Hardy Lake Provincial Park

Packing up for a day outside
Packing up for a day outside

When you wake up in the morning and the sun is beaming through your windows, you hear birds chirping and look out to a cloudless sky; you just have to plan to spend the day outside. What a welcome few days of bluebird skies and warm temperatures!

As soon as we had breakfast we packed up a few things to take with us and hit the road. We planned to hike the 8km trail at Hardy Lake Provincial Park and have a cookout. I also just bought myself a new pair of hikers and really wanted to try them out.

Hardy Lake

We took the scenic route from Bracebridge to Gravenhurst along Muskoka Road 17 and then onward to Highway 169. What I noticed was that so many people were outside. Garage doors were open, boats and cars were pulled out; people fixing bikes and doing yard work; and even kids playing in the yard. It seemed like almost everyone felt the need to tinker around outside this past weekend. It was wonderful to see.

We started the trail at 11:15am. It was a little cool in the shaded areas of the forest where the snow was still melting and the trail was a little icy, but it soon heated up to about 20°C.


It was exactly what I needed on a day like Saturday, to be lakeside and smelling the earth and pine needles in the heat of the sun. I needed a good hike in shield country. We passed one group of people during the first kilometre of the trail, but didn’t see a single person the rest of the way.



I told my husband that I wanted to find a neat peninsula in the sun to have our cookout. After about 4kms of hiking we found the perfect spot! We brought our Kelly Kettle Hobo Stove along with us and gathered a few sticks from the forest floor. Veggie dogs were cookin’ in no time. I absolutely love the Kelly Kettle for boiling water and the Hobo Stove attachment for cooking.

Banjo having fun
Banjo having fun

We had a bridge to cross over before we headed into a hardwood forest on the north side of the lake.

View of the bridge from our cookout spot
Hardwood Forest
Hardwood Forest

Most of the north end of the lake is a hardwood forest. There were a lot of mucky spots and snow to hike through. I didn’t take many photos of this section because I was mostly trying not to sink in mud.

We got back in the car at 2:45pm. It was a great day! There is a 3km trail that you can hike as well. I highly recommend this place if you’re driving through the area, and make sure to bring your bathing suit if it’s during summer because there are so many swim spots!


  1. Wow! Looks so great Cobi!

    Ok so that stove… you light a fire, there is no fuel right? Did you bring fuel, or collect it from the woods?

    Maybe you could write a post about cooking outdoors. There are so many options for which stove to use, for which situation. I want to buy a stove for canoe trips but I don’t know where to start. What is your experience? Do you bring that kettle on canoe trips?


    • Hey! It’s a type of stick stove. No fuel necessary. You basically gather up all the little bits and pieces you find around a campsite and start a little fire in the base of the stove.
      I will do a separate blog post about stoves because I have a couple of different ones (stick and fuel).
      Bryce has an MSR WhisperLite stove that uses fuel. I’ve tried to wrap my head around using it but at the end of the day I don’t want fuel to spill on my hands. The stick stove is easier for me and more fun.
      Also, something to consider when buying a stove is what you’re using it for. We eat a lot of dehydrated meals so we’re always needing to boil water (Kelly Kettle is amazing for this). You can buy stoves that have different heat levels for cooking if you need simmer something and not having it boiling away constantly.
      But yes, great idea for a blog post! I’ll work on it within the next couple of weeks.


  2. Hi there – nice blog! My name is Stu and I’m a part of the Muskoka Trails Council. Our AGM is coming up and we are looking for some new board members. It seems like you have a keen interest in trails in the area so I thought I’d send you a note introducing myself and to see if you might be interested in joining our organization. Let me know if you would like more information.


    • Hi Stu,

      Thanks for taking a look at my blog. I am definitely interested! Can you send the information to cobi.sharpe @ gmail.com?


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