Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: June 2021
Located just east of Goderich, Morris Tract Provincial Nature Reserve contains a few hiking trails that weave through the forest, into steep valleys and along the shore of the Maitland River. Morris Tract is a non-operating park, so besides hiking, there are no other activities or facilities. I’m not entirely convinced that there’s even a real parking lot.
We booked the week off of work and planned a ten day road trip, starting first along the shores of Lake Huron. We had a bit of a delayed start to our trip because of the rain. We initially planned to spend our first two nights at Pinery Provincial Park, but ended up cancelling because of a rainfall warning (the forecast was calling for 60mm of rain between Friday night and Saturday night – hard pass.) Instead we started our trip Sunday morning. And the first stop on our itinerary was Morris Tract Provincial Nature Reserve.
It wasn’t abundantly clear where the entrance into the park was as it’s not signed. We plugged the name into Google Maps, but that took us down a gravel road with a bunch of signs indicating that this was private property. That didn’t seem right. We checked the park page, which indicated that there was a parking lot at 36833 Londesboro Road. That’s a bit misleading because it’s not so much of a parking lot, but rather the shoulder of the road that can accommodate one, maybe two cars, with a lot of overgrown vegetation. From the “parking lot” we found a trail and sign that indicated that this was Morris Tract.
The path was a bit overgrown with grass and plants and didn’t seem well used (maybe because the entrance is difficult to find and doesn’t offer much parking?). The path weaves through the forest. After a few hundred metres it’s a steep descent down a ridge that leads deeper into the forest.
It was hot and humid (27°C, feels like 36°C with the humidity) and even the bugs seemed tired and sluggish.
The trail then reaches a junction. Benmiller to the left and Goderich to the right. The distance to both places has been scratched off (is this even a real park anymore?). We turned right. From here the trail is marked with white blazes on the trees.
Shortly after crossing a small bridge, we came across a small sign with a turnoff for the John Hindmarsh Memorial Bench. There’s another sign for the Ooh Aah Point and a bench at the end of the short side trail that overlooks the dense valley below.
After the short detour, we continued onwards and up, climbing a steep ridge out of the valley. The trees along this stretch were less mature and didn’t provide as much shade coverage. But there was no shortage of greenery.
We came across another junction and sign for the Loop Trail. There is also a map of the entire trail system here. This maybe might have been more helpful at the trailhead.
We were hot and sweaty and the beach was calling our name, so we decided to turn around and walk back the way that we came. Swimming in Lake Huron was good motivation to give us the final push we needed, especially up the steep ridge towards the end.
Not surprising, we encountered no other hikers along the trail, which is a rarity these days, especially on the weekend. Overall it took us just over an hour to hike along part of the trail system. Now it was time to head to Inverhuron Provincial Park to go for a swim.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here