Hike #20: Terra Cotta Conservation Area

Distance hiked: 8.0km
Location: Terra Cotta Conservation Area, Ontario
Date: June 6, 2020

With nice weather on the forecast, there was only one thing we could think of to spend our weekend: hiking. On Saturday we went to the Terra Cotta Conservation Area, which includes a variety of different trails that weave their way through a diverse ecosystem of wetlands and forests.

We are typically early risers and planned to arrive at the conservation area ahead of the crowds. Our strategy was to first cover off the trails closest to the parking lot and then make our way further to the boundary of the conservation area.

We first hiked along the Wetland Trail (0.6km loop, grey trail), which is a small rinky dink path that loops around a restored wetland ecosystem. Back in 1949, Terra Cotta opened as a privately owned recreation facility that contained a swimming pond and had rentable cabins. In the late 1980s, there was a shift toward greater environmental protection and the campgrounds returned to forest and the pool was transformed into a wetland.

From there we followed the pink markers along the McGregor Spring Pond Trail (1.8km loop, pink trail). The trail loops through a forest providing a few viewpoints of Muskrat Pond and Spring Pond. There were an insane number of these (what I think are) small forest-tent caterpillars hanging from silk strands from the trees, which created a unique obstacle while hiking.

Part of the McGregor Spring Pond Trail overlaps with Terra Cotta Lane (3.2km loop, purple trail). Once we looped back to the start of the path, we followed the purple marks along the southern part of the Terra Cotta Lane, which passes by Wolf Lake.

During our walk along the lake, we passed a few signs that have recently been placed reminding visitors to stay apart and practice physical distancing.

We followed the path north to get to the end of the Vaughan Trail (2.8km one-way, orange trail). From here the path narrows considerably and is more rugged. This trail runs parallel with the Bruce Trail for a kilometre or so before veering back toward the parking lot.

Along the way back, we made a detour to hike along the A.F. Coventry Nature Trail (1.2km, yellow trail). This was probably the most challenging of the trails through the conservation area as the terrain was quite rugged.

We wrapped up our hike just after 11a.m and effectively managed to beat the crowds. Success!


My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

8 thoughts on “Hike #20: Terra Cotta Conservation Area

  1. Lookoom says:

    In a park so close to Toronto it is indeed necessary to arrive early to find tranquility. The weather looks perfect, as it is often the case in the morning before the clouds develop. Lots of blue sky and reflections in the water give nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. We’ve found arriving early has usually worked well for us over the years. Either that or arrive later in the afternoon, but then you run the risk of not finishing your hike before it gets dark. The weather these past few weekends has been lovely. Not nearly as hot or humid as the weekdays. Thanks for reading.

  2. ourcrossings says:

    I’m glad you had a great time hiking and exploring. We are early risers too and we try to hit the trails before the crowds arrive. Thankfully there are many places in Sligo where we rarely see any humans. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your next blog post! Greetings from Ireland, today we had a chance to witness a proper thunderstorm! It was a sight to see and hear. 😊Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It always pays off to arrive at the trailhead early. You have less issues finding a parking spot and don’t have to worry as much about dodging other hikers. Glad that you have discovered plenty of spots in Silgo that you have all to yourself. I imagine it must feel nice to be able to spend time outdoors again rather than being cooped up under lockdown. I happen to love thunderstorms, sounds like it was pretty epic. Take care.

  3. kagould17 says:

    Great that you managed to beat the crowds and it is always so nice to get out into the woods. Here we are doing more biking these days, as the trails seem to be too crowded in our little city. Had a great day watching the birds today. Stay well and thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We used to love living in the city, but ever since the pandemic started, we’ve been looking for ways to escape from it every weekend. Now that the economy is starting to open up here in Ontario, we’re finding that the trails are becoming a bit less crowded these days. Campgrounds at our provincial parks are now mostly open and we planned a camping trip up north for the first week in July. It’ll be interesting to see whether they will be busy as it’s one of the only “travel” options availble. Take care and glad to hear that your bird watching day was eventful. Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big impact on your day.

  4. Oh, the Places We See says:

    Another interesting hike, but I might be able to do without those hanging caterpillars! Love your photos, especially the ones with the lilies (well, I guess they’re lilies) in the water. Thanks for posting!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The abundance of caterpillars certainly made for a unique obstacle on the trails. When we finished our hike, we had to shake our clothes out. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Better caterpillars than other types of buggies though. Thanks for reading.

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