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