into a couple of hikers with glasses of red wine … interesting locals … and they were very kind to point out that it was worth hiking further to the Chimney rocks (cliffs).  Apparently there used to be a trail along those cliffs that got shutdown after a number of people had fallen or were injured by falling rocks.

Looking out over the lake was amazing, Ontario is often recognized for having a lot of lakes and not a whole lot of mountains.  We don’t.  But I’m glad we have steep cliffs such as these to sit on and look out from.

Views from the Sleeping Giant

After hiking further and going through some really peculiar turns and twists in the trail, the reward was one of the best places to rest and eat lunch.  The cliffs you see below are absolutely jaw-dropping in person.  I wish I were able to get a better shot but I was reluctant to get too close to the edge, although I did dangle my feet along the edge while having lunch.  You could even see Thunder Bay across the lake.

Chimney Cliffs of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

On the way back, there were people who did not carry enough water and they had not even reached the point of climbing the giant.  The way to the top of the giant is a long one and I am actually happy that it isn’t easily accessible to everyone and that there is a challenge to reaching this point.

It just wouldn’t be the same if this cliff were crowded with people.