Girl standing on Sandbanks Dunes Beach with West Lake behind her.

Girl standing on Sandbanks Dunes Beach with West Lake behind her.

If you'd like to get some movement in before you spend an afternoon lounging on sandy shores, there's an easy hike in Ontario that comes with a tropical-like beach and blue water views.

Sandbanks Dunes Trail is a 2.5-kilometre loop that goes over giant sand dunes. The area boasts "the world’s largest freshwater bay mouth barrier dune system," according to Ontario Parks.

Looking from the trail to West Lake feels like you're on a secret island, as you peer over grassy sand dunes to this quiet blue water view.

The trail loop is right next to Sandbanks Dunes Beach, a quieter alternative to the busy Outlet Beach in the provincial park. Once you work up a sweat hiking up sand dunes, you can bring your towel down to relax by the shore.

Some of the leafy trees you'll spot along the hike were planted there to stabilize the sand dunes, as the dunes and nearby wetlands are a globally rare phenomenon. The park asks you to please stay on the trail to keep the dunes looking fabulous and in tact.

If you’d like to learn more information about the area, a guided hike is offered weekly, and you can check directly with the park for a schedule. You can also find some information at the trailhead.

There are other beaches and hiking trails in Sandbanks Provincial Park, such as the Cedar Sands Nature Trail. This two-kilometre loop winds around Outlet River and has two lookout points over the dunes and marsh area.

Sandbanks Dunes Trail 

Price: $12.25 per vehicle

Address: 3004 County Rd. 12 RR#1, Picton, ON

Why You Need To Go: You can feel like you're hiking through a desert jungle in Ontario, before cooling off in the nearby lake.


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