Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve

Length of stay1 day
May 2021

Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve protects a rare fen, one of the largest wetlands of this type in Southeastern Ontario. It is located just north of Prince Edward County and is a non-operating park so there are limited activities and no facilities. It does however offer a single hiking trail that winds through the unique habitats in the park.

After spending the weekend at the cabin, it was time to return home. Along the drive back to Toronto we made a detour to hike through Menzel Centennial. There is a single access point to the nature reserve along Roblin Road. There is no official parking lot, but we parked along the shoulder of the road as there were a few other cars here and walked towards the entrance gate.

After walking a couple hundred metres along the path we arrived at the official trailhead which contains a map of the trail and more information as to how the nature reserve was created. The nature reserve was named after Mr. Menzel who was instrumental in protecting this area, along with the help from the Nature Conservancy of Canada and other partners. There is a single trail that runs through the park, the Oivi Nature Trail, which was named after Menzel’s wife Oivi.

Across from the trailhead there’s a commemorative plaque for Oivi indicating that her love for nature will endure here.

The Oivi Nature Trail (4.8km round trip, rated easy) winds through the different areas in the nature reserve and is signed with seven posts which highlight a unique feature of the landscape, starting first with how the forest returns.

The second section winds through the edge of the wetlands to a wooded wetland. The description of the trail contains a warning that depending on the season, the trail may be flooded and biting insects may be abundant. Thankfully we visited early enough in the spring that we didn’t have to deal with any biting bugs, but unfortunately that meant we had to instead deal with some wet and soggy areas on the trail. Luckily there are quite a few boardwalk sections through the wetlands.

The trail then leads through the central uploads, an open field and an area where the ground contains lots of sand and gravel before crossing another boardwalk through a shrub fen. A fen is a type of peat-accumulating wetland. It is similar to a bog, except they are less acidic and draw on groundwater. They are found mostly in large shallow depressions in the landscape and typically contain marsh grasses, sedges and have brown mosses.

From the end of the boardwalk, it’s a short stretch to reach the end of the trail at Mud Lake. There’s a picnic table here and a small entrance into the shallow lake. We took a break at the picnic table to admire the views before turning around and hiking the way we came.

It was a beautiful day to go for a walk. While the trail contained some soggy and muddy areas, overall it wasn’t too bad. And hey, at least we didn’t have to deal with the biting insects!


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

51 thoughts on “Menzel Centennial Provincial Nature Reserve

  1. Ab says:

    It looked like a nice hike even if it was muddy and soggy at some parts!

    I am always a fan of board walk hikes but I can also imagine it being a feeding frenzy for the bugs!

    Glad you got another park off your checklist! We may go for a daytrip to Prince Edward County during Canada Day weekend so may check this out.

    PS. Darlington is selling stickers and patches again!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I know what you mean. Boardwalks are usually in place to help cross over a wetland or swamy area. These are great for most of the year, except during the late spring and early summer when the bugs are aggressive. Then they turn into my worst nightmare. I am counting down the days to Canada Day. We’re taking that entire week off to go on our first camping trip for the season. Good to know that the park crests are up for grabs again!!

  2. kagould17 says:

    A pretty walk on a pretty day. Thank goodness for the NCC, protecting areas like these. I hear you on the bogs not bugs time of year. That is very similar to our Bunchberry, but now we have bogs and bugs. Thanks for sharing and have a great week. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’ve visited a few parks recently that were created in large part because of the NCC. I recently signed up for their volunteer program, but it looks like that’s been put on pause during the pandemic. Bogs and bugs seem like a deadly combination. Sounds like you’re really testing the effectiveness of your bug jackets!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It helps that we had such lovely weather and visited early enough in the spring before the bugs became out of control. It was nice how there was a picnic table at the end of the trail overlooking the lake as that was the perfect spot to take a break and just enjoy our surroundings. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. Sometimes I am quick to forget just how annoying the bugs can be, especially when they circle around your head. We’ll get a taste of that soon enough as we’re planning on going camping over the Canada Day week. Enjoy your time at Point Farms, hopefully the bugs won’t be too bad!!

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    That is a beautiful walk – your photos are lovely. And yay! No biting insects.

    I have found another insect repellant that you might be interested in – Konk. This may work at your cabin as it’s designed to be used inside. We are now in the middle of the worst batch of mosquitoes that I think I have ever experienced. They are getting in the house (not sure how, because we have sealed everything we can think of) in large numbers (M and I are covered in bites from the last two nights – I swatted 56 this morning between 3:00 a.m. and leaving for work at 7:30. Yikes.). M is replenishing our supply this afternoon so that we don’t have another awful night (Febreze stopped working on them; I think this batch is just tougher). At one point I thought of sleeping in the truck. 😉 Konk is available at Home Hardware or Canadian Tire. Cheers.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I have never heard of Konk, but after looking it up, it sounds amaaaazing. I like that it works on a few things like mosquitoes, ants and spiders. I’ll never have to squish bugs with a kleenex again! I am definitely going buy it. Thanks for the pro tip. Ugh, sorry to hear that you’re in the middle of a mosquito apocalypse and that they seem to be adapting and are getting stronger. Hopefully Konk will put a stop to it!

  4. Lookoom says:

    It’s good to know that this fen portion is being protected by a provincial park. It’s also a good job to explain the importance of the protection, especially for biodiversity.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Definitely. I quite enjoy hiking through wetlands, except later in the spring and early summer when the bugs lay claim to this area. There’s always so many interesting plants and it’s great for bird watching. It’s incredible how wetlands are highly productive and biologically diverse.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s just something so soothing about being surrounded by wilderness. I’d love to visit Finland someday. Enjoy the rest of your week. Summer has definitely arrived here in Toronto! I would love to go for a swim in one of those clear lakes right about now.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      YES! I find it extremely annoying to share the trail with bikers. The worst is when you come across a biker on a trail where cycling isn’t permitted. It can be quite dangerous when the path is narrow and there are sharp turns and twists.

  5. ourcrossings says:

    Not too long now before the flowers are blooming and everything is even greener. It is always amazing to see seasons come and go and still be able to enjoy the trails. Mosquitoes in Ireland are particularly bad in areas of standing water, so keeping to coastal areas, like Sligo, reduces our chances of being bitten. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s definitely neat to hike throughout the year and see how the landscape changes with the seasons. It’s incredible how quickly things can change. It seems like overnight that the ground went from brown and barren to a green and lush. We usually try to avoid trails in and around wetlands later in the spring and during the summer as the mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies and horse flies are terrible. Enjoy the rest of your week. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for coming along on the virtual tour! Even though the ground was a bit wet (which isn’t that surprising considering it’s a wetland), I’m glad the bugs weren’t out in full force yet. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  6. wetanddustyroads says:

    A great hike indeed! I love boardwalks … got to know them very well on our Portuguese Camino 😉. To find such a beautiful view over the lake at the end of a trail, must be a bonus! And absolutely agree with you, rather a muddy walk before itching from insect bites!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m also such a fan of trails with a boardwalk. The ground is usually even and I can focus more on enjoying the scenery rather than dodging over rocks, roots and other obstacles. The lake at the end was a real treat, especially since there was a picnic table there for us to take a break and enjoy the views. I bet the hiking in Portugal is fantastic. I’d love to visit someday.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s a lovely trail that winds through a wetland and open fields. The ground was a bit sodden when we visited, but at least the mosquitoes and flies weren’t out yet. We’re taking all of next week off to go camping, so I’m just in the middle of packing. I’m looking forward to getting away. Hope all is well with you. Enjoy your weekend.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      You bet. The fen was easily the highlight of this trail. It’s incredible how they support a high diversity of plant and animal life. I’m glad we visited early enough in the spring though before it turned into a bug festival.

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