Ontario is blessed with spectacular wildflowers and spring is the time to see them in Ontario Parks. Especially before leaf-out.
The White Trillium, Ontario’s official flower, carpets many park forest floors from late April to mid-June depending on where you are. In the Greater Toronto Area, try the Rainbow Run Trail in Earl Rowe Provincial Park near Alliston. Earl Rowe has a fish ladder too, which is worth seeing. Rainbow Trout leap up it every spring on their way up the Boyne River to spawn.
Trillium Woods Provincial Nature Reserve is near Woodstock in southwestern Ontario. An easy one kilometre trail winds through a Carolinian forest that is thick with trilliums every spring. The Trillium Trail at Bronte Creek Provincial Park in Oakville is another sure bet. Further east, Peter’s Woods, a provincial nature reserve on the Oak Ridges Moraine, 20 km northeast of Cobourg, is known for its trilliums. Closer to Campbellford, the Friends of Ferris Provincial Park plan guided walks every Tuesday from May to December.
The Spicebush Trail is a favourite walking trail in Rondeau Provincial Park . Look for Trout Lily, trilliums, Bloodroot, Mayapple, Hepatica and Dutchman’s Breeches along it.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park’s Old Shore Trail along Lake Huron runs for seven kilometres just outside of Port Elgin. Multiple in-park access points along the trail take you past mixed forest, wetland and shoreline habitats. Spring wildflowers include Fringed polygala, Lady’s slippers and Cardinal Flower. The annual Huron Fringe Birding Festival is always held in spring on the two weekends following Victoria Day long weekend. Guided morning hikes in and outside the park concentrate on birds, wildflowers, butterflies and insects. Afternoon sessions planned include photography and video. ‘Owl Prowls’ are popular in the evenings. Preregistration is required.
The best of Lake Superior Provincial Park’s spectacular wildflower show is along its forest trails before leaf out. Winter tends to linger in the north so time your visit from early May to mid-June. Look for Lady’s slippers, Bloodroot, and Bunchberry along Lake Superior’s Pinguisibi, Orphan Lake, Awausee and Peat Mountain Trails. The trails vary in length from six to eleven kilometres and some have beautiful lookouts over the lake.
The spring runoff at Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park and the park’s abundance of spring wildflowers are worth traveling for. Photography workshop dates are planned from spring through fall in 2014 at many Northern Ontario Parks, including Kakabeka Falls. Check this Northern Ontario travel web site for details.
Enjoy the views, but please don’t pick wildflowers in Ontario Parks. They are protected! To maintain parks as natural settings, the removal of vegetation, wildlife and natural features is prohibited.
Park activities are posted regularly on the Ontario Parks’ Calendar of Events .