Although the gates of Murphys Point
Provincial Park may close for autumn and winter, that doesn't mean that hiking
is over for the year. In fact, the park is a wonderful place for late autumn
and winter hiking. Birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects abound
throughout the park and often seem in greater evidence once the majority
of human visitors have departed at summer's end.
We have enjoyed many excellent hikes
through the park in late autumn and early winter. Leaving our car in the
designated parking area to one side of the main gates, we hike in a long
loop that leads us along a section of the Rideau Trail, then onto Black Ance
Point Road over Black Creek, to its junction with Elm Grove Road, and then
back to our parked vehicle at the gates. The hike usually takes us the better
part of 3 hours, with many stops to observe wildlife, animal tracks, plants,
lichens, and fungi, as well as several historic structures along the trail.
After hiking along the paved roadway
to the park gatehouse, an unpaved roadway continues to the right and passes
between Hogg's Bay and Loon Lake. The trail passes through a metal gate
with a sign stating "McParlan House - 2 km." This gently sloping trail
is bordered by a split rail fence on one side. By late autumn, the ground
will be carpeted with a brilliant layer of maple leaves.