Hike in Huron
Linfield Wildlife Area - Just west of Goshen Road on Pavilion Line, the Linfield Wildlife Area is a hidden gem of a trail. It’s not long or difficult, making it a perfect trail for a family hike. The property is a 95-acre recent addition to the conservation areas of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, but great strides have already been made in developing the windbreaks, grassed waterways and new tree plantings.
There is a large parking lot just off the road giving easy access to the grassy lane that leads up to the trail. Once you hit the hedgerow trail, you have two options. A right turn takes you down a shaded alley to a loop trail through a maple beech forest. This trail is a delightful amble through a young forest. The path tends to be wet in spring or after a rain, so be sure to wear proper footwear.
When you return to the hedgerow, continue straight rather than returning to the parking lot and the grassy lane between the windbreaks will lead you to another fork in the road. Either direction will take you along a small brook brimming with life. Look closely and you will see tiny minnows, frogs and crayfish in their mud burrows.
About 70 acres of the property remains cropped farmland, so please respect fields and stick to the trails. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. 37940 Pavillion Rd, Bluewater (Between Zurich and Bayfield).
Rodgers Tract - The 13 Huron County forest tracts are a legacy of the massive reforestation effort across southern Ontario that was undertaken by municipalities in partnership with the province starting in the early 1900s. Huron County residents and visitors are now reaping the benefits of that vision with over 1,500 acres of managed forests to provide educational and recreational opportunities.
On Hoover Line, just south of Westfield Road, lies Rodgers Tract. The trail consists of one loop around a pond and a one long rolling straight path along a ridge ending with a view over a large gravel pit.
Portions of the trail reach heights where you feel like you are on a treetop walk, making for some very pretty photos during the peak of the fall colour change. 83820 Hoover Line, Blyth.
Bannockburn Conservation Area - One of the best trails to experience the changing of the seasons is Bannockburn Conservation Area, managed by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. This 62-acre park has six different natural communities: Wet Meadow, Eastern White Cedar Forest, Bannockburn River and Walden Creek, Deciduous Forest, Old Field and Mixed Scrub, and Marsh.
The variety of trees gives it a beautiful glow in autumn, along with goldenrod and asters in the wet meadow and old field ecosystems.
There are interpretive signs along the trail giving information about various points of interest.
The trail begins with accessible boardwalks and then goes up a rustic set of steps and proceeds through winding and hilly terrain of moderate difficulty. Allow at least an hour to hike the outer loop (about two kilometres). The short side trail will add an additional half hour to your visit, but is well worth the extra time. It circles through a former farmstead and passes what remains of a stone foundation.
The views along the river are pretty and the old iron bridges and boardwalks make for some excellent selfie opportunities. 76249 Bannockburn Line (south of Bayfield Road, between Clinton and Bayfield).