Home » On Leash Hiking at Darlington Provincial Park

On Leash Hiking at Darlington Provincial Park

On Leash Hiking at Darlington Provincial Park

Darlington Provincial Park, located in Bowmanville, is the closest provincial park to the east side of the GTA. Well known for its migrating birds in the spring and fall, it is open for day use year round. In addition, if offers camping from May to October. Plus, it’s a great place to enjoy some on leash hiking with your dog.

Darlington Provincial Park

Exploring the park

The park is home to six hiking trails, camping and a beautiful sandy beach overlooking Lake Ontario. New to hiking, looking for some easy trails to enjoy, Darlington is perfect for you!

Between May and October, all park amenities are open and the park requires advanced parking reservations. After camping closes in October, parking is on an honor system. In addition, all the washrooms, park store and park office are locked and closed for the season.

Burk Hiking Trail

According to the park map, there are two sections of the Burk Trail. For simplicity, I’ll call them the north section located near the Park Office, Park Store, Pioneer Cemetery and over to the viewing platform. And the south section from parking lot 2 towards the beach and along the shore to the log cabin. Both sections of the trail are very different. This is a nice trail to hike with my dog Nala.

Most of the north Burk Trail, from the park office to the viewing platform, is a relatively flat, wide dirt trail through the forest. At most of the entrance points there are small wooden bridges with trail signs. This trail is very easy to find and follow through the forest.

Next, the Burk Trail that runs north south from the Waterfront Trail, past the viewing platform to the road. This section is a slight hill, but still a very well marked dirt trail.

Darlington Provincial Park - on leash hiking the burk trail

Visitors looking for an accessible trail should follow the southern part of the Burk Trail. This extends from parking lot 2, along the beach towards the log cabin. The trail is an open field with picnic tables and beautiful views of the beach and Lake Ontario. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the beach.

Waterfront Trail

The waterfront trail extends east west from the registration office along the side of the road and over to the west side of the park. This accessible trail is along the edge of the asphalt road and a crushed gravel section through the forest. Personally I don’t normally like walking my dog along the side of the a road. Luckly, there were few cars the times we were at the park but I assume it can get quite busy during peak times.

McLauglin Bay Trail

The McLauglin Bay Trail, denoted by the green trail on the park map is a grass and dirt trail through the forest. By far, this is my favorite on leash hiking area of the park. It leads down to the water, where although not an official dog beach, pets are allowed in the water. Best of all, it has some stunning views of the lake from the trail.

Campground Hiking Trail

Denoted by the purple on the map, the campground trail leads from the parking lot and log cabin and through the campground area. These trails are all well marked and easy walking.

Darlington Provincial Park - Campground on leash hiking

Although there are no leash free areas at Darlington Provincial Park, there are lots of easy walking trails. This provinical park is a short drive from anywhere in Durham region and a great place for some on leash hiking with your dog.

Looking for other nearby Provinical Parks, check our our newly updated visit to Ferris Provincial Park. In addition to on leash hiking, Ferris has a new off leash exercise area for dogs that opened summer 2023.

Karen Callery
Karen Callery

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