Hike in Huron - Winter 2022/2023
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. 79154 Bluewater Highway, south of Goderich
G2G Trail - Sharpes Creek Line: One of our favourite sections of the Goderich-to-Guelph Rail Trail starts at Sharpes Creek Line near Benmiller. There is ample parking on the side of the road, so be sure to leave room for the farm lane and gravel pit entrances, which are well-marked. On the trail, head west through a tree-lined section. This will soon open with gravel pits on either side of the trail. Then the hedgerows start to thicken with plenty of sumacs and dogwood adding a splash of colour. Soon you will encounter a substantial bridge built and maintained by the local snowmobile club that spans the picturesque Sharpes Creek. The creek was named after a runaway slave who settled in the area.
Follow the trail along and you will encounter a pond on your left that is often ice- or snow-covered throughout the winter, with lots of tracks in the snow of the wildlife who take advantage of the thick cover as a shortcut.
The next road (Lucknow Line) indicates the end of the first block and is a good turnaround point to return to your car or a midway point if you want to continue. The next block is a short one, with the McGaw Line intersection. If you want to continue one more block, you will continue west to CP Line. A return trip from Sharpes Creek Line to CP Line and back is approximately 11 kilometres and a leisurely pace would be about two-and-a-half hours.
Remember that this is a shared use trail as it is part of the snowmobile trail. You may have to step off the trail to allow a snowmobile or two to pass, but the trade-off is a groomed trail to make winter walking a little easier. 81722 Sharpes Creek Line, near Benmiller.
The twin attractions of the natural beauty of its setting and its sense of history has always made Goderich a popular tourism destination. For a new perspective on both, however, visitors should make a trip over the Menesetung Bridge and along the Tiger Dunlop Heritage Trail.
The bridge and the trail is spectacular in all seasons looking out over the Maitland River, the harbour and the town but winter gives the vista a wonderful elegance with layers of snow and ice covering the river and trees.
When you tread the sturdy boards of the Menesetung Bridge you’re walking where steam locomotives once hauled trains laden with grain down to the Goderich harbour for loading on lake freighters, or carried heavy loads of rock salt from the Sifto Salt Mine or road graders from Champion Road Machinery eastward to customers throughout North America and beyond. Until 1988 the bridge served to carry CPR freight trains high above the Maitland River. The last steam train crossed the bridge as part of an historical excursion in 1977.
After you cross the bridge, you can continue along the north bank of the river enjoying sweeping views of the river below and across to the town of Goderich with church spires marking the horizon.
The three-kilometre long trail leads to the Tiger Dunlop Tomb and a small park with commemorative plaques. From here you can head back to your car or head out on a longer hike as the Tiger Dunlop Heritage Trail connects to both the Maitland Trail (just before the tomb) and the Goderich-to-Auburn Rail Trail (cross over the highway on the pedestrian bridge). To get to the Menesetung Bridge take the North Harbour Road in Goderich from Highway 21.