Alexander Stewart Provincial Nature Reserve

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Alexander Stewart Provincial Nature Reserve protects an early successional hardwood forest of maple, American beech, basswood and some less common species such as blue beech and bur oak. It is also located on a plain of clay silt deposits which were left behind when the Champlain Sea retreated from the region. Alexander Stewart is a non-operating park. It features a single hike trail and offers no other facilities or activities.

We spent the morning hiking and swimming in Bonnechere Provincial Park. On the drive to Fitzroy Provincial Park we decided to stop at Alexander Stewart Provincial Nature Reserve to knock another park off our Ontario Parks Challenge. But first we decided to stop for groceries since it was raining. It turns out everyone had the same idea. It was the Friday of the Canada Day long weekend after all. We had no complaints as we had time to kill to wait out the rain. But the weather gods had other ideas …

Entrance into the nature reserve is located along Mill Ridge Road. There’s a sign near the entrance with the name of the park, map of the trails, and a description of how the park was created. The land was donated by Garfield and Ethel Stewart to the province of Ontario in 1966 and is named after their father, Alexander Stewart, who purchased the property in 1860. The park was regulated as a provincial nature reserve in 2003.

The park contains a couple of trails which total less than 2km in length. The first stretch of the trail seemed promising as the path was wide and seemed in good shape. There were even a couple of small boardwalks. There are also a few blue markers, but these were too few and far in between.

It was still lightly raining outside, which only excited the mosquitoes. The further we hiked, the more uncertain we became. The trail starts to narrow and turns into a bit of a muddy mess. It looked like the trail branches off, but at that point we had had enough of exploring (and being bitten by mosquitoes), so we gladly turned around and walked back the way that we came.

Despite my grumblings, I still managed to take a few pictures (while walking as fast as I could).

Onto the next park!


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

54 thoughts on “Alexander Stewart Provincial Nature Reserve

  1. John says:

    Wow, I too would have done a 180 and headed out fast. Mosquitos are such a nuisance and can even be dangerous. It looks like the trail has very little traffic or upkeep. One great thing about Las Vegas is that mosquitos are very rare. Safe travels! 🇨🇦❤️

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It definitely looked like this place doesn’t get too many visitors. That alone is a good reason for the mosquitoes to get excited when fresh blood is on the trails. That’s awesome that mosquitoes aren’t an issue in Las Vegas. Sounds like we should go there (once the borders open back up)! Take care. Linda

      • John says:

        Ahh, great name. My sister’s name is Linda! If you come to Las Vegas, you may want to avoid coming from May through September. That’s the hottest time here. Can you handle hiking in 112F heat with very low humidity around 10-15% I’m from Michigan but have down here nearly ten years and am acclimated but it’s still difficult to do any exercise outside! You would love the beauty of the Mojave Desert!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Good to know as I am not a fan of hiking in the heat (especially desert heat). We visited the Grand Canyon a number of years ago and opted to go in December to avoid the heat for that very reason!

  2. Ab says:

    The mosquitoes do not sound pleasant at all, especially in the rain. But good for you two for making it as far as you can before heading back.

    What was that thing leaning up against the picnic table? Looks like a filing cabinet to me. 😆

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ha, unique is definitely the right way to describe it. I’ve clearly mastered the art of taking pictures while hiking, or rather running in this case. It doesn’t look like this area gets too many visitors so I’m sure the mosquitoes were extra excited to encounter some fresh blood on the trails!

  3. Priti says:

    Wow excellent photos of hardwood forest. I think you have enjoyed a lot inspite of mosquitoes. You both are looking beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing ☺️😊🌷☺️☺️🌹☺️

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. Despite the rain and mosquitoes, it was nice to explore a new park, especially since it was along the way. I don’t think we’ll be returning anytime soon, or at least not in the spring and early summer when the mosquitoes are at their worst!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      No kidding. No wonder the fall is my favourite time of the year to go hiking! At least this was a super short detour and we were able to run back to the car to escape most of the mosquitoes and the rain.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. I am also one of those people that mosquitoes love to swarm. I swear, they are becoming immune to insect repellent. While the weather and bug situation wasn’t ideal, I’m glad we forced ourselves to explore a new park. It’s all part of the adventure.

  4. wetanddustyroads says:

    Absolutely … I’m no fan of mosquitoes (well, who are?) and you would see me running out of that park as fast as possible 😁.
    So, I presume no badge on this park … not even because you survived the mosquitoe attack 😉.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ha, with all the mosquito bites we received, maybe they were enough to make their own badge. Unfortunately park badges are only available at operating provincial parks. Those parks typically have campgrounds, a park store or a visitor’s centre. This nature reserve is a non-operating park and there were no facilities. Either way, we’re still counting this for our Ontario Parks Challenge!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! I swear that the mosquitoes are only becoming more aggressive and staying around for longer each year. Either way, it was still nice to stretch our legs and explore a new park, even if we abandoned our hike mid-way through.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Despite the rain and mosquitoes, we still know how to have fun on the trail! If anything, it all just part of the adventure and gives us something to laugh about afterwards. Take care. Linda

  5. ourcrossings says:

    What a lovely photo of you two, guys! Hiking with a partner can kindle a friendship that will last a lifetime and give you the comfort and safety of not being alone 🙂 Aiva xx

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We certainly are very committed to our Ontario Parks Challenge, or at least I am. K was perfectly happy to skip this one. If anything, the rain and mosquitoes just add to the experience and make for a funny story afterwards. Thanks for reading and commenting. Linda

  6. travelling_han says:

    Oh the mosquitoes are the worst. But the autumn/fall colours creeping in are beautiful. We are currently housing a colony of bees in our garden which isn’t much fun (but they are endangered so we can’t remove them), so I’m being stung all the time and feel your pain of all the bites!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The leaves on the trail from last fall were a good indicator that this nature reserve doesn’t get too many visitors. Good for you for housing a colony of endangered bees. I have no idea what that all entails, but being stung all the time doesn’t sound fun at all! I don’t know which is worse, mosquito bites or bee stings.

  7. Island Traveler says:

    Love this pictures and wonderful hiking adventure. I’m hoping to hike Hamilton Pool Reserve Austin next with when I visit a friend. I’ve only seen it pictures and hopefully the pictures will be as beautiful as the like hiking. Thanks .

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks. The rain and bug situation wasn’t ideal, but I’m glad we made the most of it and were able explore a new park, even if we ditched the trail mid-way through. I just looked up some pictures of Hamilton Pool Reserve on Google and wow this place looks incredible. Looking forward to reading about your visit there. Take care.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        It’s funny how we sometimes take where we live for granted. But yes, it’s never too late. It’s amazing how there’s so many things to see and explore and learn. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day!

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