Links in this article may earn us a little money if you book/ order stuff (More here)
Check Out Hardy Lake Provincial Park For A Nice Hike!
Oh, the Muskokas. The quintessential region in Ontario known to many as “cottage country” is always waiting to be discovered. With great summer weather and loads of activities to get up to in the winter, there’s plenty of opportunities year round to explore the trails and towns in the region.
If hiking is your thing, then we’d recommend Hardy Lake Provincial Park. We had the opportunity to get out to explore the Hardy Lake trails in the fall – and we absolutely loved the experience. So, we wanted to write a little about visiting Hardy Lake so you know what to expect. You also get to see the nice photos!
If you are looking for other conservation areas, we will hike them as soon as we can and get our experience up on this site! We know there are some great ones in the area – like Bigwind, Six Mile Lake, or even Arrowhead!
That said, if you want to learn more about planning a visit to Hardy Lake read on and/or watch the video of our visit below!
How to Get To Hardy Lake
Hardy Lake Provincial Park is a small conservation area just off of Highway 169. You can find it east of the small town of Torrance.
If you are heading north on Highway 11, you’d head through Gravenhurst on Highway 18 until you get to 169. If you are travelling this route, it will be on the right. You’ll pull into the parking lot – which is free – but depending on the season it may be full. We ended up pulling off to the side of the road to park near the entrance. Many other cars also had to do this.
Address: Hwy 169, Torrance, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada
Need to Knows When Visiting Hardy Lake
Before you plan your visit, there are a few things you should know about Hardy Lake Provincial Park:
Compared to other conservation areas in the region, Hardy Lake is pretty small. However, we still think it’s worth a visit. The trails surround Hardy Lake and even touch parts of Lake Muskoka. The park is open in the summer for hiking and winter for snowshoeing – but during the day only.
As we mentioned, parking is free but the lot is quite small. On a busy, nice day you may find it full! So you know, there’s no fires or camping allowed. But if you want to hop in the water, you can do so. The rocky shores make for great swimming spots and there are a few spots that are better than others.
As with any outdoor activities in this area, you will want to watch for ticks. Be sure to check yourself, your kids, and especially dogs when you return to the parking lot. Speaking of dogs, they are supposed to be on a leash!
The Trails at Hardy Lake Provincial Park
The trails at Hardy Lake are considered moderate to hard in difficulty. They honestly change quite frequently. One moment you are hiking hard-pack dirt and the next moment there are rocks and roots. It’s fun to hike around with very little overall elevation change.
As for loops, there are two smaller 3 km loops, a 7 km loop, and an 8 km loop that connects to a 1 km extension loop. All of these loops eventually lead back to the parking lot.
We ended up on one of the smaller 3 km loops that goes closest to Hardy Lake and then cuts back. The 8 km loop has a bridge which (for us) was on the other side of the lake. It was under construction when we visited but is likely completed now.
If you look at a trail map here, you see the various loops and how they relate to the position of the lake and the parking lot.
The Facilities at Hardy Lake
As for facilities at Hardy Lake, there are basically none. After the parking lot and main signage, there’s nothing on the trails. So, it’s a good idea to bring any water that you may need for your hike.
There are also no washrooms (at least none that we saw) so plan ahead for that. We have mixed information about there being a port-o-potty onsite so – again – just plan ahead as if there is none. We also didn’t see any garbage cans along the way so bring your snacks in and out, please. It’s basically just a nice area to show up, hike about for some fresh air, and leave again before night fall!
So, should you visit Hardy Lake Provincial Park? We think so. The trails are nice and it’s a beautiful place to discover Muskoka nature. That said, if you are looking for other activities and/or things to do with kids, you won’t find them at Hardy so maybe then consider another spot.
But if you are passing through the area (or already in the area exploring Gravenhurst, for example) then certainly stop through if you need to stretch your legs! Oh but if you are in Gravenhurst be sure to check out Sawdust City Brewery!
And there you have it – our experience at Hardy Lake Provincial Park. In the end, we had a great few hours hiking and we hope that you may, too. It’s a great place to get out for some fresh air in one of the most beautiful parts of Ontario! Let us know what you think!
As always, Keep Exploring, eh?