When it comes to epic hikes with kids, the Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park is the second amazingly epic hike my kids experienced in 2018. Located on the east end of Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, close to Petawawa, it’s most convenient to access from the Sand Lake Gates.
We took advantage of hiking this trail when we were staying at Bonnechere Provincial Park, approximately one hour away by car.
Epic Hikes With Kids – Barron Canyon Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park
The parking lot for the trail is only 11km past the Sand Lake Gate. Driving distance from Toronto is roughly 5 hours. The road leading into Algonquin at this point is a dirt road and you kind of wonder if you are going the right way. It’s the only road to the park in the area, so yes you are.
The Barron Canyon Trail in Algonquin itself is short, only 1.5 kilometres and is a loop up to the amazing north rim of the Barron Canyon. It’s uphill for the most part here, about 200-300 metres, but not difficult at all. This trail is moderately trafficked and my four year old basically ran up this hill. Once you reach the canyon, it’s fairly level, few ups and downs.
The canyon is part of the Canadian Shield and the Barron Canyon began as a fault in the earth’s crust and eroded into it’s present form over millions of years. The result is what we see now, it is a spectacular view and river for canoe enthusiasts.
One of the first things to note about this trail is that you are visiting an unfenced cliff.
There are no barriers at all. A fall off the ledge would prove to be fatal. Bringing children or anyone for that matter on this hike is a risk, but one that is manageable. I would never advocating leashing your children in any way, shape or form, so they also need to understand the risk of their environment. Z Man, who is 4, was within arms reach of me at all times on the cliff area. Most times, I would not let go of his hand.
So is this safe? Only if you behave in a safe and cautious manner.
There is a bench there that people can sit on for a rest. I recommend asking your children to sit and wait there when you are taking pictures. Because you will be taking pictures, lots of pictures. I cannot guarantee your kids will stay seated, but it’s an option.
The view is so worth the drive. So worth the dust on your car. This one hour in nature will improve your mood and health!
From the canyon, you return to the parking lot, downhill through a heavily forested trail. It’s a very easy exit. Don’t forget to sign the guest book on the way out!
A valid park permit is required to hike on the Barron Canyon Trail. You can obtain one at the Sand Lake Gate office. In 2018, this permit office was open from May 22 to October 8th.
Worth noting – I had pretty much no cell phone service here with my carrier (Telus). Only at the gate, did I have 3G service.
There is no snow removal of the roads in this area in the winter, so please consider this a seasonal activity.
We were guests of Ontario Parks while staying at Bonnechere Provincial Park. We were not coerced into saying this was a great trail with great look outs, the opinions and photographs expressed our mine.