Walking and Hiking around Lanark County
Wildflowers, small flowering bushes and groves of sumac, wild cherry and dogwood, framed and sheltered by canopies of maple, pine and ash contribute to a peaceful, cathedral-like setting soothing to the body and soul. Animal tracks and other evidence, fluttering butterflies and moths and a host of mushrooms add to ones nature index. Bird song embellishes a symphony of sound surrounding the serene solitude. But where can one find these trails to walk on? MVFN endeavors to provide, for your education and enjoyment, ongoing descriptions and locations of walking trails in Lanark County and area.
Some trails already exist while others are unfolding due to initiatives of various local trail groups. They range in distance from one to four km and all are of easy degree of difficulty. Some are circular, some are linear. Hiking enthusiasts are invited to add to the list of trails. All trails are not known to all persons.
Your comments are most welcome. Have a good hike!
– Cliff Bennett
NOTE: MVFN is not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided here or for the safety of the locations suggested. The status of the trails mentioned may have changed and so before embarking on a hiking outing, please ensure you are aware of any safety issues and rights to access at the locations mentioned.
The Kingston to Pembroke (K&P) (lovingly called the Kick and Push) railroad bed passes through our area from Lavant Station in Lanark Highlands to Calabogie, before moving northward to Renfrew. It’s management comes under different jurisdictions according to the different sections.
Generally, this old railway bed makes a wonderful walking trail. The surface in our area is level, gravel for most of the way and, in some sections, quite straight. All types of vehicles are allowed on the trail and many local people use it as a regular road to get from one community to the other or, to get to cottages, fishing and hunting shacks or, to launch boats onto several lakes in the area.
#1 K&P Trail: Calabogie
Travel to Calabogie on either highway 511 or 508. On highway 508, less than one km west from the intersection with highway 511, watch for the green sign pointing out the K&P trail northwards. There is parking space across the highway from the trail.
Once on this section of the trail, you are passing through northern woodlands, several prime cattail marshes. The western corner of Norway Lake is about four km from the start. Walk as long as you want to, before turning back to 508 and your car.
#2 K&P Trail: Tatty Hill Road
To find this section, travel on highway 511 to Barryvale Road. This road is about six km south of Calabogie or about 25 km north of Hopetown. Follow Barryvale Road west until you come to Tatty Hill Road, which only goes one way. Take Tatty Hill Road westward about six km until you come to the K&P Trail, which crosses the roadway. There is plenty of space to park but be aware of the sharp curve coming down a hill.
Northward will take you into the village of Barryvale on Calabogie Lake, about five km walking. The trail cuts through deep lush forests and sharp rock cuts. One gets the impression, if your imagination will let you, that the ghosts of old steam trains and railroad engineers, are watching you from the top of the rock cuts. Walk as long as you want to before turning back to your car. Southward will soon notice you are accompanying a rushing stream deep down in the forest, to your right. Five km. along this trail you come upon a beautiful, and almost isolated lake called Mile Lake. Again, the ghosts of railway operations past, haunt your progress.
#3 K&P Trail: Flower Station
You can join the K&P just out of the village of Flower Station and walk northwards past Flower Round Lake and Clyde Lake or, go southwards past Widow Lake to join Clyde Forks Road.
To get to Flower Station, Travel north on highway 511 past Hopetown to Brightside. Turn west on Waddell Creek Road to French Line, go northwards on French Line Road to Joe’s Lake and westward on Flower Station Road past Clyde Forks to Flower Station.
#4 K&P Trail: Lavant Station
At Lavant Station, the K&P goes northwards to Folger. or southwards towards Wilber. Either way, you can walk as far as you want to before turning back to your car at Lavant Station.
To get to Lavant Station, travel two km. north of Hopetown on highway 511 to County Road 16. Turn westward to Poland and continue on #16, past Robertson Lake and the village of Lavant to Lavant Station. Park you car by the trail and enjoy your walk.
Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority Conservation Areas
#5 Mill of Kintail Conversation Area
The Mill of Kintail not only includes a museum of note but picnic area, toilets, playground and several great walking trails. The trails and grounds are open from dawn to dusk and a fee of $5 per car is charged. A ticket machine is available at the gate. Simple purchase your ticket and leave it on your dash.
To find the Mill of Kintail, drive north from Almonte on highway 29 three km. towards Pakenham, turn onto Clayton Road and drive one concession to Ramsay Conc. 8. Turn north (right) on Conc. 8 and drive one km to the Mill. Follow the Conservation Area signs; the route is well marked.
Once inside the gate, park your car. The trails start on the north side of the parking lot or the east side. Or you can walk the roadway right to the mill and start there. The first trails take you to the Mill of Kintail and the second set of trails go over the bridge. They are well marked. Total distance of trails equals approx. two km.
The museum is open from May to October.
#6 Purdon Bog Trail
Purdon Bog, in Dalhousie Ward in Lanark Highlands, is famous during three or four weeks in June/July for its great display of showy ladies slippers (orchids). The boardwalk trail (there are two interconnected loops) is wheelchair accessible and gives one a close-up of not only the pink orchids but yellow lady slipper , pitcher plant and many other woodland flora.
However, the conservation area, under the control of Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, sports not only a lookout over the small beaver-build lake but a new trail, over a km. long. Built last year, with still some construction underway, this trail is a perfect birdwatching exercise for it meanders through several different types of habitat. Observation platforms are in the process of being put together and one, overlooking the lake at the west end, will sport a picnic table.
The new trail begins immediately at the foot of the long sets of stairs coming down from the observation platform and the top parking lot. You can also reach the start of the new trail from the lower parking lot by entering along the boardwalk up to the stairs. The trail, shaped like a giant letter “P” ends back at the start.
To find Purdon Bog, travel north on highway 511 from Perth, through the village of Lanark and north to County Road 8 going west through Watson’s Corners. From highway 417, take the Almonte exit, travel through Almonte and west on County Road 16 to Hopetown. Turn south towards Perth to County Road 8 turning west through Watson’s Corners. From 511, the area is well marked.
Other Lanark County Hiking Trails
#7 Perth Wildlife Reserve
“Located on the Tay Marsh, this watery environment nurtures a variety of diverse plant and wildlife species. Deer, ducks, Canada geese, rabbits, bluebirds and wild turkeys are some of the wildlife that is found in this 257-hectare reserve. This conservation area is specifically geared to wildlife management. This is an area for quiet observations.” Visit Rideau Valley Conservation’s Perth Wildlife Reserve Conservation Area webpage for brochure and trail maps.
#8 Almonte Lagoons Trail
The Almonte Lagoons, noted in Clive Goodwin’s definitive revised edition manual “A Bird-Finding Guide to Ontario”, is within the membership area of Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN). With this in mind, MVFN established a trail and observation tower.
The trail to the tower, with entrance from the 8th Conc. of Ramsay, in Mississippi Mills, Lanark County, goes along a cultivated field and through an abandoned pioneer farm yard. The tower, named the Potvin Tower after the donators, is a three level playground structure and overlooks the western lagoon. With a spotting scope as well as binoculars, birders can easily scan the surface and shores as well as the surrounding countryside. View photos below.
Erected in 1996, the trail is open to all interested naturalists. Although the whole area is posted with no trespassing signs, birders are most welcome as long as they accept entrance at their own risk. A new sign stating so is posted on the main gate, across from the Auld Kirk Cemetery.
Directions. From Almonte, travel west on County Road 16, Wolf Grove Road, one mile, to Ramsay Conc. 8. At this intersection you will find the famous heritage Auld Kirk church. Turn north, go about 200m and park alongside the road. You will see the sign on the main gate with an arrow to the trail entrance, about 20 m further.
#9 Carleton Place Arena Trail
To reach this one km. trail, enter Carleton Place from highway #7 via McNeely Avenue. Travel to Lake Avenue intersection,turn left two blocks to Neelin Street at the Hospital and turn right on Neelin to the local arena.
Although the trail starts from Princess Street, it is best accessed by parking your car in the arena parking lot next to the river. The trail is right before you and is wheel chair accessible.
From the arena end, the trial is commonly called the Arklan Trail, named after the old mill ruins further downstream. Towards the end, the trail becomes the Stone Water Gate Nature Trail, named for the new housing development by that name situated at the eastern end of the trail.
For the first 500m, this trail is very shaded, sheltered by mature deciduous trees. There are many short sub-trails leading to the water’s edge. An abundance of fruit bearing shrubs and vines provide excellent food for birds in the summer and autumn and all along the edge of the river, wetland habitat abounds.
A boardwalk meanders through a mature soft maple swamp just before the bridge and the trial opens up past the bridge into an area of low shrubbery. At one point, one wanders through mature cedar woods and an exciting view of the ruins of the Arklan mills awaits one at the end of the trail. One picnic table exists just before the McNeely Avenue bridge and a playground and park awaits one at the end of the trail.
A main feature of this trial is the abundant bird life. Various duck species and Canada geese nest along the river, an osprey has been a resident of this part of the river for over twenty years and recently, a bald eagle claims it as its hunting ground. Sparrows, finches, catbird and orioles supplement a bird list numbering at least thirty species which can be found on any one trip along this trail.
#10 Carleton Place Centennial Park
A much shorter trail (less than one km), this trail meanders through a filled in wetland area containing very old willow trees and small, woodland ponds, which dry up in late summer. The trail is found at the foot of Joseph Street, across from the Carleton Place Canoe Club. To find it, take Town Line Road from Highway #7 (the western entrance to Carleton Place) to Joseph Street, which is the first street in from the highway. Turn right and go to the river.
This small nature area contains circular trails, with access points to the river shore. The place abounds in honey suckle, wild grapes and mountain ash berries, attracting many species of birds. The lush canopy provides a sanctuary effect, a perfect place for solitude and reflection. Across from the entrance to the park is Centennial Park, with picnic tables, playing area and a beach.
#11 Baird Trail
The Baird Trail in Lanark Highlands is .8 km in a circular route, and is one of the most beautiful trails around. Various points are marked with ecological values and one can find the most humungous individual maple and beech trees in the area. Old rail fences indicate farming practices of long ago and the forty year old red pine plantations under a Lanark County Forest Agreement provide a quiet sanctuary from the outside world. A sedge wetland in the middle of the property is halved by a fine boardwalk, affording a good view of typical wetland attributes.
To find this trail, travel west on Wolf Grove Road (County Road 16) from Almonte to Middleville and then south on County Road 8. There is no obvious sign at the moment marking the park and trail but the property number is 1024. You can also reach the same place by travelling north on highway 511 from Lanark Village to County Road 8, turn east (right) and find 1024.
Drive into the parking area and next to it you will find a picnic area and clean washrooms. The information board in front of the parking lot tells the history of the property and points to the start of the trail. Right after the boardwalk, the trail is not too well marked. Look for a small orange arrow marker and a pile of cut stove wood. Enjoy!
#12 California Road Trail
Believe it or not, California Road exists. It is found in the Municipality of Lanark Highlands, in Darling Ward, south of White Lake. Although this road is well recognized and publicized on local maps and, it has a long history in the annuals of local settlement, it goes through some very wild Canadian Shield country and is a very rough, unmaintained road, passable only with any vehicle that has at least twelve inches clearance.
California Road makes a very good walking trail. You can park at the beginning of the road and start walking until you tire and want to turn back. Or, you can drive in a few km., park and walk. Take a hike bag with you, with plenty of water and a lunch. Along the way, you will find trails going off into the bush. These are old logging roads or trails into hunting camps. Most of this land is private but some is Crown Land. The road itself is approximately ten km long.
There ate two roads leading to the California Road, one from the east and one from the west. The eastern end has the best parking opportunity. The route is as follows:
1) from the centre of the Village Pakenham, take County Road 20 called the Waba Road until you reach Campbell Sideroad;
2) travel Campbell Road westerly to its end at Pakenham Concession 4;
3) follow Conc. 4 southward and onto County Road 24, which is called Bellamy Road;
4) County Road 24 becomes Peneshula Road. Drive westerly until you get to Snye Road;
5) Turn left onto Snye Road and follow about two km to a yellow sign on your left which says this road is not maintained. That’s the start of California Road. Lots of room to park here.
For the westerly end of California Road, take County Road 9 (called Tatlock Road) out of the Village of Clayton to Darling Road. Go north on Darling Road to the end of the regular road, a distance of about twelve km. (This road is not paved). There you will also find a yellow municipal unmaintained road sign. That’s California Road from the west end.
Warnings: Use this road at your own risk, expect to meet ATV’s and the odd truck and, don’t walk on this road during deer hunting season.
#13 Kate’s Lake Trail
The Kate’s Lake Trail takes you onto an old pioneer roadway which is unopened and unmaintained and too treacherous to drive on unless you have a four wheeler or an ATV. It meanders through Crown Land forest and assaults the senses with a continuing aroma of pine woods and a beautiful swishing sound of wind through the bows of a good scattering of large, tall, old white pine trees. Overgrown side trails leading off the main road tell of recent logging activities.
This trail can be gained by driving north on County Road 9, through Clayton and Tatlock and onto Darling Conc.6. Be sure to make the sharp left hand turn at Tatlock towards highway 511 and the big marble mine. Conc.6 is the next road after Tatlock. You can also reach conc.6 from highway 511 on County Road 9.
Travel about 4 km. to the end of the maintained section of Conc. 6 (it only goes north from County Rd. 9). About 150 m further on, you will come to the old road which forms a T junction with Conc. 6. On many maps, this road is called New Road.
Park you car at the T junction and begin your walk. You will eventually come to an open field with some buildings on it, to your left. There is a metal gate at this point. About 15 m past the gate is an old roadway to your right used for logging purposes. Turn onto this trail and travel about 1/2 km. until you come to the end at Kate’s Lake.
NOTE: November, 2015: A walker reported a keep out sign after turning as above. And “So instead of taking that turn-off we kept straight along New Road. It’s still a very nice walk but you can’t reach the lake without ignoring that sign. “
There isn’t much access to Kate’s Lake but you can get out to the edge and view the water. It’s in two sections, separated by an old beaver dam. This is a good spot to have your picnic lunch.
The entire trail from car and back takes about three hours depending upon how much you dawdle. Watch out for poison ivy along the roadways. An option to going in to the lake (and longer) is to continue on New Road until you reach highway 511. Have a good hike.
#14 High Lonesome Nature Reserve
High Lonesome Nature Reserve is a 200 acre property located in the Pakenham Hills donated to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust Conservancy by the family of the late Barry Spicer in April 2012. A network of trails through the forests, over the hills and streams, by the ponds and through the meadows has been developed and cared for by the donor’s brother Ken Spicer. Ken has documented many of the natural riches found there, shared them with the MMLTC and encouraged the Land Trust to complete the work he began. MMLTC has committed to conserve High Lonesome as a nature reserve in perpetuity. Species lists and trail maps at mmltc.ca