Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is a memorable place with many opportunities to experience the outdoors ranging from backcountry canoeing and camping to a short hike. Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is open all year long, for exciting adventures in any season. Visitors can enjoy shorter hikes, fishing, birdwatching and other nature-based activities. Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is a relatively new park it was designated as a provincial park in 2005 and became operational in 2011. Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is the second-largest park in southern Ontario next to Algonquin provincial park. Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park offers an alternative to avoid the crowded, and often difficult-to-book Algonquin Provincial Park. Kawartha Highlands presents all of the beauty with less of the frustration of Ontario’s most popular provincial park.
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park spans four geographic townships of Cavendish, Harvey, Burleigh and Anstruther, in the northern half of Peterborough County. Situated along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, this relatively undeveloped area encompasses over 35,000 hectares. Regional topography features a rugged rolling landscape of small lakes, wetlands, forests with wooded hills, rocky barrens, and deep valleys. Soils are generally shallow, with areas of exposed bedrock. There are over 500 private properties which are surrounded by Kawartha Highlands. The most significant cottage development occurs on Anstruther Lake, Wolf Lake, Loon Call Lake, and Long Lake. None of these properties are regulated as part of the park, and all are governed by municipal by-laws and other applicable legislation and regulations. As a natural environment park, Kawartha Highland’s focus is the protection of its landscapes and natural surroundings however some acceptable wilderness activities include: Canoeing, Kayaking, Fishing/Ice fishing, Boating, Hunting, Snowmobiling, Camping (both in summer and winter), and Wildlife Viewing.
Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park is about two hours from the Toronto Area and has very limited services compared to many provincial parks in Ontario. There is no official visitor’s center, if you plan on camping in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park be prepared to canoe to one of the over 100 campsites within the park. Reservations are recommended to secure your campsite. There are six recommended Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park canoe loops. The loops range from easy to moderate in difficulty. In the fall, the maple trees beam with vibrant red colours and the poplars with vibrant yellows. For a unique view of the fall foliage, explore the area by water. You can also take a nice day walk along the park trails, or at portage points.
The park’s lakes are home to a wide range of fish species, including Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Small and Largemouth Bass, and panfish. Visitors are encouraged to try their luck on any of the 17 stocked trout lakes in the park. The park is also home to a variety of other animals made up of 176 bird species such as Osprey, Whip-Poor-Will, Common Nighthawk, Scarlet Tanager, and Eastern Towhee. About 37 mammal species such as Eastern Wolves, coyotes, mink, Whitetail Deer, and Black bears. There are about 29 species of reptiles and amphibians for example; the Spotted Salamander, Eastern Rat Snake, Northern Water Snake, Snapping Turtle, and Leopard frog.
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