Hiking trails alongside Lake Erie

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 24-30, 1997
Hiking trails alongside Lake Erie
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Hiking trails alongside Lake Erie
Question: Hi, I'm going to travel to Ontario, and I would like to hear your suggestions on the best hiking trails along the Ontario side of Lake Erie. Any chance that some are close to the water?

George Quintero
Lexington, KY
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: As one park ranger told me, "People expect rocks, trees, and polar bears when they cross into Canada, but a lot of the time the only wilderness you'll find is squashed between miles of cities and towns."

If you look at a map of the north shore of Lake Erie, you'll find that she's right. Granted, there are nine national and provincial parks, but you won't find unadulterated wilderness like you would if you traveled farther north to Algonquin or Killarney Provincial Parks.

Keeping that in mind, there are a few woodsy stretches where you can get out of the car and stretch your legs for a day or two of hiking and camping:

Rondeau Provincial Park, which sticks out like a finger into Lake Erie, has a surprisingly lush Carolinian forest with sassafras, tulip trees, and tall bellflower, not to mention 33 mammal species. The park has five nature trails of varying lengths that meander past beach dunes, pine, oak, and maple forests, and sandstone cliffs. The 8.5-mile Marsh Trail winds through the heart of bald eagle country. The park has 258 campsites, 106 with electricity, and amenities include showers, picnic tables, a laundromat, and a boat launch. For more details, call the park at 519-674-1750.

Rock Point Provincial Park, on the northern end of the lake just south of Niagara Falls, has an extensive trail system that runs through thick forest and along the lake's shoreline, complete with a viewing platform for optimal bird watching. Rock Point has 135 campsites, 40 with electrical hookups. The park is located 7 miles south of Dunnville. For more information call 905-774-6642.

For more information on all of Ontario's provincial parks call 705-755-7275. For general information about Ontario call 800-ONTARIO.

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