Go on, dig out those hiking shoes. The warmer temps are here to stay, and you’ve got more tracks than ever to choose from across South Eastern Ontario. Seriously, take your pick: easy strolls along old rail lines, moderate paths around big sand dunes, difficult routes up the Canadian Shield. Whether you’re an amateur stroller or pro hike head, there’s a trail for you out there. Here are 10 of the best, from west to east.
Trans-Canada Trail: Corbyville to Stirling
Length: 25 km (or less)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
The Grand Junction Railway once ran from Belleville to Peterborough, but now it’s part of the multi-use Trans-Canada Trail. This stretch begins in Corbyville, a hamlet just north of Belleville that was once a booming distillery town. From the path, you can still see remnants of Corby Distilleries in old water towers, cement buildings, and rusted pipes and equipment. After Corbyville, the trail heads northwest for 15 km, mostly through farmlands, until Madoc Junction, where it splits and goes 25 km northeast to Madoc or 10 km west to Stirling. Since the trail is on a rail line, it’s easy on the body. tctontario.ca; thetrail.ca (Photo: Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance)
Sandbanks Provincial Park: Dunes Trail
Length: 2.5 km
Get up close to the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation at Prince Edward County’s renowned provincial park. On this short loop, you’ll travel through a rare and fragile dune habitat and along the edge of several small wetlands. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for some of the 240 bird species that have been observed here, including woodpeckers, orioles, black turns and blue jays. Watch out for reptiles and amphibians, too, like several harmless types of snakes and the rare musk turtle. Want the most informed adventure through the Dunes Trail? Consider a guided hike from a naturalist in the summer. ontarioparks.com (Photo: Eric Parker/FlickrCC)