I Closed the Gap

Hike On the Midland and Tiny Trail Extensions

On April 13, 2024 lace up those hiking boots and join us for the historic “I Closed the Gap” Hike along the beautiful Ganaraska Hiking Trail through Midland, Penetanguishene and Tiny. This project has been over 10 years in the making. Get ready to explore the beautiful Georgian Bay shoreline and various forest trails, breathe in the fresh air, and challenge yourself on this scenic trail. For more details and to register click I Closed the Gap

Another step forward in closing the gap!

Big surprise this morning on our Wednesday morning hike, when Midland Ganaraska Hiking Club president Larry Piitz had the notion that we should hike in the Thompson Forest leading to the Tiny Trail (also called Bridges Trail and part of the Trans Canada Trail). Good thing we did as we discovered the beautiful set of stairs built by Tiny Township at our request and leading from the top of the cliff down to the Tiny Trail. 39 steps!!! 

This will become part of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, as we close the gap between the Midland and Tiny sections of the trail…. hopefully before year end. Just some minor loose ends still to get approved. 

This will add another 16 km approximately to the Midland section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail.  

Trailblazers look to close loop of Ganaraska in Penetanguishene

Local hiking association seek North Simcoe permissions to bridge trail gap from Martyrs’ Shrine to Tiny Trail at Conc. 12

by Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association looked to Penetanguishene council recently with a trailblazing request to close the loop at the northern ends of the 500-km trail which nearly loops within Simcoe County.

If you’ve ever wanted to meet modern trailblazers, North Simcoe might have your solution.

Representatives from the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association (GHTA) approached Penetanguishene council during the recent regular meeting, seeking permission to blaze trails through the Midland, Penetanguishene, and Tiny Township areas to attach the unconnected ends of a popular trail system.

GHTA president Frieda Baldwin gave a presentation to council regarding the proposal.

“It’s a hiking trail 500-kilometres long from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay,” Baldwin explained. “It passes through the Peterborough area, Orillia, Barrie, Wasaga Beach, Midland, Penetanguishene, and so on. The trail is maintained by volunteers; there are nine clubs and members of each club maintain the trail.”

The hiking trail originated in the early 1960s for naturalists to enjoy unspoiled lands across the province, and by 1968 the Ganaraska hiking trail was officially opened from Port Hope to Lindsay. Shortly after, more sections were added to the overall coverage.

However, the trail was never fully connected in its Simcoe County portion. The western trail ends at the Tay Shore Trail beside Sainte-Marie among the Hurons outside Midland, while the eastern trail ceases at the Tiny Trail and Conc. 12 E. junction in Tiny Township.

“The purpose of this deputation is to ask permission from the town… to blaze a trail through Penetanguishene. We are not going to build any new trails – we are not asking permission for that – just to blaze the trail,” said Baldwin.

In blazing a trail, path markers measuring two-by-six inches are put onto visible waypoints for the purpose of navigation, whether through paint or by installing material like PVC. Blazes can be found on trees, various posts, bridges, rocks, and hydro poles among the many available options.

For the request, Baldwin offered the preferred off-road route between the Wye River to Tiny Conc. 12 through the following connections: from the Midland waterfront trail to the Mid-Pen link at Murray Rd.; to Thompson Rd. W. over to Thompson Rd. E. and along the multi-use trail; through the Thompson/Martin Valley county forest to Overhead Bridge Rd.; and using a new Kingfisher trail to arrive at the Tiny Trail.

“In 2010, we actually obtained permission from the town of Midland,” Baldwin told council, “but the other municipalities… we were not making much progress.”

Approval for the Tiny Township portion had been previously granted, according to Baldwin, with a $2,500 budget allocation for stairs to the Tiny Trail postponed until 2023. She added that the GHTA had also sought trailblazing permission from Midland council and was waiting for approval.

The request was put forward through Mayor Doug Rawson to the recreation and community services section to be explored by staff for consideration.

The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association deputation, with slides and further information, can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Meetings of Penetanguishene council are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and can be watched live on Rogers TV cable 53, or on the Rogers TV website.

Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.

Tiny Section Side Trail Flooding

The Midland Ganaraska Hiking Club reports that unfortunately the western blue-blazed side trail loop of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is currently under water. There is no access to the lookout tower or the boardwalk until the water recedes. As an alternate trail, go east of the Visitor Centre, and complete the 6 km loop along the Carolina and Trotter Dykes, and enjoy the beautiful view along the way.

Side Trail Under Water
View from the Dyke
View from the Dyke

2021.08.12 – Ganaraska Trail has expanded in the Tiny Marsh

The Midland club of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is extremely excited to announce completion of an extension of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail on Tiny Marsh property. The new main trail route allows hikers to enjoy the beauty of the marsh from the Trotter and Carolina dykes, whereas previously the Ganaraska Hiking Trail skirted the marsh, and one would barely get a glimpse of it. In combination with the old route, which was blazed as a blue side trail, the new main trail route forms an approx. 6.1 km loop on the east side of the Visitor Centre, starting from the Trotter Dyke parking lot.

The Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail club also blazed an 2.2 km blue side trail loop on the west side of the Visitor Centre which includes the look out tower over the marsh, the recently re-opened board walk and the Beaverland Trail to Mole Mountain.  

The dykes and boardwalks are excellent birding spots and make for great snowshoe destinations. Enjoy the gorgeous views of the marsh, in all seasons. 

Access to these trails is free, and we thank the MTM (Matchedash-Tiny-Marl) Conservation Association for their cooperation in making this expansion a reality. 

A map of the 2 loops is attached. 

2021.07.27 – Ganaraska Trail Expanding in Tiny Marsh

The Midland club of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail is extremely excited to announce an extension of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail on Tiny Marsh property. This new main trail route will allow hikers to enjoy the beauty the marsh from the Trotter and Carolina dykes. In combination with the old route, which will now be marked as a blue side trail, the new main trail route will form an 8-9 km loop on the east side of the Visitor Centre.

There will also be an additional blue side trail, forming a 2.4 km loop on the west side of the Visitor Centre which will include the look out tower over the marsh, the recently re-opened board walk and the Beaverland Trail to Mole Mountain. Volunteers from the local Midland Ganaraska Hiking Trail club will start the re-blazing of the main route and blue side trails this Friday July 30. Please follow the blazes. Mapping of this section will be updated shortly.

2021.07.03 – Ondago Updated to Show Tiny & Wasaga Beach Trails Now Connected

The Ondago map for Wasaga Beach and Tiny trail sections has been updated to show the two trail sections are now connected. Our thanks to all the volunteers that found the route to close the gap and gathered the information needed to share the updated map with all hikers.

The attached picture is a screen shot of the Ondago map for the area.

2021.05.25 – Tiny Trail and Wasaga Beach Trail now connected!

Great News!!! The western end of the Tiny section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail has been re-opened. It had been closed a couple of years ago due to a landowner issue and flooding. Both have been resolved, and the trail has been re-blazed. This re-opening will add 3 km to the Tiny section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail and will re-connect to Tiny section to the Wasaga Beach section at Archer Road and Tiny Beaches Road (less than 100 m to the Georgian Bay shoreline at Allenwood Beach). 
Anyone doing an end to end of the Tiny section will need to follow the blazes to Tiny Beaches Road. The entire Tiny section is now approx. 27 kms.
New mapping data is being provided to Ondago, and we hope the new map will be available for mobile device use by end of June.
The T2 map of the 2013 Guidebook is correct (but unfortunately does not show km distances).