Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve

Typical landscape at Torrance Barrens

One of the perks of living in central Ontario, specifically north Simcoe County, is it’s only a short drive from an abundance of great hiking trails. Torrance Barrens Sky Preserve between Bala and Gravenhurst is one of our “need to get-to spots” each year.

After hiking the Pine Ridge Loop and Barrens Extension last summer, we’ve always wanted to go back and view the dramatic landscape during the fall colours. With Lynn’s back issues over the past month, this has been the first time she’s felt well enough to head out. Although the maples and such had peaked, we found that there was still lots of colour be found.



One of the main reasons we love to go there, is the landscape. It’s so much different from what might be considered a “normal” forested hiking trail. Torrance Barrens isn’t better or worse than other locations, in our opinion it is just different. Kind of a breath of fresh air.




One thing we did find was that the boardwalks on the Pine Ridge loop, require a significant amount of repair. There is a location within the trail system where the various trails meet. It was here we noticed a sign saying that the Pine Ridge Loop was closed. Unfortunately we didn’t see any signage or there was no signs at the beginning of the Pine Ridge Loop. Oh well!


We found a multitude of locations, where Lynn’s favourite tree, “the tamarack” where turning a brilliant yellow, before they dropped their needles.


The trails are very well-marked with white blazes on trees and rocks and with some plastic flagging tied to branches.

At the trail head there is parking for maybe 8 cars, as well as a portable toilet – bonus!

The trailhead is a pretty easy spot to get to. Take Muskoka Road 169 north from Gravenhurst or south from Bala. Turn south of Southwood Road(Muskoka Road 13) and go about 7 km to the Torrance Barrens sign.

All in all, it was a great late fall afternoon. The sun was shining; weather was cool but pleasant and the company was top-notch. We’re not big on hiking the same trails multiple times. We do however, make an exception for Torrance Barrens. It’s one of those locations that never fails to deliver a great hike.

Take the opportunity to head up that area. Honesty, you won’t be disappointed. Besides Torrance Barrens, there are a number of great trails in the area to spend some time on. Click here for great info on trails in the Muskoka Lakes area.

This link will take you the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and some info on Torrance Barrens as a Dark Sky Preserve.

Both Bala and Gravenhurst are close by and offer great spots to head for a bite to eat or to grab a coffee for the trip home.

Torrance Barrens – give it a go!

Chat later.



2 thoughts on “Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve

  1. I’ve not been to this area, for some reason I usually avoid the Muskokas. Possibly due to the general congestions I feel heading up there. But this places sounds and looks lovely. Gunna have to give it a try.


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