Trail Specs: Silver Peak
Access - Bell Lake, Johnny Lake (via Clearsilver lake), David Lake, and Boundary Lake (via portage to David Lake)
Length - 4km each way (8km round trip)
Time - Factor in 4-5 hours for the hike alone
Difficulty - Moderate-Difficult - The first portion of the hike from Bell Lake is very flat and covers about two thirds of the total hike. The final stretch is all uphill with many slippery rocks and tricky sections to navigate. Proper footwear is highly recommended
Highlights - Highest point in Killarney with a full 360 degree view from the peak. Views of David Lake, Boundary Lake, Lake Panache, Georgian Bay, and you can even see Sudbury in the distance
Trail Specs: The Crack
- Access - The Crack parking lot (7km east of George Lake), 1.5km from Carlyle Lake. Also accessed by canoe from Carlyle Lake via portage to Kakakise Lake, and Killarney Lake (via what seems to be a difficult portage when it meets up with the trail to The Crack)
- Length - 3km each way (6km round trip)
- Time - Factor a minimum of 4 hours to complete the loop (can finish it faster if you are in good physical shape and don't get too lost in the view from the top...)
- Difficulty - Difficult - The first section of the hike is flat for a good 1.5-2kms but the final 1-1.5kms is a steep climb up to the peak. Towards the very end there are large boulders that require good physical condition in order to get to the top. Proper footwear is required.
- Highlights - The view from the top is stunning, looking out over the blue waters of Killarney Lake and O.S.A Lake. The top also features a great bird's-eye view of "The Crack" which is the final section of the trail where you are in a deep rock crevasse just before arriving at the peak
I needed to do a post specifically on hiking the two famous trails in Killarney, Silver Peak and The Crack. I have wanted to do these hikes while on previous trips in Killarney, but unfortunately have not been able to find the time. Usually this was because we were on a tight schedule to make it to our next campsite. This time I was heading to Killarney to spend Thanksgiving weekend in a yurt on George Lake (luxury for what I am used to) and I had no excuses. It was the perfect time to get these two hikes in and I am definitely glad we did..
Saturday we set out early in the morning to do The Crack. We drove our car 7kms to the parking lot where we would start the hike. The beginning of this trail is very deceiving as it is very flat for the first 2kms, aside from the odd section with a small hill. But then the fun really starts! The final km of this hike is straight up the mountain, and there are parts that even the more experienced hiker would struggle with. You start by climbing the beautiful rock that Killarney is known so well for until you make it to the final section before hiking through the crack. This final section is littered with large boulders that require strategic path selection to minimize the effort required to pull yourself up to the next level. This continues for a solid 200m. We saw groups who had brought larger dogs out and they were really struggling to make the climb. Then you get to the Crack which features a large crevasse where the trail continues between two very tall rock walls (such a cool spot to hike through!). Shortly after the crack is where you come up to the spot you had been waiting for. This is the part worth every step you took on the way to the top, and will not disappoint. As seen in the photo above (and others below), you look out over Killarney and O.S.A Lake which is lined by the beautiful La Cloche mountain range. The top also has a spectacular bird's-eye view of The Crack which you walk through just before reaching the peak. Walking to the other side of the viewing area you have a great view over a vast forest which with the fall colours made it that much better. This is a bit of a difficult hike but one well worth doing.
Sunday morning was a cold one, and this morning we were going to be paddling Bell Lake to get to the start of the Silver Peak trail. The paddle is about 3km and takes about 45 minutes to get to the start. Bell Lake was really choppy Sunday morning which added a bit of time to our paddle but we made it without getting too wet or cold. The Silver Peak trail starts off very easy and flat, and was a really nice trail to hike in the fall with all the leaves. It continues this way for a little over 2kms. At this point there is a sharp left turn that instantly starts to climb up the side of the mountain. With little to no flat sections beyond this point you quickly gain elevation with every step you take. Within 30 minutes of starting the climb, we were already being teased with beautiful views through the trees of what was down below. The trail actually runs near a creek for a while and as a result creates numerous slippery sections you must be careful walking on. As you continue up the mountain there is a waterfall on the right side of the path which was a nice spot to take a break. Just when you think you are getting close to the peak, the trail takes a turn away from the edge and deeper into the forest to climb the mountain even higher. Finally you see a lot of large rock sections that you are required to navigate until you reach the very top.
Arriving at the top you are instantly rewarded with a full 360 degree view of everything around you. Silver Peak is truly the highest point in Killarney and an excellent vantage point. One direction overlooks Boundary Lake, David Lake and Lake Panache with a very faint sight of the smoke stacks in Sudbury just visible in the distance. This will not ruin your view by any means as you can barely see the city. The other direction has a spectacular view that ends with Georgian Bay in the horizon. There are endless mountains in every direction you look. It is the perfect point to see lakes you may have done canoe trips on (we could see Harry Lake which we had done a trip on in the past), as well as the famous La Cloche mountain range.
Although The Crack was a spectacular view, Silver Peak blew us away (not just because it was windy up top). Both of these hikes are worth adding to your list if you have not done them yet. I was amazed by the view at the top of both. While in some ways I feel that The Crack had a nicer view of the lakes with the La Cloche mountain range, Silver Peak just seemed to have so much more to look at. We could have spent the entire day up there! Silver Peak requires more of a time commitment because not only is the trail longer but you also need to paddle to get there, and I would think that the average person might spend more time at the top of Silver Peak because each direction has something different to look at.