In the midst of Algonquin Park, Snowshoers can find numerous trail loops to try. One of them is the Hemlock Bluff Trail, an excellent 3.5 km long trek to explore for a few hours.
Most Snowshoe trails I have done are within an area that has Nordic skiing. Often it is an add on by the resort due to the resurgence of the sport.
Not so here, as we decided to find a separate hiking trail up in Algonquin Park when we were visiting over a few days last March Break.
Having the sun come out made this trek a special day. I found the terrain enjoyable, more of an Intermediate path to traverse and the scenery was not all forest and trees.
As the name implies, your journey twists and climbs then descends to a stone bluff lookout between the trees. There is a bench there (if not buried beneath the snow) to take in the view and have a snack.
Further along, the path goes down to Jack Lake where we walked out onto the ice for a grand view and to take a few pictures.
There were stairs to get there, but even in March, the snow was a metre deep with the stairs buried in snow. Getting down them requires a strategy of holding onto the rail and picking your way down.
A number of other points on the route afforded us views through the clearings before the trail curved inland back up the hill towards the trailhead.
Blue dot markers are posted on the trees as an aid to finding your way. But frankly, in the winter, the path (trench) in the snow is evident unless you’re lost in a blizzard.
As with much of the park in the winter, there is little open nearby. The gatehouses at each end of the park are open and parts of the small towns beyond. There you can find a meal and lodging but the choices are few, so book ahead.
If you’re keen, Mew Lake has winter camping and 7 heated yurts for rent.
Other short Snowshoe loops in Algonquin Park can be found at Peck Lake, Track & Tower, Ragged Falls, Bat Lake, and Whiskey Rapids Trails. All differ in length and difficulty. Off you go…