hiking the crack killarney
Canada Travel & Trails

Hiking the Crack Killarney Adventure


As part of our training for the Everest Base Camp, we’ve decided to hike around Ontario during the weekends.  This May long weekend, we found ourselves hiking the Crack Killarney Provincial Park. It’s listed as one of the more challenging hikes in Ontario, and requires some scrambling up boulders. The hike itself is listed as 6 km long and takes approximately 4 hours to complete.

the crack killarney

looking for a view

We made our way up north from Toronto to Killarney Provincial Park. Our schedule was to leave Toronto around 8 am, reach Killarney at 12 pm to hike for about 4-5 hours, then drive back 2 hours to Parry Sound for pizza and some rest. We fueled ourselves with a McDonald’s breakfast, Corn Twists and a Hazelnut Latte from Starbucks. As we reached Killarney, the sky finally gave way to rain. We did see this coming, and we came prepared with our hiking boots, rain pants, coats and backpack covers.

The trail head for ‘The Crack’ is located 7 km from the park entrance on highway 637. This weekend the sign for the parking lot entrance was absent due to repair.  Nevertheless there is a $14 parking fee, that can be paid at the trail head or park entrance.

hiking the crack killarney

The trailhead

hiking the crack killarney

red trail markers

hiking the crack killarney

snack break

We pulled on our rain gear and started on our adventure.  The hike starts off in a flat wooded path.  There is a small information board letting you know to follow the red markers. We followed along the muddy trail, past lake Kakakise, and a crooked wooden bridge. Despite the rain there were quite a few other hikers around.  As we headed uphill, we hit a traffic jam.  Early hikers were already descending, and everyone was being extra cautious of the slippery rocks.

hiking the crack killarney

the crooked bridge

hiking the crack killarney

up and up…

hiking the crack killarney

heading into the crack

There’s about 4 rocky uphill push, broken up with some flat forested areas. Each time we reached a rocky area, we thought the hike was done, but there was always another marker.  Finally, after about 2 hours of walking we reached ‘The Crack’, which is exactly what it sounds like.  A large crevasse filled with large boulders that served as stairs, taking you up to the grand finale of the hike. By this time we were soaked, and due to our short legs the hike up became more of a scramble.  It was quite a challenge since everything was slippery from the rain.

hiking the crack killarney

making our way through the boulders

After some careful navigation, we reached the top of the quartzite rock and were rewarded with a misty view.  There was zero visibility, and I felt like I was in a Japanese anime. The spirits of the forest were probably having a nice laugh at us tourists. We found a pine tree, and ate our sandwiches under its branches. This gave the mist a little bit of time to clear, and we were actually able to see a bit of a view.  It was gorgeous, the white rocks blended in with the mist and pine trees poked out giving the scenery some sort of context.

hiking the crack killarney

tree poetry

hiking the crack killarney

umbrella from Harrod’s to commemorate the royal wedding

hiking the crack killarney

a misty view

We took our time standing in the rain, and feeling accomplished. Then we headed back down, or rather slid back down. The trail is linear, so we back tracked our way to the parking lot. There were still red markers to follow, but because of my poor sense of direction nothing looked familiar. After passing Kakakise Lake, I expected every turn to be the end of the hike. I was wet, tired and hungry.

hiking the crack killarney

heading back down

hiking the crack killarney

my favourite lichen pic

We finished our hike around 4:30 and drove back to Parry Sound ready for our celebration pizza and hot shower.  Despite the rain, we had an amazing time hiking ‘The Crack’ in Killarney. It was a good challenge, and had some beautiful views.  The details on the rocks were gorgeous and reminded me of luxury counter tops.  There were also lichens that looked like small universes on the white rocks. We ran into plenty of hikers, no bears.  But there were some people with dogs. This is a great hike if you want to step inside a Group of Seven painting.  Hike ‘The Crack’, where you’ll be surrounded with large rocks and crooked trees. The icons of the Ontario landscape.

hiking the crack killarney

standing on giant quartzite rocks

Hiking The Crack Killarney Tips

  • start early, the hike is listed at 6 km. and can be done in 4 hours or shorter, but it’s nice to have time to appreciate the view along the way
  • the parking lot for the trail head is 7km before the the Killarney Provincial Park entrance off of road 637
  • parking is $14 per car
  • wear hiking shoes, with ankle support (if possible), the path can get quite rocky and slippers
  • bring rain gear just in case
  • have plenty of water
  • bring a lunch and snacks

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