Distance hiked: 10km
Location: Ferris Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: October 10, 2020
Ferris Provincial Park is located next to the Trent River in Campbellford and is reputed to be particularly scenic in the fall when the leaves are changing colour. Ferris offers just over 10km of trails through the forest, open meadows, and along the river, which provide nice vistas of the Trent River Valley.
Since cases have been on the rise here in Ontario over the past few weeks, my family decided to not get together for Thanksgiving. The weather was looking promising for the weekend and was supposed to go up to a high of 23°C today, so we decided to head up to the cabin. We drove up Saturday morning and stopped at Ferris Provincial Park along the way to do some hiking and enjoy the fall foliage.
We arrived at Ferris shortly before 9a.m and picked up a park permit for the day. We then drove down to the parking area, which marks the start for three of the trails in the park. We first hiked along the River Gorge Trail (3.5km, rated easy), which features the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge over the Trent River gorge.
The trail is marked with yellow markers on trees and forms a loop through the forest. We hiked counter-clockwise along the loop. Shortly after starting, the trail leads to the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge, which provides lovely views over the river. We walked along the bridge, then turned around and continued along the trail.
There’s a sign near the suspension bridge, which provides more information about the history of the park and how it was formed. After the death of John Berry Ferris in 1920, the Ferris family inherited the land. It was used only for recreational purposes and by people from the community. In 1960, after the death of James Marshall Ferris II, the land became the property of his sister and daughter who helped create Ferris Provincial Park to ensure that the property remains in its natural state and be available to the public.
The park was operated by the province until 1994 until a decision was made to close Ferris along with seven other parks. A group of concerned citizens from the town formed a group called “The Friends of Ferris” who were willing to operate the park, however a partnership agreement was reached between the Municipality of Campbellford/Seymour and the government and the park was reopened on June 25, 1994. In 2001, the new Municipality of Trent Hills took over the operation of the park under an agreement with the province and the “Friends of Ferris” continued to support the operation and development of the park. There are a couple of “Friends of Ferris” benches along the trail.
The trail continues south, following the edge of the Trent River. It then leads to the boat launch, which marks the mid-way point. We followed along the road for a couple hundred metres before heading back through the forest. The trail then loops back to the parking lot.
We then hiked along the Ranney Falls Trail (1km, rated easy). The trail follows the original roadway to Ferris Provincial Park before looping back along the river. There’s a scenic lookout here that provides a nice view of the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge and Ranney Falls.
Once we looped back to the parking lot, we hiked along the remaining trail (or rather trails in the park). The Drumlin Trail System consists of three interconnecting looped trails: Blue (1.2km), White (2.5km) and Red (2.5km).
Drumlins are small teardrop-shaped hills that were formed by glaciers that covered this area thousands of years ago. They tend to have a lasting impact on the flora and fauna of the area and also influenced the way the land was used and how infrastructure was developed. Drumlins also tend to occur in swarms. One of the biggest swarms of drumlins occurred here in Northumberland and Peterborough Counties.
Ferris features three drumlins, with two along the Drumlin Trail System. The Valleyview Campground is located on the third drumlin. Both the trail and campground road are elongate circles with the long axis running northeast to southwest, which follow the contours of the drumlins and show that the glaciers were moving slightly west due south when they were formed.
We first hiked clockwise along the Blue Trail, which leads through the forest along a wide path. The trail is well marked with blue markers on the trees. There is also a map of the trail at each junction to help with navigation.
We turned left at the junction and followed along the White Trail for a couple hundred metres until we reached the Red Trail. The Red Trail loops around the back of the second drumlin. It leads from the forest into an open meadow and briefly follows along the Trans Canada Trail before heading back into the forest.
The trail also passes by a stone wall before looping back with the White Trail. We followed this until we reached the junction for the Blue Trail, which leads back to the trailhead and parking lot.
We finished up all the trails just after 11a.m. From Ferris it’s another 1.5 hour drive to the cabin.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here