Hiking is a great way to spend a day outside and enjoying nature in all its splendor. From flat, well-groomed public routes like Cataraqui Trail to the rugged beauty of Frontenac Provincial Park’s back country, there is a trail for every age and ability in South Eastern Ontario. I guarantee you will fall in love with these hiking trails, whether you are visiting for a day or a weekend.
1. Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Established over fifty years ago by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, this 9,000 hectare is a haven for a variety of wildlife, but most notably our migrating feathered friends. More than 200 species of birds call the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary home, including waterfowl, songbirds and birds of prey. In the fall, the popular bird feeding program draws visitors for unique interactions with Canada Geese, but don’t leave the Sanctuary without exploring the 8 kilometers of self-guided trails. A mature upland forest, early successional woods, old fields, wetlands and open water are among the habits you will hike through. Well-marked trails which are mostly flat or paved of varying distances make this one of the region’s most family-friendly routes and one of our favourite. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ Parks of the St. Lawrence on Facebook for special event updates.
2. Frontenac Provincial Park
Frontenac Provincial Park, located 40 kilometers north of Kingston 1000 Islands, has over 100 kilometers of trails in interconnected loops. Trails range from easy to difficult, which means you can bring along sure-footed children for a day of connecting with nature or perhaps gather a group of friends for a back country adventure. Arab Lake Gorge and Doe Lake are the most family-friendly trails, whereas the Cedar Lake Loop is best for experienced hikers. Up for a challenge? Join in on the Frontenac Challenge! This annual event offered by the Friends of Frontenac Park encourages hikers to complete each of the 11 loops throughout the months of September and October. New to hiking? Try the Frontenac Trek, which is conquering six of the Park’s trails. Check the Ontario Parks’ Fall Colours Report to time your visit with when leaf peeping will be at its finest.
3. Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area
Located outside of Picton in picturesque Prince Edward County is the local gem Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area. Don’t let the word “mountain” intimidate you, there are plenty of easy hiking trails here for both families and those wanting a more rugged outdoors experience. The soaring and rugged escarpment is one of the most notable features here, but the peaceful trails and famous Birdhouse City makes Macaulay Mountain a great day trip destination. There are over 20 kilometers of trails throughout the 178 hectare park, ranging from the nearly 15 kilometer bike trail to the accessible 1.5 kilometer Whattam’s Memorial Walkway. Pack a picnic and spend the day outdoors! Follow Quinte Conservation on Facebook or Twitter to keep up date on events at Macaulay Mountain.