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
28 thoughts on “Hike #41: Scanlon Creek Conservation Area”
It’s interesting to see so many natural environments combined in a single area for walking.
It still amazes me at how diverse the environment is in an area so close to Toronto. It also makes me appreciate that this sensitive environment is protected and that there are trails to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area.
I have stored your 52 hikes page for my dreamed visit of Canada, hopefully possible in 2022 again. Meanwhile, hikes in and around Berlin (indeed more than 40 % of the city area is green) the only real pleasure outside due to another lockdown in the time being.
Thanks for your kind words. We had initially planned to hike a few trails in other parts of Canada and the world, but unfortunately had to change our plans because of the pandemic. Turns out that there are some really great trails right here in my home province of Ontario. It makes a huge difference to have access to green space during the pandemic as that is one of the few things we can (safely) do these days during lockdown. Take care.
So great to have such a variety of trails in one location almost on your doorstep. Stay well and enjoy your weekend. Allan
I tend to take the area that I live for granted. Glad we’re finally able to explore many of these conservation areas and parks close to home. Hope you had a wonderful weekend as well. Take care.
We’ve never been even though it’s really close to us. It looks like a good place to hike. Thanks for sharing and we’ll definitely check it out!
For sure, there are a variety of hiking trails that are all connected, so you can scale up or down depending on how long you want to hike. The arboretum alone is certainly worth checking out.
I love that photo of the chickadee trail… such a long straight line perfectly bordered by trees!
Thanks, I’ve always wondered whether this happens naturally or if someone planted those trees in a straight line along the path. Either way, it’s very scenic.
I love the bird names for those features! Makes me keep an eye out whenever I see features named after animals
Same, the trail markers were super adorable with the bird symbols that matched the name of the trail. I have a terrible sense of direction and appreciate a trail that is well signed.
I would love to explore there!! Great photos!!
One of the real highlights of this conservation area is the arboretum, which contains a variety of different types of trees with signs to identify their type. It certainly is a great area for exploration and spending the day. Thanks for reading.
Love all your photos that direct my eyes down pathways and through rows of trees. A good side benefit to reading about your walks!
Thanks for your kind words. I love taking pictures of the trail and trail markers. There’s just something about a neat row of trees along the edge of the path that I find so visually pleasing.
Well this looks very interesting! And I like that it’s so close to home. I imagine this looks very nice covered in snow too! 🙂 May just check this out over the winter time. Itching for a nice hike!
Scanlon Creek would be lovely in the winter covered in snow. Some of the paths are quite wide and the trails are well signed, so it would be relatively easy to hike along. I’ve been putting together a list of places to go snowshoeing for when we finally get some decent snow. Hope you had a good weekend. Take care.
Please do share that list! 🙂 Were eyeing Mono Cliffs for a day trip if there are lots of snow.
Mono Cliffs is great for snowshoeing, we did that earlier in the year. The trails are all well marked and many overlap, so there are lots of different options in terms of routes. We’re hoping to go snowshoeing in Bronte Creek, Awenda, Silent Lake and Wasaga Beach this winter, assuming there’s snow. Arrowhead is also really fun to visit in the winter and they offer a variety of different activities, including an ice skating trail.
Im familiar with Arrowhead’s nature skate trail. It looks so awesome!
We visited Arrowhead last winter and had a wonderful time. They used to host these Fire & Ice nights where you could skate along the trail and the path would be lined with tiki torches. I think they’ve suspended it because of the pandemic though.
Fire kills coronavirus though!
That straight trail! Wow – so beautiful. I would love to see that.
I love it when the trail is nice and straight and lined with an even row of trees. I find it so captivating. I sometimes wonder whether this happens naturally or if someone planted all these trees like this on purpose.
It certainly looks like that could be the case.
Thanks, it was a nice way to spend the morning and get some exercise. I’m always a huge fan of trails that wind through the wetlands, especially when there are no pesky flies or mosquitoes. Take care.