While the main trail you’ve probably heard about in Killarney is the famous trail at “The Crack“, the Killarney Lighthouse Trail offers some really beautiful scenery, too. This one isn’t within the confines of Killarney Provincial Park, nor is it an uphill climb. Rather, it’s a coastal trail between the town of Killarney and the Killarney Lighthouse.
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Hiking the Killarney Lighthouse Trail takes a little longer than you’d expect. A portion of the hike is spent navigating those pink granite rocks that make up much of the landscape. While it is possible to drive directly to the Killarney Lightstation, skipping the hike entirely, it is the journey itself that makes this trek so incredible.
While the Killarney East Lighthouse is a beauty, it’s all about the scenery along the way. It’s the moment when you see the lighthouse off in the distance for the first time. I found that I enjoyed the journey to the lighthouse more enjoyable than being at the lighthouse itself. So, definitely hike the Killarney Lighthouse Trail instead of driving to the lighthouse!
Killarney Lighthouse Trail Map
Here is a trail map for the Killarney Lighthouse Trail. It is an out and back trail that’s a little over 2km in each direction. If you’re looking for a shorter way back to town, you can always walk down the road instead. However, it won’t be very scenic.
Hiking the Killarney Lighthouse Trail
It’s really easy to access the start of the Killarney Lighthouse Trail from the Killarney Mountain Lodge property. You’ll see the trail begin around Canada House, the log conference center on the grounds.
Follow the trail blazes through a forested section. There will be a clearing after this first forested area where you’ll walk up some pink granite boulders. Soak up the spectacular views all around you.
Coastline Scenery Along the Way
From the top of the clearing, you’ll even be able to see the lighthouse for the first time off in the distance. It’s really easy to follow this trail. There are either trail blazes on the boulders themselves and they’re quite apparent through the forest.
You’ll alternate between walking through the woods and walking across massive flat rocks. When we visited in mid-June, we found it to be a bit buggy in the forest. But, when we were out in the clearings by the water, there weren’t any bugs at all.
As you hike, you’ll get closer and closer to the lighthouse. There are stunning panoramic views no matter where you look. The natural landscapes are equally as breathtaking.
Arriving at the Lighthouse
After another trek into the forest, you’ll walk out into a small parking area for the lighthouse. Keep on walking and you’ll see the Killarney Lighthouse. You can’t miss it! Walk up a small hill to reach the lighthouse.
While the best views of the lighthouse are on the Killarney Lighthouse Trail on the way to the lighthouse, there are some really pretty views from the lighthouse itself. Take some time to rest and enjoy the lookout before heading back.
If you want to continue your hike, you can keep walking on the Tarvat Trail. This isn’t as well maintained as the Killarney Lighthouse Trail, and there will certainly be fewer people. We actually only saw a couple of people at the lighthouse and didn’t encounter anyone else on the actual hiking trail though. The Tarvat Trail is a 3.4km out and back trail beyond the lighthouse.
Plan Your Visit
The Killarney Lighthouse Trail is free to visit. You can park in town and walk in, or you can leave your car at the Killarney Mountain Lodge. There aren’t any facilities along the trail, though you may be able to sneak in to use the restrooms in the Canada Lodge conference center at Killarney Mountain Lodge if need be.
It will take you a couple of hours to hike to the lighthouse and back. Don’t go by the estimated times on hiking apps – they underestimate how much time it takes to climb up and down the uneven rock surfaces. All in all, this is a really lovely hike. It’s definitely one to add to your list of treks to take in Killarney.
What to Bring on a Hike
A proper pair of hiking shoes is an absolute must. It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen and lots of water, too. My water bottle of choice is the GRAYL Purifier because you can drink ANY water from any source, no matter what. Water from lakes, streams, rivers, public restrooms, you name it. It’s the world’s fastest portable purifier. Get your hands on one ASAP!
Don’t forget to pack some bug spray because there can be biting bugs depending on the time of year. Even if there aren’t any signs, it’s safe to assume that ticks are all over Ontario hiking trails. Protect yourself against ticks by reading our guide to avoiding ticks on the trails.
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