Distance hiked: 10km
Location: Scanlon Creek Conservation Area, Ontario
Date: August 29, 2020
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area is located near Lake Simcoe just north of Newmarket. It offers over 10km of hiking trails that weave through the different habitats in the conservation area, including forests, wetlands, and open meadows.
We didn’t have any plans for the day, so we figured we might as well go for a hike. It was overcast outside and the forecast was calling for rain later in the afternoon. So we decided to go to Scanlon Creek since we’ve never been there before and it’s only about a 45 minute drive from Toronto.
We arrived at Scanlon Creek just before 10:30a.m. We parked at the main parking lot and from here, it’s a short walk to get to the main trailhead, which marks the start (and end) of most of the trails in the conservation area. The main trailhead, or Head of Trails, conveniently contains a map of all the trails.
We first hiked along the Chickadee Loop (2.8km). The trail was well-maintained and signed with black markers with a chickadee symbol. The path winds through a meadow and forest along the western side of the conservation area.
Near the gatehouse, the trail passes through an arboretum, which essentially is a tree park that contains a variety of different and unusual trees. Each tree has a plaque that indicates the type of tree and includes a brief description of it. The trees in the arboretum include both native and non-native species, including Sugar maples, European Larch, Tulip trees and Eastern white pine.
The trail loops back to the trailhead and passes by a few junctions for the other trails. We then hiked along the Sugar Maple Loop (1.5km), which winds through the forest. The path is relatively flat and signed with red markers with a maple symbol.
For the last stretch the trail overlaps with the Evergreen Loop (2.5km). When we looped back to the Head of Trails, we continued along the Evergreen Loop, which is signed with a green marker with a fir symbol.
The trail weaves through the forest and passes near and through the wetlands. There’s a boardwalk section, which is largely overrun with vegetation, but provides a nice view of the wetlands up close and personal.
At the end of the boardwalk, there’s a junction to continue along the Evergreen Loop back to the trailhead, or take a connecting path, the Creekside Trail (400m), which leads to the Kingfisher Loop (3.5km). We opted for the latter to create a longer loop around the northern edge of the conservation area.
The path is marked with blue markers with a kingfisher symbol and follows the shore of the wetlands. There’s a sign along the trail that indicates the importance of this wetland as it helps to ensure clean drinking water, provides flood control, and is a habitat for over 600 species of wildlife.
The trail then winds through the forest, connects with the Chickadee Loop, and leads back to the Head of Trails and parking lot. We finished up just before 12:30p.m. As we were driving out of the conservation area, it started to rain. Good timing.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here