Killarney: 4-Day Canoe/Hiking Trip
Killarney: 4-Day Canoe/Hiking Trip
This is our most sought-after trip of the year! The peak of the Fall colours in one of the most beautiful places in Central Ontario. Picture tall white granite peaks, infused with quartzite, overlooking crystal blue waters, covered in trees of vibrant red, yellow, orange, green and brown! It’s our favourite trip of the year and we often have to raffle off for which guide will be lucky enough to lead it.
Locations: Killarney Park Activity: Canoeing, Hiking, Photography Difficulty: Modeate
Killarney is so beautiful and so inspirational that many of the Group of Seven’s paintings are based on the different locations in this amazing park. In fact, the park itself was founded by artists looking to preserve the natural beauty of it! Add in the fall colours and you’ve got one of the most spectacular scenes you could ever hope for. Cameras are highly recommended.
This is a backcountry canoe trip, so you need to be prepared to lose the reception, the outlets, and the showers for a few days. Those who do will be rewarded with a weekend to remember. The cooler fall temperatures are lack of mosquitos are a welcome addition to this trip, and create an atmosphere that’s hard to match in the summer months. We start with a quick canoe lesson to get you ready for the weekend, and then we take off on the spectacular Bell Lake. When we get to camp, we'll teach you a series of backcountry camp skills, including how to build a comfortable site, how to chop firewood and build a fire, and plenty of other camping skills. In the evening, prepare to be covered by a blanket of stars. On our second day, we'll head out on a canoe trip with the intention of getting to the top of the beautiful Silver Peak. The hike takes us through a mix of forested landscapes, and up to the tallest peak in the park – a part of the LaCloche mountain range that at one point used to be taller than the Rocky Mountains. From here you can see for miles in every direction and as far as the coast of Georgian Bay! Day three is spent exploring by canoe, and we take you to some of Bell Lakes best kept secrets. With the fall colours in full force, it’s a day to remember! Our guides take you to some of the best sites on this side of Killarney, and make for a weekend that you won’t soon forget!
No experience is necessary for this trip, but you must have an adventurous attitude.
Custom Dates: We can accommodate most custom dates. Minimum group size of 4 for above mentioned price. Smaller group sizes possible, but price may change.
THIS PACKAGE INCLUDES:
Price Includes Tax
Optional Transportation to and from Toronto (see below)
Camping Equipment (Tents, Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads etc)
Canoe Rentals, life jackets, paddles
Food, Drinks and Snacks
Camping Permits and Fees
All Safety and First Aid Equipment
This Package Does Not Include
Parking at put-in point
Personal gear (clothing, toiletries, camera, etc...)
Lunch on day 1
Dinner on day 4
Day 1 – Arrival and Orientation
Our trip starts at the Killarney Kanoes Canoe rental on Bell Lake at 1:30 pm. where we introduce ourselves to the rest of the group, meet the Overhang guide for the weekend, and play some quick games to get acquainted with one another. Get excited, because the next few days will be something unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Your highly-skilled guide will then teach you some basic canoeing skills. Enough to get you safely on the water and paddling in a straight line (hopefully), but not enough to delay the start of the trip. At this time of year a fall into the water wouldn’t be a disaster, but would be pretty unpleasant, so the guides make sure we’re safe and comfortable before setting off. Once we’re paired up, and have practiced a bit without gear, we'll load up the canoes and head out on our way.
Day 1 - Bell Lake
Bell Lake is a large and beautiful lake, that is a little bit off the beaten track. In the fall, the colours come to life to create a scene like you wouldn’t believe! We’ll have a chance to get comfortable in the canoes while we go out looking for that perfect campsite.
Once we find our site, we’ll spend some time setting up camp and making the site comfortable. For those who are new to canoe tripping, this is a great time to learn about camping, and our guides will be happy to show you any number of camping skills while we work together to set up camp. If there is time, we can play some games in the canoes, or just relax and listen to the sounds of the lunes.
Day 1 – Relaxation
A vacation shouldn’t be work all the time, and the evening of day 1 is a great time to settle in, relax, chat with your group members, and get to know your guide. Depending on the weather and on the group, you may go out for some extra canoeing, or hike through the woods learning about different trees, plants, and wildlife.
Day 1 – Dinner
Dinner is a special time for Overhang, as we take great pride in our menu. We’ve long since done away with the hot dogs on sticks, and instead rely on a healthy, high energy, and mostly vegetarian menu. While some members of the group are helping to prepare dinner, others can get started on the bonfire. Before long, we’ll be eating and relaxing by a nice warm bonfire while the sun sets and we prepare for a calm evening of stargazing by the water. Remember to pack warm, because the nights can be a bit chilly this time of year.
Day 1 – Stargazing
If the weather is calm and the skies are clear, we end off the day staring at a blanket of stars that most people have never experienced before. Killarney is far from any city, and the total darkness makes for some excellent views. If the weather is really calm, we may even take the canoes out for a short night paddle!
Day 2 – Breakfast
We wake up to an amazing cooked breakfast and coffee on the percolator. All vegetarian and freshly made.
Day 2 – Canoe to Silver Peak Trail
Once we’ve eaten, cleaned up the site, and packed up our day-packs, we get in the canoes and head to the west end of Bell Lake. The paddle is beautiful, and ends at the foot of the famous Silver Peak trail. Silver Peak is the tallest mountain in Killarney, and named for it’s sparkling silver quartzite ridges that are exposed on the south side.
We park the canoes, and set out on the trail, which travels through several diverse forests and briefly joins the famous LaCloche Silhouette Trail before starting its climb to the top.
Day 2 – Silver Peak
Once part of the range that were taller than the Rocky Mountains, Silver Peak is a beautiful mountain with spectacular views. The hike up varies in difficulty, but we take our time to make sure everyone is keeping up, and take lots of pictures along the way! The trail winds back and forth during the climb, allowing for some very special views. If you were still wondering why it was a group of artists that founded the park, you’ll soon get your answer well before you reach the top! The cool October air helps to keep us cool, and before long we’ve made it to the top! We take a much-needed break, relax and have lunch atop the mountain. The views from here are outstanding and on a clear day you can see as far as Manitoulin Island! The added colours of the trees make for some of the best scenery Ontario has to offer.
We take the return trip down nice and slow and make it back to the canoes with enough daylight left to comfortably make it back to the site. Your legs may be a bit wobbly after all that, but the memories are well worth it!
Day 2 – Dinner, Games, and Stories
We paddle back to the campsite for a much-needed rest period. While the guide is setting up for dinner, we relax and share pictures and thoughts of our day’s hike. Some people may choose to play some games, or help the guide set up dinner, while others can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.
As the sun starts go down, we eat dinner and enjoy the spectacular views over Bell Lake. Dinner on day two is a good one, and we follow it up with some surprise deserts that will make the most discerning eater happy.
As the sun sets, we prepare for a second night of games, stories and stargazing, only this time we have some amazing experiences to share with each other. If the weather didn’t cooperate on the first night, this is our second chance to try out that night paddle and get an open view of our blanket of stars. If we’re lucky, we may even be treated to the northern lights!
Day 3 – Breakfast
We wake up again to an amazing cooked breakfast and coffee on the percolator. Tea is available, and everything is vegetarian and freshly made.
Day 3 – Paddle Killarney
We pack up our day packs and set out to explore the hidden corners of Bell Lake. The guides know the best places to see the scenery, but its not the destination that really matters. The journey through brightly lit forests of greens, yellows, and vibrant reds, paired with the sounds of the lunes as they make their last calls before heading south is all we need to make the day special. We’ll take it slow on day three, stop for breaks where we want, eat lunch when we’re hungry, and learn some new canoe skills along the way.
The reason we choose not to over program our third day is simple. Killarney in the fall is so spectacular, that any planned activity may actually take away from the magic of the trip. We take it slow, and let the park win us over with it’s natural wonders. That being said, if the group wants to take a hike, or play a canoe game, we’re always up for some extra fun!
Day 3 – Dinner, Games, and Stories
We end the day with a final night sitting around a bonfire, telling stories, and playing games. Don’t forget the freshly cooked meal: We save our best for the end, and always have some surprises up our sleeves for the last day! If the stars have been shy for the last two nights, this is our last chance to see them. If not, a peaceful moment lying on the shore of a lake, miles away from the nearest city is still a worthy consolation prize.
Day 4 – Breakfast
Get ready for another delicious vegetarian breakfast. Of course, there'll also be coffee and tea. We have one more chance to enjoy the relaxation of the campsite on a quiet summer morning, and then it’s time to pack up.
With the help of the guides we make quick work of cleaning and packing up, and then load the canoes for the final trip back to the parking lot.
Day 4 – Departures and Goodbyes
All great things come to an end - in order to ensure that we are ready for those needing to travel by bus, we'll pack up the gear and set out on the final paddle back to the access point. Once we reach the access point, we'll close of the trip with a few final words and bid everyone safe travels on their next adventures!
The Optional Return Transportation from Toronto is organized in Partnership with Parkbus
The pick up is at the York Mills TTC subway drop-off/pick-up area at 5 Old York Mills Rd - just to the SOUTH of Shells gas station on the SE Corner of Yonge and York Mills.
The pick up location is in front of Holiday Inn/Starbucks, on the north side of Carlton Street. TTC College Subway station is located less than 100m away.
The pick up location is on the north side of Bloor to the East of Dufferin (1126 Bloor St West) - TTC subway station Dufferin.
The pick up point is located at the MTO carpool parking lot. The bus will pull in right besides the bus stop located at the parking lot.