Torrance Barrens - Discover Muskoka: Plan Your Trip

Discover Muskoka: Plan Your Trip

Muskoka Lakes

Torrance Barrens

Torrence Barrens Dark Sky Reserve off Southwood Rd, Gravenhurst, ON


In 1999, Torrance Barrens Conservation Area was designated as the world’s first permanent Dark Sky Reserve. The 4,700 acres of Crown land is bedrock and wetlands, with trees and bushes that are stunted in height. For star-gazers, this means a spectacular 360-degree view of the night sky, unhampered by light pollution. Even an amateur’s telescope can see the rings of Saturn.

The Barren also doubles as an exceptional hiking and mountain biking destination, with 3 well-marked trails for public use.

Encompassing 1,990 hectares (5,000 acres), the Torrance Barrens Conservation Reserve is one of the most striking geological areas in Muskoka. The lunar landscape of the Torrance Barrens is characterized by low ridges of Precambrian bedrock, separated by wetland and peat-filled hollows. The barren landscape contains scattered boulders and little soil. The prevalence of bare bedrock is a direct result of wave washing of glacial lakes Algonquin and Nipissing. The nationally rare Eastern Bluebird and Cooper’s Hawk can be spotted from the Barrens, along with diverse vegetative species. Ontario’s only lizard, the five-lined skink can also be spotted here.

If you want a great place to star gaze this is the place.