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
52 thoughts on “Morris Tract Provincial Nature Reserve”
This looks like it was worth the effort required to find it. Overgrown but it still has a visible trail, so not all bad. Hiking in the heat is no fun once you are out of the breeze. Glad you had a place to cool off. Thanks for sharing. Allan
The trail itself wasn’t too bad once we found the trailhead. If anything, it was kind of nice having the trail all to ourselves, which is a rarity these days. It’s always a struggle to hike in the heat, but going for a swim afterwards always provides good motivation. Thanks for reading. Linda
This one’s for me. My name is Morris!
Nice!! It’s always neat to hike a trail or visit a place that shares your name!!
I gotta say, the “Ooh Ahh Point” sign makes the journey and the hard to find entrance and starting point so worth it. That’s probably the best sign I’ve ever seen on a hiking trail! 😊
Glad you got to cool off at the beach after that hike. I can feel the heat and humidity from the photos!
Weekend is here!!! Enjoy yours. 👍😊
The “Ooh Ahh Point” sign was very unexpected and was actually the highlight of the trail. I couldn’t help but laugh just thinking about how someone came up with that name. It’s so good. It’s always such a treat to go swimming after a hike, especially when it’s hot and humid outside! Hope you had a good long weekend. Take care.
That ooh ahh sign is great! 😂
What a great name for a scenic lookout. Turns out the sign was more scenic than the actual lookout though! Either way, I got a good laugh out of it.
A bit strangely organised (and why would the distances be scraped off the sign?) but looks very lush. I find hiking in high humidity quite difficult, so I might have bagged it. Good that you were able to cool off.
For sure. When we first started hiking along this trail we thought this park might have been decommissioned given the lack of signage and parking. It’s kind of strange how we came across a map of the trail system after hiking a few kilometres along the path. Initially we planned to hiking the entire trail, but there were no complaints to cut this hike short to spend more time at the beach at another nearby park.
I like the name Ooh Ahh Point and I’m certain you found swimming in the lake refreshing in all that heat.
The Ooh Ahh Point is such a great name and so much fun to say. That sign was definitely the highlight of the trail. The lookout itself was a bit underwhelming. Going for a swim afterwards provided a good incentive to finish up our hike and was a great way to cool down afterwards.
It looks like the blazes were definitely needed on this trail. Improved trails are great but trails like this one seem more authentic.
The blazes were definitely needed to help navigate certain sections of the trail. It’s too bad that this park didn’t have better signage and parking as it’s quite a nice area. We initially planned to hike the entire trail system, but abandoned our efforts mid-way through due to the heat.
Haha, Ooh Aah point! We missed this tract on our travels in the area, but maybe next time. Inverhuron was a nice park to stay in!
The scenic lookout itself is nothing special, but the name of the sign more than made up for it. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful Inverhuron is. We only visited for the afternoon, but I would love to return next summer for longer. That way I can explore more of the nearby towns and cities and retrace some of your adventures in the area.
Glad the bugs were sluggish this time and you were able to enjoy this lovely trail!
No kidding! This nature reserve seemed like a mosquito’s paradise as the forest is dense and it’s near the river. But I guess even they get tired from the heat and humidity!
I think they do too
Oh goodie! I guess that’s one advantage to hiking in the heat and humidity. Perhaps their strategy is to wait for someone to take a break along the trail from the heat and then that’s when they pounce.
That would make sense!
Morris Tract Provincial Nature Reserve looks like a very lush and fertile area to explore on foot no matter how long is the route – getting just the right amount of physical activity will do you so much good. Can I ask you what’s the longest trail you guys have ever taken on? Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to read more about your hiking adventures 🙂 Aiva xx
For sure. The one benefit to the heat is that it seemed to affect the mosquitoes too. Even though we didn’t complete the entire trail system, it’s always great to get out and spend time in nature. The most I’ve ever hiked in a day is 38.5km, which was along the Bruce Trail here in Ontario. That was a long day of hiking and not sure I could do it again anytime soon! Thanks for reading. Linda
I just put the All Trail app on my phone and tried it out on a lesser travelled the other day. It helps a lot with finding and staying on a trail. I just looked up your trail and there is a good map to follow as well as posted pictures of the same spots you were at. I think that it might be worth your while to try this app.
Thanks for the tip about downloading the All Trail app. I’ve heard of it, but haven’t tried it out yet. I’m terrible with directions and navigation, so I’ll be sure to give this a whirl!
Like most of the people commenting here, I just love the Ooh Aah point!! I’m sure it was an “ooh aah” moment when you went for your swim afterwards 😄.
Haha, that it was. There’s nothing like going for a swim after a day of hiking, especially when it’s hot outside. The Ooh Aah point was a bit underwhelming, but the sign itself more than made up for it!
Great day for a hike in the woods
It was hot, humid and overcast outside. While we initially planned to hike the entire trail, we didn’t mind turning around early to go for a swim afterwards. Either way, it’s always great to spend time in nature. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
This one looks a bit rugged for me. Thank you for posting the photos!
The trail itself was a bit confusing to navigate, but we were surprised that it wasn’t overgrown with vegetation considering the lack of parking and that the entrance to the trail was challenging to find. Either way, we weren’t too disappointed to turn around mid-way through and head over to a nearby park to go for a swim!
That’s good! I am glad you had a good day overall!
Thanks! It was a great start to our road trip.
There is a hint of adventure with all these uncertainties, where are you going to end up following paths that are no longer paths?
Hahaha exactly! It was a bit of a choose your own adventure! Either way, I’m glad we didn’t get lost in the forest.
A swim after a hike on a hot day sounds perfect – love the sign names too!
Knowing that we were going for a swim afterwards was pretty much the only thing keeping us going. In fact, we cut our hike short so we could go swimming even sooner! The Ooh Aah Point was definitely the highlight of this trail.
Such a rich day with colors, experiences with finding the trail and well the swim later. Sometimes it does give a pang to where the trail might end. Hope never to a bear place 🙂
Thank you, Nara x
Nature’s artwork sure is amazing. I gotta say, there’s no better way to end a hike on a hot summer’s day than by going for a nice refreshing swim afterwards. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
Absolutely it is. Also a pleasure to read dear friends.
Wow what a fun adventure!!
Finding the trailhead was a bit tricky, but the trail itself was pretty decent. Either way, it’s always nice to get some fresh air and exercise. I just love that earthy smell while hiking through the forest. Take care.
The earthy smell of the Forest is the best!
For sure, it’s one of my favourite scents, especially in the fall.
Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. This was quite the adventurous hike and a little challenging to find, but it’s always nice to stretch our legs and spend time in nature.
Aaah great i like to travel i’m really limited by these lockdowns,keep posting your adventures alright!
Same. While it’s been fun exploring more of what’s in my own backyard, it would be nice to visit other provinces and countries for a change of scenery. We’ve been thinking about whether to travel somewhere in December.
The entrance to the trail was a bit challenging to find, but glad we didn’t give up. Even though it was hot and humid, it was nice having the trail all to ourselves. Plus, it made going for a swim afterwards all the more worthwhile!
Looks like a wonderful place!
Despite the heat and humidity, it was nice to stretch our legs and explore a new provincial park. Besides, we planned to go swimming afterwards, which provided great motivation to complete our hike. Thanks for reading and commenting.