Hiking is definitely one of my personal favourite past times- all year long in Ontario.
Winter hikes are great because you don’t have the nagging mosquitos in your ear and it makes for great winter wonderland photos.
Fall hikes are gorgeous with the colourful backdrop of leaves and ever changing views throughout the hikes. This time of year makes for great long distance hiking
Summer hikes are warm and buggy but they are great for a good sweaty workout to kick up the cardio level with the help of the heat
Spring hikes are by far a favourite seeing all of nature rejuvenating after a long dormant winter.
A little Background: Katelyn is from the GTA and is well familiar with the hiking trails throughout the area, however she recently moved to Simcoe County and has found gorgeous trails up here as well. The difference; most trails in the GTA are paid parking and entry fees requiring memberships. Simcoe County is Ontario Park based majorly, and most trails are either honour system payments or free entry.
Now- the best hiking spots are 100% subject to interpretation but, in a personal sense, here are the top 10 hiking trails in Southern Ontario- Specifically the GTA and Simcoe County
#4. Robert Edmondson
This trail is located in Milton, ON. It is advertised as “peaceful reflection among the marsh marigolds and the forest. You’ll enjoy packing a picnic basket and watching the clouds reflected in the reservoir.”
Upon reading this beautifully captivating description, we couldn’t wait to explore the marsh areas and forest and be able to explore over the marsh on the multiple boardwalks that are advertised throughout conservation Halton’s site.
Now, the opinion for myself as an avid long distance hiker, is biased most definitely. After seeing so many beautiful hiking trails across Canada, this one was low on my bucket list of places to visit again. That is not to say, that this trail isn’t perfect for someone else and their family, as there are a lot of great things about this trail, it is simply not my cup of coffee.
Going here- we were disappointed. We love to go for long hikes and spend hours in the forest, thinking that most trails in Conservation Halton have multiple trail options, we expected the same for Robert Edmondson. We were wrong.
I didn’t take any pictures while we were here, it was very buggy and crowded for such a small trail.
This photo was so enticing we just had to see this extensive forest boardwalk.
This boardwalk is merely a couple feet long in real life- if you are looking for a beautiful marsh/ forest boardwalk, keep reading to #9- Crawford Lake. We would highly recommend this walk instead of Robert Edmondson.
|1. Great dog walking loop |
2. Fast walk if you’re short on time- only 1.5-2km
3. Kid friendly
5. Easy Walk
6. Honour system parking
|1. Not good if you’re looking for a good cardio workout |
2. Very buggy because of the marsh
3. Bad signage
4. Very muddy in the spring – YOU NEED RUBBER BOOTS FOR SURE
5. Very short for the drive
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#3. Crawford Lake
This trail is amazing. It is a mixture of forested trails with well maintained, wide walkways and multiple trail options as well as a beautiful lake-side boardwalk
There are definitely pro’s and con’s to this trail but first lets talk about all it has to offer- not just hiking wise
This park is located just between Milton and Campbelville ON. It offers a wide array of activities for families of all ages.
They are mostly known for their lake-side boardwalk, but they also have an aboriginal education centre at the start of the park. Equipt with long houses, canoes, and wooden villages, this park is great for learning about the aboriginal history of Canada. It also has an indoor education centre, that most GTA schools use for field trips during social studies education focused on Aboriginal History. They have taxidermy examples of animals that were important to the aboriginals before the English settlers came to Ontario, as well as video information in a viewing room as well.
Now, on to the trails:
The trails vary from 1-5km in length. All of the trails are very well cared for. The first trail that you have to walk on to get connected to any of the other trails, is the hide and seek trail where there are larger than life carvings of at risk and endangered animals across the Niagara Escarpment.
The Nassagaweya Canyon Trail is the largest trail, that is almost 10km round trip or an out and back of 5km to a beautiful lookout point. This trial is much harder than the other trials, and is not recommended for dog walking or small children. It is very advanced and has some treacherous terrain with large divots, gaps and large bolders that require some scaling. This trail though, is by far one of our favourites for the view at the end of the out and back.
The last trail that I want to mention before moving onto the pro’s and cons of this park- is the Crawford Lake Trail. This trail is the boardwalk trail. It is quite narrow and is a single file board walk, which can become tricky if there is a group of people coming the opposite way- especially when there are strollers. It is definitely child and pet friendly, however, make sure your pet is on a leash as they can easily jump the barrier of the board walk that can sit quite high from the ground at some points along the way.
As a courtesy, it can be quite frustrating to walkers when there are strollers along the board walk as it is difficult to maneuver around one another. It makes it easier to have a baby carrier strapped on, or make sure your little one can walk the 2-3km distance.
|1. Multiple Activities for Everyone |
2. Diverse Trails
3. Beautiful Boardwalk / Lookout Points
|1. Gated Entrance- can be turned away if too busy |
2. Narrow boardwalk- difficult to maneuver around others
3. Can be very busy in peak seasons
If you want to learn about the TOP 2 hiking trails in Conservation Halton from a seasoned hiker, subscribe to our blog and sign up for e-mail notifications to get the first read on our next post where we reveal the trails!
What are YOUR favourite spots to hike?! Let us know In the comments below or send us an email form to have your trails and blurbs featured on our blog!