A group of friends and I just returned from a long weekend at a friends cottage on Ramsden Road, Lake Muskoka. Over the weekend, we decided on a day hike through Hardy Lake park, just a kilometre or two away. We were not disappointed by what the park had to offer; swimming, trails, great views, varied geography and blueberries.
We pulled into the parking area just off hwy. 169 and proceeded to walk west, along the old road. In about 500m we swung north and started up the trail that takes you along the eastern shore of Hardy Lake. Easy walking, lots of water views and varied forest. We stopped for about 20 minutes at the northern end of this section (B on the map below) and enjoyed dipping our feet while we polished off a Thermos of coffee. We carried on along the trail in an eastward (more or less) direction towards the "shortcut" at C. We were then going northwards but soon turned off the main trail onto the side trail (broken red line below) all the way to Lake Muskoka at D. We spent about an hour making our way (very slowly) along the edge of the water trail, taking photos, talking, sitting, etc. We then turned southwards, back towards Hardy Lake and crossed the bridge at E. We carried on westward towards the border of the park, where it turns southwards, goes onto private property, then SE, around the bottom of the lake and back to the parking lot.
Total distance was close to 9km and we were out for about 41/2 hours. It was generally an easy walk on well marked and obvious trails. We found a few blueberry bushes along the shores of both lakes, but the vast majority of them had not yet ripened, so we had to hunt a bit for some that were edible. The weather had been rainy recently and some of the trails were quite soft. We noted two occasions were there were bear tracks crossing the footpath. While bears are rarely a problem, especially with a group of people, do be bear wise - don't surprise them, feed them or get between their them and their young. If you encounter one, back away. See separate posting about bear safety.
Map created by Ed Horner