Hike in Huron
With over 30 trails to choose from in Huron County, there is something for everyone.
In the heat of the summer, the cool shade of a forest walk is a refreshing way to spend a quiet afternoon. Here are three well-shaded options.
Naftel’s Creek Conservation Area
This property is maintained by the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority and is located seven kilometres south of Goderich.
The trail system consists of two main loops with several side paths for a total of 3.2 kilometres of walking paths. Explore plantations, mixed deciduous forests and cedar lowlands along the trail. In winter, the site is used extensively for cross-country skiing.
The orange loop leads past a small pond where you may spot painted turtles sunning themselves on logs. It continues on through a pretty birch stand and over a foot bridge into a mixed deciduous forest.
Take the blue loop and enjoy a long boardwalk over the wetlands. A small bridge crosses Naftel’s Creek, a remarkably clear stream.
The loop continues around through a mature pine plantation along an open meadow. As it turns back there is a relatively new side trail and new bridge that is a shorter route back to the parking lot, or you can continue back to the first bridge. If you take the long way home, be sure to keep an eye out for the remnants of an old cabin with a fireplace that is just visible in the bushes along the creek banks.
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.
The ponds and lowland marsh areas sing with the sound of frogs in the spring, and you will see a variety of nesting ducks early in the year.
Portions of the trail reach heights where you feel like you are on a treetop walk.
The Maitland Trail Association is a group of volunteers that works with local landowners to maintain a trail that follows the Maitland River from Auburn to Goderich for 48 kilometres.
For a summertime starting point, the section that begins near Auburn (just off County Road 25 on Bridge Road) is an easy walk on a well-marked trail (follow the white blazes) through the Robertson Tract and along the banks of the Maitland River.
With gorgeous views of the river on one side, and a forest of trees, wildflowers and songbirds on the other, can you think of a better way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny summer afternoon?
This will be a straight out-and-back walk, so walk as far as you feel comfortable and then turn around and experience the same trail from a different perspective.
For more information on the trail system, visit maitlandtrail.ca