Hike #45: Vanderwater Conservation Area

Distance hiked: 4.3km
Location: Vanderwater Conservation Area, Ontario
Date: October 11, 2020

Vanderwater Conservation Area is located along the shores of the Moira River just south of Tweed and offers 15km of trails that weave through the forest. It is also a popular destination in the winter for cross-country skiing. This conservation area was named after Colonel Roscoe Vanderwater, who was an enthusiastic conservationist and one of the first farmers in Ontario to start reforestation of their land.

Like most holidays this year, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving a little differently. Instead of having a huge family gathering, we headed up to the cabin for a change of scenery and for some rest and relaxation. On the drive back to Toronto we stopped at the Vanderwater Conservation Area to go for a hike since the weather was just lovely.

We pulled into the parking lot just before 10:30a.m and were surprised to see that the parking lot was already half full. There was a sign here to indicate that you had to pay for parking, but could only do so through some app. Since we didn’t have the best reception and weren’t able to successfully download the app, we just started hiking and hoped no one would come around to check.

There are three trails that weave through the conservation area: the Blue Trail (1.3km), Green Trail (4.3km) and Red Trail (6.0km).

We initially planned to hike along the Red Trail, which encompasses most of the other two trails. From the parking lot we turned right and strolled through a forest of neatly lined pine trees.

The trail then leads to a clearing in the forest with a pond and branches off. It was a bit unclear which path was which, but we decided to keep right. The path leads back to the forest and up a series of small ridges.

The path is not well marked or signed and branches off a few other times. We somehow missed the turnoff where the Red and Green Trail split apart, and continued hiking along the Green Trail. By the time we figured out that we were now on the Green Trail, we couldn’t be bothered to turn around.

On the second part of the loop, the trail passes by a few interesting structures, including a wooden shelter and chapel.

From the chapel it’s a short walk back to the parking lot. We wrapped up our hike just before 12p.m. From there it’s about a two hour drive back to Toronto. Overall Vanderwater was a nice conservation area, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing colour, however, it could benefit from more trail markers and signs.


My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

26 thoughts on “Hike #45: Vanderwater Conservation Area

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. I’m glad I’ve made more of an effort to explore some of the parks and conservation areas around where I live. I’ve always taken these things for granted, but not this year! My favourite time to hike is in the fall. The leaves are changing colour, everything just smells amazing, and there are no bugs! Thanks for reading.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The sun was shining and it was quite pleasant outside temperature-wise, so it was the perfect day to go for a hike. Now that it’s winter, I’m glad I took advantage of the nice weather that we had tried to do as much hiking as we could. The only downside to this trail was that it was a bit challenging to navigate as there weren’t many signs or markers.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Glad we had such fabulous weather and we were able to get out and enjoy the fall colours before all the leaves fell from the trees. The trail itself was a bit confusing to follow as it wasn’t well signed, but the beautiful fall foliage made it all worthwhile.

  1. Ab says:

    A very scenic and rustic hike. That chapel would’ve scared me cuz I’ve watched too many horror films! Those bright Orange paths are so lovely! 💕

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, it’s become a real struggle to motivate myself to leave my apartment these days. Glad I took advantage of the beautiful weather that we had this fall and tried to spend as much time outdoors as I could. At least the winter solstice is now behind us!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I certainly appreciate the nice weather we had now that it’s winter! And yes, we were so lucky that we had such a beautiful fall. On one hand I’m glad we finished up our 52 Hike Challenge at the end of November before it got really cold and gloomy outside, but on the other hand, it feels a bit weird to not have something to work towards. A new year will come a new challenge though!

      • Christie says:

        Me too, I really appreciate the great weather we’ve had so far! I can’t wait to hear about your new challenges for the next year, I admire you for all your 52+ hikes😊

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks. Turns out 2020 was the perfect year to sign up for the 52 Hiking Challenge as there hasn’t been a whole lot else to do during the pandemic besides hiking. The real challenge now becomes writing about all our hikes! It’s been nice exploring more of Ontario this past year though.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was such a beautiful day for hiking. The sun was shining, there were no clouds in the sky, the leaves were at their peak in terms of colour, and it was quite warm outside. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. ourcrossings says:

    So many beautiful photos. Bright blue and sunny skies; crisp, frosty ground; trees painted in bright reds, oranges and yellows; and hills clad in velvety pink and purple heather; I love going for a walk on a sunny autumn day. Thanks for sharing and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, that is why the Fall is my favourite season to go for a hike. We were so lucky and had beautiful weather this Fall with little rain over the weekends. The fall colours were also stunning this year.

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