A few weeks ago, I hiked in Thousand Islands National Park for the first time. I really enjoyed my experience on the Jones Creek Trails and I promised myself that I would explore other trails in this national park as soon as I had the opportunity. So last weekend, I took advantage of a beautiful fall day to go back to the Thousand Islands, this time to explore the Landon Bay area.
As is the case with the Jones Creek area, Landon Bay is not on one of the famous Thousand Islands, but rather on the mainland, along a bay of the St. Lawrence River. Landon Bay is one of the largest in the area, it is an important refuge for fish and turtles, and, with its high granite walls, it almost looks like a fjord.
There are nearly six kilometres of trails in this area and also a lookout offering what is undoubtedly the most beautiful view of the Thousand Islands National Park. Which is the main reason I really wanted to hike at Landon Bay. So as soon as we arrived, my boyfriend and I headed towards this lookout.
As I explained in my text on Jones Creek, Thousand Islands National Park is located in the Arch of Frontenac biosphere, a granite arch recognized by UNESCO for its importance for biodiversity. So the terrain is rocky and rugged, but the trails are wide and well laid out so the hike is not very difficult.
We first followed the Donevan Trail, which eventually led to the Lookout Trail. This trail is short (less than 500 metres) and climbs steadily until you reach the famous lookout.
So it only took us a few minutes to get to the top. This 124-metre-high granite promontory truly lives up to its reputation. The view at the top is magnificent. Landon Bay, the St. Lawrence River, the islands… It seems that on a clear day, it is possible to see the Adirondacks (unfortunately for us, a light fog veiled the horizon).
I would have stayed there all day, but since we wanted to explore the rest of the area, we continued our hike. We walked along the rocky ridge until it brought us back to the Donevan Trail.
The Donevan Trail is the longest in the area. It makes a five-kilometre loop through the forest and we decided to follow it. Once we were done with the rocky ridge, the Donevan Trail seemed rather flat and continued to be easy to follow (the biggest difficulty was avoiding the roots or stones sometimes hidden by fallen leaves).
The wooded area of Landon Bay is said to be so rich in biodiversity that it has already been studied by the Smithsonian Institute. Which might be the reason why we saw lots and lots of birds, lots of squirrels and even a deer. And to my delight, the fall colours were still very present.
What I liked most about the hike is that there are several signs to highlight various milestones along the trail: an old tree over 150 years old called the “Wish Tree”, a big rock that has the shape of a whale… Each small bridges even seemed to have a name. The hike might not be very difficult or very exciting, but it is definitely lovely.
Except perhaps in the most northerly area, where it gets closer to Highway 401. Traffic noise was omnipresent, and trucks could even be seen between the trees.
Fortunately, the trail eventually veers away from the highway and the forest continues to be pretty. The Donevan Trail passes near an old cemetery, crosses an old stone bridge, then follows a marsh. There is an osprey nesting platform above the marsh, which was very quiet when we walked by it (it may not be the right season to watch these birds of prey).
The Donevan Trail ends at the bike path that runs along the Thousand Islands Parkway, a bike path that eventually brought us back to our starting point. The parking lot, which was empty when we started our hike, was full when we returned. The hike in Landon Bay area is definitely not a hard one, so it makes it the perfect place to explore a small part of this national park!