This is a short to medium distance hike, at just under 3 KM according to the sign at the trailhead. It takes you through an old growth white pine forest and introduces you to some of the Park’s logging history and a whole lot of information about white pines. TBH, this probably wouldn’t be my first choice for a repeat hike. Why? Read on!
The Basics: Coming from the west, Big Pines Trail is in between the KM 40 and KM 41 markers along Highway 60. It’s listed at just under 3 KM (2.9 KM to be precise), but according to my Strava track I walked just over 3.25 KM. I don’t recall getting lost or walking in too many circles, so my guess is that the Strava track is probably a decent reflection of the distance. Regardless, it took me about 50 minutes to complete, which included plenty of stoppage time to read the (very interesting) trail guide.
Terrain: This is a relatively flat area. I don’t recall too many ups or downs and for the most part the biggest challenge was not tripping on the occasional route sticking out of the path. More so than most of the other hikes I’ve done along 60, this one felt more like a portage than a hiking trail. The trail was narrower and hadn’t been excessively groomed. If I’d had a canoe on my head I could have easily believed I was somewhere in the backcountry.
The Trail: This is an easy to follow path, like pretty much every day hike off of highway 60. It winds through the forest and takes you past some pretty spectacular large white pines. At one point it touches a large meadow around Sunday Creek, but other than that it’s very much a walk in the woods. It also passes through an old lumber camp, although truth be told, without the fence around the place where the camp once stood you probably wouldn’t be able to pick it out from the rest of the forest.
Trail Guide: To be honest, the trail guide made this hike for me. Without the guide this would basically have been a walk through a (buggy) forest. With the guide I learned a ton about white pines, Algonquin’s forests and the old lumber camps that used to dot the Park. If you’re going to do this trail I highly recommend bringing along the guide.
Highlights: Some of the large pines along the trail were pretty cool. They’ve been there for over 100 years and they look like they could be there 100 more. This one was particularly interesting thanks to the lightning scar down the middle.
Verdict: I’ll be honest, this one wouldn’t be a top repeat destination for me. I’m glad I walked it, the pines and the history are pretty cool, but other than that it feels like a relatively buggy walk through some generic woods. Sorry Big Pines. It’s not you, it’s me. (But, also, it’s you).