Take a hike

We have so many potential places to hike locally that we still have lots of exploring to do!

Our (almost) daily walk is the stroll down the lane to Pine Point, but that’s not really a hike, though it is very pleasant (about an hour in total).

Seeley’s Bay

Vitaparcours Fitness Trail

Close to home there’s also a trail round Seeley’s Bay featuring exercise stations. This runs from Haskin’s Point (a potential swimming spot on a hot day), through the village and on through woodland at the other edge. It was standing on Haskin’s Point that I knew that I wanted to live on the Rideau! You might want to consider a stop at Nest Egg for an ice cream (May to October only) or at Ridgeway Confections for some of Derek’s yummy chocolates (open Friday to Sunday).

Walking tours around other local villages

Rock Dunder

Rock Dunder will likely always be a special place for us – not far from home and so very beautiful. The Cabin Trail is an easy 1.3 km walk past a beaver pond through mixed forest. The Morton Bay Loop is 2 km through mixed forest to and from a peninsular outlook over the bay, with two moderately steep sections. The Summit Loop is a 3.9km climb through a variety of forest and rocky cliffs with a stunning panoramic view of the Rideau from the summit. This is a great hike on a day that is not too hot, especially if you take a pic-nic lunch (and plenty to drink). Open May 15 to November 15. 

It is not much of a detour to drop in at Wendy’s Country Market before heading home, an historic school house built in the late 1800s, now lovingly resurrected as an old-fashioned country market filled with food from a 100 mile radius.

Foley Mountain, Westport

We first hiked at Foley Mountain long before we moved to this area and it remains a favourite whatever the season. There are trails for all ability levels, a wonderful lookout, a natural swimming beach and lovely woodland and ponds.

You could combine a hike at Foley Mountain with a stroll round Westport itself, a very pleasant small town with some interesting shops. Perhaps you might want to grab a pub meal at the Cove Inn (old-style comfort food in an attractive C19th Inn). Or you could stop at the  Schuermann Vineyard, a more recent venture (wood-fired pizza may be available through the summer season, with occasional dining events). For a quirky, unique experience, you might call in to Kilborn’s in Newboro on the way home, a quite extensive department store in a small village – also a good ice-cream stop.

The Provincial Parks

There are two Provincial Parks within an hour’s drive, both offering significant access wilderness adventures as well as gentler outdoors experiences.

Charleston Lake 

30 minutes drive to the East of us.

Charleston Lake Provincial Park encompasses rocky lake and forest landscape that is an extension of the Canadian Shield.

It has great hiking trails, including a vantage point from the highest peak in the county. These range from an easy 1.8 km loop to a difficult 10 km loop and the 5.7 km trail to the top of Blue Mountain.

It is also known for excellent swimming, boating, fishing and wildlife viewing. After a hot and sweaty  August hike, we enjoyed a swim and picnic lunch on the beach before dropping our kayaks into the water to explore the islands in Runnings Bay.

Frontenac

An hour’s drive to the West of us.

Frontenac Provincial Park cover 5,355 hectares on the southern edge of the Canadian Shield and offers year round back-country recreation.

There are Canoe routes through 22 lakes and over 100km of looped backpacking and hiking trails. There’s also great fishing, wildlife viewing, interior camping, paddling, swimming, cross- country skiing, snowshoeing and winter camping. Trails range from and easy 1.5 km 30 min loop,  to a difficult 21 km 8 hour loop plus an hour’s hike in to get to the start. Many of these can be strung together to form significant expeditions.

The Friends of Frontenac also offers wilderness skills training programs here.

And there’s more . . .

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area

Depot Lakes Conservation Area

Mac Johnson Conservation Area

Landon Baymap (pdf)

Purdon Conservation Area (thousands of orchids in June!)

There’s an even longer list of hiking trails on the Frontenac Arch Biosphere site!