La Cloche Silhouette Trail (in Killarney)
Introduction- The La Cloche Silhouette trail is Killarney's only backpacking trail. Named after his painting "La Cloche Silhouette" this trail is dedicated to the memory of The Group of Seven artist Franklin Carmichael (1890-1945)
This challenging yet rewarding trail covers a total distance of 103 kilometres; passing over ridges, through valley bottoms and alongside picturesque crystal clear lakes. Due to its length and rugged nature, the trail requires a good level of physical conditioning on part of the hiker, and your hike should be carefully planned. The backpacker should plan on a 6 to 8 day outing. The Trail begins and ends at George Lake, at the Parks Main Entrance, in 103km Loop.
Campsite and Permits: All together there are 54 campsites along the course of the trail. Permits are required for these interior sites and the backpacker must present their planned travel route indicating where they plan to camp each night. Due to the limited number of sites, it is recommended to book early. This can be done using Ontario Parks Central Reservation Number, 1-888-ONT-PARK or 1-888-668-7275.
Maps: Updated 2001 Killarney Park Maps, complete with location of all interior sites, contour lines and tips for backcountry travel can be purchased from the Friends of Killarney Park at (705) 287-2800 or on-line at www.friendsofkillarneypark.ca
" The main trail at Killarney Provincial Park is a 103 km loop known as the La Cloche Silhouette Trail. In 2004, 3 kms were added around H8, to bypass a bridge. You can travel in either direction around the loop but most backpackers travel in the clockwise direction, as in this photo hike. I believe this to be the best choice for several reasons. From what I have experienced on the screed and talus covered slopes on the north ridges, I would not want to do certain slopes in the counter clockwise direction because of safety considerations". ....Tom Simon
The trail heads of the La Cloche Silhouette Trail are located at the main park camp ground at George Lake. The trail has been described in five sections, travelling in a clock-wise fashion.
George Lake to Three Narrows- Approximate distance: 13 Kilometres
From the western end of George Lake, the trail winds its way through stands of mixed deciduous and coniferous trees. The first campsites are located at Lumsden Lake, about a half kilometre hike from the trail. The Lakes east ridges offer superb views of the surrounding hills and Georgian Bay. Notice the white quartzite rock. You have now crossed into a geological zone, dating back 2.3 billion years.
From Lumsden to Acid Lake, the trail passes over sections of corduroy road, remnants of bygone logging days. As you leave Acid Lake behind, there is a steady climb over Killarney Ridge. Before you start ascending into the valley, check out the spectacular view north from the open rock, located about 20 metres to the west of the trail.
Located at the valley bottom is meandering Artist Creek. Artist Creek is particularly pretty during July and August when wild flowers such as Pickerel Weed and other aquatic plants choke its waters.
At the 12 kilometre point the trail passes close to eastern end of Baie Fine known as “The Pool”. It is worth the short detour to view this picturesque spot. Owing to its spectacular scenery and remote location, the pool has long been a favourite of American yachtsmen. Just a short distance past the pool is the turn off to Topaz Lake, with its deep blue waters and quartzite rimmed cliffs. The clarity of the water is largely due to the lack of floating organisms and sediments.
The climb between Topaz Lake and Three Narrows is considered to be the steepest in the park. A steep descent brings you out at the Three Narrows dam.
Three Narrows Dam to Moose Pass- Approximate distance: 24 Kilometres
After crossing the dam, which regulates the water levels in the park’s largest lake, the trail to the Bodina Lake portage is relatively flat. There are a number of campsites along the western end of Three Narrows. H19, situated on a peninsula, is particularly appealing for those seeking solitude. The ascent to Moose pass is demanding and special attention should be paid to footing. Impressive views southward are not to be missed.
Moose Pass to Silver Peak- Approximate distance: 28 Kilometres
The climb from Moose Pass stream, through an old growth hemlock stand is steep and the footing can be slippery. The climb is well worth it, as the hiker is rewarded with changing vistas of the surrounding countryside from the ridge tops. Short detours provide access to camping sites on Shiguag and Little Mountain Lake. Come nightfall, don’t be surprised to hear the howls of wolves in this area.
Further along, the trail passes between David and Boundary Lake, providing good views of these scenic lakes. Just to the south lies a side trail to the summit of Silver Peak. This rugged trail is about 2 kilometres long and has some steep sections. At the halfway mark, there is a particularly pretty waterfall, especially during periods of run-off. The 360 degree view from the summit of the area’s tallest peak is not to be missed.
Silver Peak to the Crack- Approximate distance: 20 Kilometres
From Silver Peak, the trail heads in southerly direction, through alternating hemlock and birch forests. Silver and Bunnyrabbit Lakes each have two sites. Passing Bunnylake, the trail becomes increasingly rocky and hilly. Heaven Lake, with its striking setting and impressive views of Kakakise Lake, is one of the highest along the trail.
From Heaven the trail descends to Norway Lake. Take the opportunity to rest here and enjoy this picturesque spot, before starting the strenuous climb along the Killarney Ridge to the Crack.
The Crack to George Lake- Approximate distance: 10 Kilometres
The view from the Crack, provides the hiker with a panoramic view of interior lakes, quartzite ridges and to the open waters of Georgian Bay. Below lies Killarney Lake and just to the west O.S.A. Lake. O.S.A. Lake is dedicated to the Ontario Society of Artists in recognition of their efforts to save the area from being logged. In 1932, Group of Seven Member A.Y. Jackson fought successfully for the creation of a nature preserve here.
The descent from the Crack is rugged and can be difficult, especially when wet. Reaching Kakakise Lake, the trail becomes quite flat. Kakakise marks the meeting point of two geological plates, with granite to the south and quartzite lying to the north.
After crossing the beaver pond at the western end of Kakakise, the trail heads west towards Freeland Lake. Freeland Lake provides a great opportunity to view a variety of wildlife including the resident loons and perhaps larger mammals such as moose. Unlike many of Killarney’s Lakes, the shallow waters of Freeland are extremely productive and teem with life.
The trail continues past Wagon Road Lake and above Little Sheguindah. Little Sheguindah’s waters, with its steep walled pink granite cliffs, average a depth of only 2 metres. The lake’s only campsite is located below at the southern end of the lake. A.Y. Jackson is the last lake before the end of trail and arguably one of its prettiest. The view from the south shore takes in the white quartzite ridges above George Lake which stand in sharp contrast to the pink granite shores of this lake. Take the opportunity to go for a refreshing swim in its inviting waters.
The last kilometre is quite rocky with a short steep descent to George Lake. This marks the end to your one hundred kilometre journey.
103 km - 7Days