Silent Lake Provincial Park
Silent Lake is a long slender lake with several narrows, located in Cardiff Township in the southeast corner of Haliburton County. Situated near the headwaters of the Crowe River and Eel Creek watersheds, it was a long way from the big saw mills that populated the Trent Waterway in the nineteenth century. During the rush to get out the virgin pine, several were cutting millions of feet each year, and practically all the merchantable trees that could be readily floated out were cut. Silent Lake was in the vicinity of the Monck and Burleigh Roads, that the Ontario government intended would open the southern edge of the Canadian Shield for agriculture, and many communities formed in the region in the late nineteenth century. Farming the rolling, rocky lands of the Canadian Shield was a difficult proposition, and by the mid-twentieth century, the overwhelming majority of farms in the region were reclaimed by the forests.
Though the forests around Silent Lake were selectively harvested, being smaller than some of the other nearby lakes, and a little out of the way, by the mid-twentieth century, it was one of the few lakes with an undeveloped shoreline. After the Second World War, having a car and the time to go on a vacation became within the reach of practically every family, and Ontario Parks began adding many new parks throughout Ontario. The site became easily accessible when Highway 28 was extended to Bancroft in the 1930s, and the site was subsequently chosen to become a Provincial Park in the Haliburton Highlands, which by then was a popular tourist destination. Construction began in 1966, allowing the park to welcome its first visitors in the summer of 1975.
Though other parcels are included in the nearly 4000-acre park, the experience of visiting centres around Silent Lake. The 15-kilometre long Lakeshore Hiking Trail makes its way around the lake, following relatively closely to the eastern shore. There are many picturesque spots to stop and enjoy a view of the lake. Along the way it passes two sandy beaches, and campgrounds. The park offers car camping, walk-in camping, cabins and yurts. Two other hiking trails connect with the Lakeshore Trail, including one that goes to Bonnie’s Pond. A 17-kilometre mountain bike trail, cuts a path further from the lake. It is a difficult route as it passes over many steep inclines and descents, with rocks and roots to navigate along the way. Visitors to the park can rent canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Anglers can catch lake trout and bass. In winter, the trails are open for cross-country skiing and showshoeing, with cabins and yurts available for accommodation.
A maple leaf resting in the crevice of a tree stump.
Reflections on Bonnie’s Pond at Sunset
Floating Leaves by a Rivulet, Near the Trail Head
Birch over Silent Lake
A Birch Extending out over Silent Lake
Pincer Bay Campground Beach at Silent Lake Provincial Park
Paddling out into Silent Lake from the Pincer Bay Campground Beach
Rock Crevice on a Point Overlooking Silent Lake
Silent Lake Provincial Park’s Day-Use Beach
The Beach from the Lakeshore Trail
The Day Use Beach seen from the Lakeshore Trail
View from a Lookout on the Lakeshore Trail