Earl Rowe Provincial Park has been a favourite of my friends for years, however I had never been. The one and only time I was able to join them on their camping trip, they cancelled. Yeah, they’re jerks. So I went hiking here without them. HA.
It is closed for the season, but that certainly did not stop the crowds. That being said, this place is large enough that I managed to mostly keep away from them. Mostly.
Street parking is likely not permitted when the park is open. The space behind Sully was just clearing as I left the park. The cars were lined up both sides of the streets, on both sides of the entrance. And no one parked in front of the gates. Good job, everyone!
It’s a bit of a walk in to Earl Rowe, past the gatehouse where you could park for a day trip in-season. The first thing you’ll encounter is the dam and man-made lake.
The view from the dam is pretty nice, albeit a little brown this time of year.
I headed off in a counter-clockwise direction, as I seem to do often. The majority of my time was spent following the Rainbow Run trail, which circles the perimeter of Earl Rowe.
There are a lot of interpretive signs throughout Earl Rowe to tell you of the history and the plants. That’s how I know this is a mechanically planted forest of red pine. I don’t know much about red pine, but it doesn’t look like they are too happy.
Despite the size of Earl Rowe, and my ability to escape people, this park is bordered by some pretty busy country roads. You’re never out of earshot or eyesight of something paved.
Up at the north edge of the park there is a side trail called Lookout Trail. Aptly named for the lookout point at the very top of it, which gives you some great views south and east. There is a “viewing platform” as well, but its tucked back in some trees and doesn’t really give the greatest vantage point.
I’m glad I made my way in from the east, as the path on the west side of Lookout Trail is much steeper and seemed longer. That could just be because it was also muddier, and I was trying to find the best time to cut through the group ahead of me.
Back down around the Trillium Woods campground, the trees are providing some shade for the clinging snow patches.
Further on however, the open fields are not so accommodating.
To the west of Meadowbrook campsites is a Resources Trail. This one also has interpretive signs along the way, and gives some great views of Earl Rowe Lake from the north.
There are two bridges that cut through the center of the lake. I imagine you could claim some of the grassy area inbetween as a picnic spot, but it was very windy through here and I doubt summer would make it any less so.
I did brave the winds to snap a few shots of the giant group of geese making Earl Rowe Lake their home.
Well maintained trails and bridges here in the heart of the park.
On the other side of the bridges, the trail splits again and I kept right to stay on Rainbow Run again. This rounds a sharp corner where I disturbed a bunch of land-locked geese. They noisily made their way in to the water.
The trail here passes by another parking area, giving you the opportunity to cut your hike short. I thought about it, but it would only have me about a kilometer, and after having done already nine and half, what’s the point?
Besides, it was still pretty enough out here with all that blue sky.
202m elevation gain