Misery Bay is such a diverse place, with many different bird habitats. Keen birders and casual observers will see many species of warblers that nest in the park, like Northern Parula, Black-throated Green and Yellow-rumped, flycatchers like the Eastern Kingbird, sparrows like the Clay-coloured and LeConte’s, as well as the occasional Bald Eagle or Sandhill Crane.
Misery Bay offers over 15 km of hiking trails, a boardwalk and a bird viewing platform overlooking the wetland.
Coastal Alvar Trail - Rating: Moderate - Length: 8km (loop)
The Coastal Alvar Trail is a large looping trail that takes in the natural features in the eastern side of the park. It travels from the Visitor Centre, past old glacial beaches and dolostone pavements as it makes its way to the present day shoreline. From there, the trail travels almost 3.5km along the Lake Huron alvar coastline until it intersects with the Mac’s Bay Trail. At that point, the Coastal Alvar Trail turns north along a glacial shoreline ridge as you make your way back to the Visitor Centre.
Inland Alvar Trail - Rating: Easy - Length: 5km (loop)
The Inland Alvar Trail takes you through stands of mixed forest, old glacial beaches and a variety of open alvar pavements. This smaller looping trail offers a number of interpretive segments including the habitat associated with most of the parks rare and threatened plants including Lakeside Daisy (Manitoulin Gold), Blazing Star, Hill’s Thistle and Pitcher Thistle. There is also a short “spur” that will allow the hiker to connect with the Coastal Alvar Trail.
Misery Bay Trail - Rating: Moderate/Difficult - Length: 5km (loop to trail head)
The Misery Bay Trail begins where the Coastal Alvar Trail hits the Lake Huron coastline. The trail crosses the bayhead wetland along a beautiful sandy outwash as you make your way to the western side of the park. Being that the wetland is so fragile please stay on the trail! Once on the western side of the park the trail features two trail loops that take you through the largest open alvar pavement in the park. Old glacial beaches, alvars, glacial boulders, rare and interesting plants, glacial striations, grykes and erratics are just some of the things you will see.
Mac’s Bay Trail - Rating: Easy - Length: 2km (return to trail head)
Mac’s Bay Trail extends off the easterly portion of the Coastal Trail and travels to Mac’s Bay Conservation Reserve as it makes its way through shady cedars, across disturbed alvar and along a scarp before coming out on the Mac’s Bay shoreline. The shoreline is open and marshy and is a great place for birding. Features associated with the trail include small alvars, grykes, erratics, the glacial shoreline ridge and of course Mac’s Bay Conservation Reserve.
* Please note all trail distances are approximate.
Natural Heritage Education programming is offered through the Friends of Misery Bay. From the globally rare alvar communities to the provincially significant bayhead wetland, the park is home to a number species at risk all of which are featured in the various programs.
The Friends of Misery Bay provide over 50 educational programs throughout the summer and operate out of the park Visitor Centre. For programming information please visit their web site at www.miserybay.org/events