Bicycles are permitted on the McParlan House Trail and the gravel roadbed portion of the Silver Queen Mine Trail. Cycling is also encouraged on campground roads.
The park’s mix of habitats includes mature forests, wetlands and open fields. Hike the Silver Queen Mine Trail for Golden-winged, Yellow and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers and more. The Beaver Pond Trail and the Lally Homestead Loop provide opportunities for waterfowl viewing. Watch for Cerulean Warblers, Red-shouldered Hawks, Barred Owls and Goshawks in the campground forests, the McParlan House, Sylvan and Point Trails.
Power boats are allowed on Big Rideau Lake. There are many interesting areas to explore. Go through Narrows locks into Upper Rideau Lake for a trip to Westport or through Beveridges Locks for a long trip into Perth.
Visit http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/paddling/index.html#guides for suggested points of interest and click on guides 7 – 10 for day trips from Murphys Point.
Canoe Loop – 6 km, easy to moderate
This loop, from the main beach on Hogg Bay into Big Rideau Lake and around the point, into Loon Lake and back into Hogg Bay, includes two short portages (150 m). Optional stopping spots with picnic tables include the Park Store patio, McParlan House or hike-in beach. Take note of high winds when planning the direction of your loop as Big Rideau Lake can be treacherous.
Big Rideau Lake is part of the Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many interesting sites within paddling distance of the park. These include Colonel By Island (5.5 km one way), town of Portland (9.5 km), Rideau Ferry (10 km), Narrows lockstation (11.2 km) and Beveridges lockstation (13 km).
At Narrows lockstation, manually-operated locks lift you 0.8 m into Upper Rideau Lake. Two locks at Beveridges lift you 6.9 m into the Tay River and a further 10 km paddle into the town of Perth.
Visit http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/paddling/index.html#guides and click on paddling guides 8 and 9 for suggested paddling routes and points of interest on Big Rideau Lake.
Big Rideau Lake is a popular fishing lake for Lake Trout, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike. Paddle into Hogg Bay or Loon Lake (no motorboats permitted) for good bass and pike fishing.
Point Trail – 5.5 km loop, moderate
Hike to the tip of the peninsula with stops at the sandy beach and good views of Big Rideau Lake along the way.
Sylvan Trail – 2.5 km loop, moderate
This trail showcases the geology and ecology of the Frontenac Arch, the southernmost extension of the Canadian Shield. A self-guided trail booklet is available at the trailhead or Park Store for $1.
Lally Homestead Trail – 800 m loop, easy
Drive to the Lally Homestead (3 km from the campground) for this short loop through abandoned farm fields (now excellent for wildflower and bird viewing) and sugar maple forest to a lookout over Black Creek Marsh.
Silver Queen Mine Trail – 2 km partial loop, easy, Beaver Pond Trail – 1 km, easy
From the Lally Homestead, the Silver Queen Mine Trail leads to the restored, early 1900s partially open pit mica mine, heritage displays and the rebuilt miner’s bunkhouse. A self-guided trail booklet is available at the trailhead or Park Store for $1. Access into the mine and the bunkhouse is available during mine tours only. Refer to http://friendsofmurphyspoint.ca/events/ for event schedules. The Beaver Pond Trail provides an alternate route back to the Lally Homestead parking lot and skirts the edge of a flooded wetland.
McParlan House, Loon Lake Loop Trail, Trail to Lally Homestead, Rideau Trail – 1.8 km easy
From the Hogg Bay Campground, a 1.8 km linear trail leads to the restored McParlan House, site of an early 1800s sawmill, farm and later cottage. It is now a registered archaeological site and home to the Friends of Murphys Point Park’s award-winning Archaeo Apprentice program (http://friendsofmurphyspoint.ca/archaeology/). Bicycles are allowed on the McParlan House Trail.
Part of the McParlan House Trail is also part of the Loon Lake Loop, a 1 km trail with access to two different lakes. Further along, the McParlan House Trail becomes part of the Rideau Trail, a 300 km hiking trail from Kingston to Ottawa (6 km inside the park), which also provides a link to the Lally Homestead (2.8 km, easy, from campground to homestead).
Two parking lots are maintained for winter day-use. The Tay Valley Cross-country Ski Club grooms and track sets 20 km of trail for skiing, including 4 km for skate-skiing, 14 km for classic skiing and 8 km for backcountry skiing. Two warm-up chalets are maintained. Suggested snowshoe routes are along non-groomed hiking trails.
Natural Heritage Education
During the summer and on some fall weekends park staff offer a variety of fun, interactive educational programs. Sign up for a guided tour of the Silver Queen Mine (hardhats supplied). Walk to the amphitheatre for an evening nature show, check out a kid’s program or stop by the Visitor Centre. For a weekly list of programs or a summer schedule of special events, visit the Friends of Murphys Point website.
The Main Beach is on Hogg Bay with a second beach in the Day-Use area on Noble Bay. Both of these beaches are marked with buoys and have gradual drop-offs. Please note: there are no lifeguards posted at the beaches and pets are not permitted, even on the grassy area immediately adjacent to the sand.
Hogg Bay beach has picnic tables and canoe rentals.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Two parking lots are maintained for winter day-use. The Tay Valley Cross-Country Ski Club grooms and track sets 20 km of trail for skiing, including 4 km for skate-skiing, 14 km for classic skiing and 8 km for backcountry skiing. Two warm-up chalets are maintained. Suggested snowshoe routes are along non-groomed hiking trails. The ski club hosts an annual loppet. Visit http://tayvalleyskiclub.wordpress.com/ for more information.