The Georgian Bay Islands National Park consists of a scattering of about sixty islands spread out between Honey Harbour and Twelve Mile Bay, about 50km to the north. The park’s two distinct landscapes – the glacier-scraped rock of the Canadian Shield and the hardwood forests and thicker soils of the south – meet at the northern end of the largest and most scenic island, Beausoleil. Cruises of the waters surrounding the park’s islands depart from Penetanguishene, Midland and Parry Sound, but the only way of making landfall is from Honey Harbour, little more than a couple of shops, a liquor store and a few backcountry houses just 13km northwest of Port Severn across the mouth of the river and along Route 5. Several of the park’s islands can be reached by boat from Honey Harbour, but Beausoleil is the obvious objective.
Hiking in the park
Beausoleil Island has twelve short hiking trails, including two that start at the Cedar Spring landing stage, on the southeastern shore. These include the Treasure Trail (3.8km), which heads north behind the marshes along the edge of the island, and the Christian Trail (1.5km), which cuts through beech and maple stands to the balsam and hemlock groves overlooking the rocky beaches of the western shoreline. At the northern end of Beausoleil, within comfortable walking distance of several other jetties, are the Cambrian (2km) and Fairy (2.5km) trails, two delightful routes through the harsher scenery of the Canadian Shield. Nearby, just to the west, is the Dossyonshing Trail (2.5km), which tracks through a mixed area of wetland, forest and bare granite in the transitional zone between the two main landscapes.