Hike #17: Crawford Lake Conservation Area

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Distance hiked: 7.4km
Location: Bruce Trail, Ontario
Date: May 24, 2020

Provincial parks and conservation areas opened back up again last week in Ontario. With warmer weather on the forecast for the weekend, you can only imagine how packed the trails were. We initially planned to hike at the Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, but apparently you now have to book a reservation online. We didn’t realize this until after rolling up into the parking lot and getting turned away. I checked my phone to see if we could register, but all the time slots for Rattlesnake Point and all the other conservation areas in Halton were full for the day. Cool.

Instead we pulled out our trusty old map book of the Bruce Trail and parked at the southern edge of the Crawford Forestry Tract, which is a secondary part of the Crawford Lake Conservation Area just south of the main park. Except parking here is free and there were still a few spots left in the small parking lot. Score!

We covered ourselves in a thick layer of sunscreen and started our hike along the Bruce Trail through the forest. The first stretch of the path was a bit rocky and involved scrambling up some large boulders. The path eventually flattens out, which was fortunate for K who forgot to bring his hiking shoes. After crossing the bridge, the path becomes a bit rocky again before crossing the road.

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The Crawford Lake Conservation Area is located on the other side of the road from the Crawford Forestry Tract. Here the path widens out and was relatively flat, making it much easier to keep the recommended distance away from other people.

We followed the white blazes along the main trail and turned off at the sign for the Crawford Lake Side Trail. The side trail is marked with blue blazes along the trees and follows a wide path through the forest that leads to Crawford Lake.

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There are a number of trails that originate at Crawford Lake.

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We first hiked on the boardwalk along the Crawford Lake Trail (1.4km), which was marked by blue markers. It was interesting to see how the park was responding to COVID-19. This particular trail was converted into a one-way hike and signs were posted along the way reminding people to keep their distance and to only pass in certain spots where the path widens.

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Crawford Lake is a rare example of a meromictic lake where the layers of water do not intermix. The hike along the lake was quite leisurely as we were forced to go at a much slower pace due to the high volume of visitors on the boardwalk and our inability to pass any of them.

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Once we looped back to the beginning we hiked the remainder of the Woodland Trail (1.5km), marked by red markers.

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This led us back to the Bruce Trail. We followed this south to the road. Once we crossed back into the Crawford Forestry Tract, it was only a couple of kilometres back to the car.

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While this wasn’t the hike we had initially planned for the day, hiking through the Crawford Lake Conservation Area was still pleasant. And we were able to find parking.  We’re really hoping that this isn’t the new normal when it comes to hiking.

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My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

10 thoughts on “Hike #17: Crawford Lake Conservation Area

  1. leightontravels says:

    It is very interesting to read about the changes implemented in response to Covid-19. Looks like a very idyllic place to hike, though that boardwalk sure is narrow. We spent yesterday walking through the Cambodian jungle in search of some more remote temples. The sites were nearly deserted, us often being the only people there. I’m glad that parks are re-opening and can you can enjoy that beautiful nature.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It certainly is interesting to see how certain places, including parks, are responding to the pandemic. This is the first park we’ve seen to post signs on the trails reminding people to stay apart. We also found it interesting that they converted the trail around the lake into a one-way trail. But then again, that boardwalk was pretty narrow, so I guess it makes sense. Exploring the Cambodian jungle sounds quite fun and adventurous, even more so with no people around. I’m also very happy to see that places are re-opening that provide the opportunity to enjoy nature 🙂

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  2. Lookoom says:

    It’s amazing how you always manage to show the paths clear and without people. It’s a bit the drawback of being near a big city, there are often a lot of people doing the same thing at the same time. Thank you for the post.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We live in Toronto, so we’re no stranger to the hoards of people that flock to the outdoors during the summer. This is precisely why we try to leave the city to go hiking most weekends as the trails here are just packed. I typically don’t like hiking in crowded places, so we usually try to get out early in the morning,, hence why most of my pictures don’t have other people in them. I’ve also purposely waited for people to pass before taking my picture. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ourcrossings says:

    Wow, yet another beautiful trail! I’m glad you had a chance to go for a walk. With warmer weather in Ireland, pretty much everyone in Sligo decided that it’s a good idea to go to the beach. As it was a long weekend, local GARDA had no option as to seal of the road leading to it and send people back home. 🙈🙈🙈 Thanks for sharing, as always, seeing your part of the world always makes my day 😊 Aiva

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’ve had a lot of extra time on my hands these days to find and explore beautiful hiking trails in Ontario. The warm weather tends to draw everyone outdoors, whether it’s to the parks or beaches, especially on the long weekend. Hope you’re able to spend some time outside these days. Seeing your part of the world really makes me want to travel to Ireland. Take care.

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