Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: 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”
It is wonderful watching the seasons in your posts! I love the emergence of green and the richness of the blues! 🙂
Thanks! Isn’t it amazing how the landscape can look so different and change so quickly depending on the season? There’s always something new to see on the trail with each visit.
Yes, totally agree!! 🙂
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!
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!!
Glad you to get to camping. It should be a wonderful week. Enjoy and look forward to the update!
Thanks! It’ll be nice to finally take some time off of work and go for a vacation. Enjoy the rest of your week as well.
Which park are you camping at?
We’ll be camping at a few places including Pinery, Sauble Falls, Windy Lake, Driftwood, Fitzroy, and Charleston Lake. I can’t wait!!
Sounds like a wonderful itinerary. And lots of park crests!!!
You bet! I have two different types of insect repellent packed. Now all we need is for the weather to stay nice!
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
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!
A beautiful and peaceful place!
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.
Glad you were able to avoid the bugs and this looks like a nice hike overall! We are heading to Point Farms Provincial Park tomorrow for one night so I better go and check your post about it 🙂
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!!
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. https://www.homehardware.ca/en/brands/konk Cheers.
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!
We had a very peaceful night! Lots of sleeping, no scratching or swatting. 🙂
Glad to hear!! That’s a good sign that it works!!
Serenely perfect. It’s my long week to work and this post is an inspiration of what awaits on my short day off…Hiking nature adventure. Thanks 🙏
It’s always nice to have something to look forward to, especially when it’s a hiking adventure! Best of luck getting through the rest of the week. Take care.
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.
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.
This reminds me so much f Finland either the wooden boardwalks and crystal clear lakes. So pleased that summer has arrived with you.
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.
Lovely – hopefully we’ll get to visit Canada again before too long as well!
That would be nice. Travel is supposed to open back up in Canada. Starting in July, fully vaccinated Canadians can skip the mandatory hotel quarantine. We’re hoping we can book something for later in the year.
If I read the sign correctly, bikes are prohibited. That’s good for hikers especially on the narrow boardwalks.
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.
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
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.
Peat wetlands are so cool! Nice to know there is one to visit in Ontario
For sure. It’s amazing how wetlands are home to a diverse amount of plants and wildlife. You can always add this to your list for when you visit Ontario. Possibly for another eclipse!
Definitely! I have got a real thirst to visit Ontario after reading your posts
Awesome!! And to think, all it took was a pandemic for me to discover how much there is to see and do in Ontario! I tend to take where I live for granted, so it’s been nice to finally explore more of my own backyard.
Well, it’s very cool you did discover it, and it’s very entertaining
Aww thanks 🙂
You’re welcome 😊
Thanks for sharing your hike !!
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.
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!
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.
Yes, we’ve loved our time in Portugal (and Spain – as we’ve done a Camino there as well). I get itchy feet just talking about hiking 😉.
That’s quite impressive!! I would love to travel more around Europe and see what the hiking is like. I’m looking forward to when travel opens back up again!!
Seems like a great trail, my feet have been itching to hike since quite sometime. Hope you two are doing well, have a good day!
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.
Have a good trip, cheers!
What a wonderful reward at the end of the fen. There is a fen in Yosemite, but it’s tiny in comparison.
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.