top of page
Sign-Winter 2011 davis.jpg
Brother Bears in a Tree anon.JPG
Perseid Invitations wikicommons.jpg

    The Torrance Barrens

                                          Conservation Area and Dark Sky Reserve


"A place where people may frequent but do not remain"

Torrance Barrens in the District of Muskoka is the traditional territories of the OJIBWAY, the CHIPPEWA, the ALGONQUIN and ODAWA.  

Home of 3 sovereign nations, Wahta Mohawks, Moose Deer Point, and Moon River Métis.

Lands are covered by the Robinson-Huron Treaty, 1850. People from the John Collins Land Purchase, 1785, and the Williams Treaty, 1923, also made communal use of the area

Welcome to the Torrance Barrens 

This website is operated by the Guardians of the Dark Sky and Barrens, a group of Muskoka citizens, politicians, environmentalists, and astronomers who care about the Barrens and who are working to preserve its natural attributes for generations to come. 


This website is intended to provide useful information about what there is to do and see at the Barrens. Here you can find interesting details about the Torrance Barrens' principle natural features, including the 

There is also information about the activities which can be done at the Barrens, such as 

Like the planet as a whole, the Torrance Barrens has suffered from human encroachment, particularly in recent years. Hence, this website was also created with the goal of raising awareness about how to reduce negative impacts on the Torrance Barrens. Human garbage and light pollution represent the two most critical threats to the Barrens' natural attributes and their longevity. Follow these links to learn how to

Torrance Barrens News

Camping Update - May 2024 

Camping at the Torrance Barrens is permitted at six official campsites designated by Ontario Parks.

Area 9 - Site 16.JPG

If you are thinking about camping at the Barrens this summer, here is what you need to know:


  • All official campsites are designated by an orange sign with a tent on it.

  • All locations without this orange signage are not authorized sites.

  • Camping and fire-making are banned across the Torrance Barrens except at the six official campsites. This ban will be enforced by Ontario Parks.

  • Camping and fire-making are also banned on lands owned by the Township of Muskoka Lakes, including those that adjoin the Torrance Barrens.

  • Designated campsites have a fire cairn and a backcountry (“thunderbox”) bathroom facility.

  • There are no structures, shelter, running water, cell service, Wi-Fi, or other amenities at campsites. Campers should expect bugs and mud.

  • Campers must carry out all waste, as there are no garbage facilities at the campsites.

  • All designated campsites are accessible by walking trails that start at the main parking lot off Southwood Road (see map below).

  • Campsites are currently available on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis and are free of charge. In the future, Ontario Parks may implement a campsite reservation/permit system, similar to locations such as Algonquin Provincial Park.  ​

Kiosk Map - April 15.png
Designated Campsite signage.JPG

The purpose of designating campsites was to concentrate camping-related disturbance to a finite number of locations.


Specifically, campsite locations were chosen in consideration of ecological values (e.g., avoidance of species-at-risk habitat), respect for all user groups (e.g., campsites are located far away from dark sky viewing areas), and fire safety (e.g., all sites are located next to large waterbodies).

Each designated campsite is associated with the name of someone who helped protect the Torrance Barrens. Read more here. 

 Orange site designating an official campsite 


Fire Cairn

Access and Location of the Torrance Barrens Official Campsites

Photograph of Official Campsite #3

Scientist's Trail Camera finds Abundant Wildlife in the Barrens

Check out the videos below to see some highlights from a project that used trail cameras in the Torrance Barrens

Black Bear


River Otter


What People are saying about the Torrance Barrens 

What People are saying about the Barrens

Perseid_Meteor_Shower wikicommons.jpg

"I came here to shoot the super moon and decided to stay. I met God here, it changed me. I hope you find what you are looking for as I did." Tom


"This is our spot. Loved the harmony of the wolves singing. The lake and trees were beautiful. The stars at night are amazing." Valerie and Kai--September 8, 2018


"These are the moments in life so simple and yet will last in your heart for a lifetime." Gary--April 28, 2018


"What a beautiful time to be alive. Just take a moment to stop and listen, to everything, even yourself...You're not alone even in the darkest times." Jackalope-- April 30. 2018


"Truly an amazing place...and helps unwind after long and stressful week. Can't wait till next time." Matt--May 6, 2018


"Here from New York and eager to see a sky with no ambient light. The sun is setting and its already beautiful. Here the noise comes from nature. Peaceful." May 7, 2018


"Nature at its best. Thank you for keeping a peaceful place to re-connect." Amy & Kevin--May 11, 2018


"Its Mothers' Day. I am hiking with my family. Its a beautiful, sunny and no bugs. I am in my happy place!" Jackie--May 13, 2018


"I frequented this place. But I did not remain!" Anupam


"A magical place. Show your gratitude to Mother Earth. If you are in tune, you will feel the magic." C


"First time visitors. Lovely lake. Nice Retreat. A+"  Mathew & Tammy--June 25, 2018 


"Were having a great time. We saw a baby bear! It was amazing!" Azaria and family--June 26, 2018


"Perhaps not Heaven, but mighty close!" Cynthia


"In the big world these stars make all your problems feel so small." Sept 9, 2018


"We're so tiny in this vast expanding galaxy--I'm so glad to go on this grand adventure with you..." July 15, 2018


"My son and I drove 4 hours to experience this beauty...Such a gift to experience nature this way. I hope that all who travel here respect the beauty mother nature has bestowed upon us." IG--July 16, 2018


"Thank you Dark Sky Reserve. Best Shooting stars ever!" July 18, 2018


"So excited to see the sky tonite." "Amazing place" "This place is amazing" "Its beautiful""What a wonderful walk" "The nature is soup for our weary souls." "Such a sacred place here!" "What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful place." "Beautiful sky and water. Perfect day!" "So sacred is this place of treasures"


"God's beauty is amazing!! We come here every year...We enjoy the trails, star-gazing swimming and exploring. We  hope you enjoy your time. Take some deep breaths, Fresh Air! Enjoy all the sights and sounds and say thank you to God. This Gift He has given to you and for you." Diane and Frank


"Mike Silver brought his meteor collection and many visuals for the hundreds of eager knowledge seekers. Mike Silver shared his celestial stories to an enthralled audience." August 11, 2018


"The universe is a large vast place. coming here frees me from the troubles of life. Starring into deep space you can only wonder what life exists beyond our beautiful planet. you feel so alone and helpless at the near impossible thought that we are alone. Life will go on and I will have my answers one day." August 14, 2018


"So very peaceful. Only the sounds of the wind and the wildlife--awesome in this day and age." Brad & Laurie--August 20, 2018


Were here on a sunny September day that reminds us of the day we first met. This year we celebrated our 40th anniversary. Lovely spot. May all who visit see the beauty of God's creation." Ralph & Claudia--September 13, 2018


"Tonight I feel like the Little Prince gazing up at the sky, lost in the galaxies and milky Way. I am a child again with nothing but wonder and curiosity in my heart. I wish you all share this amazing experience here." September 7, 2018

"Today was my first time on a hike. My stupid husband, dog and I walked 1/2 hour. We got tired. Walked back to the car. Will come again with my new husband."


"I am only 12 and came here with my parents. I hope to bring my kids here someday in the future." July 12, 2018


"the stars were incredible! Felt like we were banging in space!"-September 14, 2018

"I've been around to some places, wearing out some laces, till there were no traces of trails and the trains will derail and other systems will fail

in a comparison that pales in comparison to nature's everyday events of monumental energy eruptions that when in harmony does what its meant to 

and if we who can see stars to see more of what we are meant to our own destiny fulfilled you see" July 2018

bottom of page