Trail running at Frontenac Provincial Park

Guest Blogger:  Derrick Spafford,

Trail running has grown tremendously in popularity over the past few years. Many runners are taking to the trails to enjoy benefits similar to hiking, such as being in nature, fresh air, solitude and amazing views. Trail running typically allows you to travel lighter and faster than hiking which makes it an attractive activity for some.

Ontario’s Provincial Parks feature some of the best trails to run on in the country, and Frontenac Provincial Park is a trail running paradise with over 100 kilometers of backcountry running bliss.

Three Recommended Trail Runs:

Arkon (year round) – Arkon Loop is a medium-distance loop that gives you a wonderful taste of everything the park has to offer including lake views, high vistas and smooth pine-needle trails. It has easy access from the Park Office via Corridor Trail, and as is typical in the northern half of the park, the trails have less technical footing than in the southern half. Runners who wish to go deeper into the park can easily add on adjacent trails such as Big Salmon Loop or Moulton Gorge.

Doe Lake (winter) – Doe Lake is a satisfying shorter loop to run on snowshoes in the winter. This three kilometre loop is the second shortest loop in the park, but snowshoe running is slower than regular trail running so you will be out there for a longer time while enjoying much of the same terrain you would find on the larger loops. Doe Lake Loop features some steep climbs and pretty views of lakes and ponds around almost every bend in the trail.

Slide Lake (fall) – This longer run is in the most rugged section of the park, proving a greater challenge to experienced trail runners. Slide Lake includes a section of the Rideau Trail (300 km trail from Ottawa to Kingston). Many high ridges and hills provide stunning views of autumn colours contrasted with bright blue lakes far below. The Small Slide Lake Loop option is also a favourite due to the long sections of exposed rock that are so unique in this area.

Some Tips:

1. Footwear – Trail running shoes are recommended when running the rugged and technical trails at Frontenac Park. They provide better protection, support and traction from the mud, rocks and roots than regular running shoes.

2. Terrain – Be alert to the surface that you’re running on to make sure not to trip or turn an ankle. Rocks, roots and other obstacles are ever present and can be hiding under leaves. Run with a shortened stride length so you are more agile and better able to react to changing terrain.

3. Hydration – Run with a hydration belt or pack so you can consume adequate fluids. With numerous lakes in the park you can also treat water with purification tablets, filters or portable ultraviolet lights.

4. Safety gear – Items such as a small first aid kit, map, emergency blanket, jacket/warmer clothes and snacks are wise to take with you in case of emergency or changing weather. Be sure to tell others where you are going, and when you are expected to return. Cell reception isn’t available in many sections of the park, so be prepared.