The following is a quick summary of Frontenac Park hiking trails from the easy, relaxed paced trails to the longer more demanding trails. Please note that duration posted of the following Frontenac Park hiking trails are an estimated time only. Hiker fitness level, familiarity with the hiking trails, and time of year are just some of the factors that can alter how long it takes to hike any of the following trails.
DAY HIKING TRAILS
ARAB GORGE HIKING TRAIL
1.5 km – an easy half-hour walk on which half is on boardwalks in the valley bottom. An interpretive trail guide is available.
DOE LAKE HIKING TRAIL
3.0 km – An easy but pretty one-hour walk, which takes the day hiker through various stages of forest growth. The trail passes along side four beaver ponds, along the shore of two lakes, and over a small lookout hill. An interpretive trail guide is available at the Trail Centre.
THE BUFFLEHEAD TRAIL
8.0 km – a moderate hike for 2 – 3 hours through hardwood forest and along a scenic ridge looking into a creek valley and beaver ponds.
ARKON LAKE HIKING LOOP
13.0 km –a moderate hike taking 3 – 5 hrs which takes you through mature hardwood trees, along a bog complex, and several beaver ponds. It circles Arkon Lake.
LITTLE SALMON LAKE HIKING LOOP
15.0 km – a moderate to difficult walk with the hiker traveling through mature hardwood bush and also through the majestic Moulton Gorge, a deep valley that runs north/south. This trail circles Little Salmon Lake.
CEDAR LAKE HIKING LOOP
15.0 km – a moderate to difficult walk where one travels the south shore of Big Salmon Lake along a rock ridge and then proceeds south, through lowland areas of wetlands in various stages of development, then returning through hardwood forest back to the car.
BIG SALMON LAKE HIKING LOOP
19.0 km – a most impressive moderate to difficult hike of 5 – 7 hours duration if the traveler has the time. One should consider doing this hike counter clockwise, in order to accomplish the more rugged areas in the early part of the day. Shoreline forests, some scenic lookouts, and several spots to stop for a dip and an impressive lookout exist near campsite #5. This trail entirely encircles Big Salmon Lake.
LITTLE CLEAR LAKE HIKING LOOP
9.0 km plus 1.9 km to get to the start of the loop. 3 – 5 hours of easy to moderate hiking on this trail from the closest parking lot. Hardwood bush and several remnants of 19th century homesteads can be found. A few places to stop for a swim and picnic while traveling around Little Clear Lake.
TETSMINE LAKE HIKING LOOP
12.0 km however, another 9.6 km each way to get to and return from this loop. A moderate hike in terms of difficulty. This loop runs through the true mature hardwood forest with abandoned mica mines and a homestead and also through the north end of Moulton Gorge.
GIBSON LAKE HIKING LOOP
11.0 km long, however, it takes another 11.5 km to get there and don’t forget that you have to come back that same distance. A moderate to difficult hike this trail is at the extreme northeast corner of the park, it ventures through thick stands of hardwoods, along rock ridges, and follows the remains of an old logging trail.
HEMLOCK LAKE HIKING LOOP
5.0 km, but you also have to double the 9.5 km hike to get to and from this trail from the nearest parking lot. An easy to moderate hike this trail travels around Hemlock Lake, while it winds its way around old abandoned homesteader hay fields and beaver ponds.
SLIDE LAKE HIKING LOOP
21.0 km plus the 4.6 km that has to be done twice in order to start the trail and to return to the vehicle. It is a very impressive trail, however, it is difficult to very difficult to do this trail. It is most often done in the spring, early summer and fall due to it’s length and degree of difficulty.
There are several excellent lookouts, with the most impressive being the Mink Lake Lookout. This trail covers several areas where there is only bare rock; therefore, one follows rock Cairns which show the way. This is one of the most rugged Frontenac Park hiking trails but most rewarding for those not faint of heart. Bring plenty of water when traveling this trail and ensure you embark early in the day to ensure enough daylight time to traverse the loop! Normally the loop takes 6 – 8 hrs on cool days.
All Frontenac Park hiking trails are interconnected loops. You can make your hike as long or as short as you wish. The only trails that are not interconnected are the Arab Gorge Trail and the Doe Lake Trail, which are individual trails. The Bufflehead Trail basically cuts the Arkon Lake Loop in half. This allows those who are undecided whether to do a 2 hour hike or a 4 hour hike as they can decide when they reach that trail intersection they.
It is always strongly recommended: to wear sturdy hiking boots, obtain a good quality map of the trail system, advise friends and park staff of your intended route of travel and to take along a good supply of water and some snacks. Always stay on the trail; never try to take a short cut. It usually ends up being longer and you don’t want to spend an unprepared night in the bush. And, finally don’t forget to get your park permit and to display it on the vehicle dashboard.
MOST POPULAR FRONTENAC PARK HIKING TRAILS
- Doe Lake Trail
- Arab Gorge Trail
- Bufflehead Trail
- Arkon Lake Loop
- Big Salmon Lake Loop
- Little Salmon Lake Loop
- Cedar Lake Loop
- Little Clear Lake Loop
- Then it’s a toss up whether it is the Tetsmine Lake Loop, Slide Lake Loop or the Gibson Lake Loop.
- Hemlock lake Loop.
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