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”
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! 🇨🇦❤️
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
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!
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!
Ouch. Mosquitoes and rain, not a hiker’s friend. So glad the mosquitoes are done here for this year. Allan
For sure. Next year we’re finally going to get some bug jackets!
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. 😆
I looked at it again. I see that it’s a bear-proof garbage can now. 🤣
As you can tell, we are very dedicated to our Ontario Parks Challenge. Those bear-proof garbage cans are pretty heavy duty. I don’t know why they bothered with one here because clearly this park doesn’t get too many visitors, only mosquitoes.
Maybe it’s to keep the mosquitoes inside that garbage can!
HA! If only they could be contained that easily!
What a great photo of you two! You definitely have to go looking for bug shirts for next year; they will help a lot.
Thanks for your lovely comment. And agreed, we definitely need some bug jackets for next year now that we’re hiking year-round. That and microspikes.
Wow! Mosquitoes are tough bugs ..but looks like you are great hikers..
That they are. I swear every year they get tougher and stay around for a little bit longer. And every year we are quick to forget just how annoying those pesky mosquitoes can be!
You have such unique adventures – your pictures are really pretty and don’t show the mosquitoes!
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!
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 ☺️😊🌷☺️☺️🌹☺️
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!
Ah mosquitoes… the quickest way to ruin a lovely location. Hopefully they’ve disappeared now that it’s fall.
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.
… and the SUMmation of it all: mosquitoes + rain = no hike 😕 great pix nonetheless. And good to see you both 😊 Cheers, Dee
Haha, no kidding. We’re still counting this as exploring a new park for our Ontario Parks Challenge, even if it was a super short visit and we abandoned the hike mid-way through. Hard pass on the rain and the mosquitoes. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Linda
Most def Linda. You went. You saw. Your tried to conquer. It counts!!! 😊😂😊
Right!? That’s exactly what I thought too! 🙂
I seem to attract mosquitoes like a magnet even when wearing DEET! It was a shame about the wet weather but at least you plodded on and the trails were quite short. I liked the photo of you both.
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.
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 😉.
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!
I think you should make your own mosquito badge 😅.
Ha! That reminds me, we visited a park up north last year that had a big road sign at the entrance with a mosquito carrying a person away. Thankfully it’s fall now and the mosquitoes are gone.
Seems like you had an enjoyable day despite the rain!
It’s never fun to hike in the rain (or be harassed by mosquitoes), so I wasn’t too disappointed that we didn’t stay for long at this nature reserve. I’m still counting it for our Ontario Parks Challenge though!!
Yeah, I have certainly run into some things doing my parks challenge too. You will likely see it in my next posts lol
Ooo I can’t wait!
As others have said, great to see a photo of you guys. Ugh, mosquitoes, despise them.
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.
Mosquitos are the worst!!!
But Such a cute little hiking couple!!!
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
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
I love that. I completely agree, it’s always nice to have someone to share your adventures with along with the highs and the lows and everything in between.
I love that you started including photos of yourselves now! They reinforce the fact that despite, rain, mud, and mosquitoes you are just happy to be hiking 🙂
Thanks! It’s all part of the adventure and only adds to the memories. We sure had a good laugh about our “hike” in this nature reserve afterwards.
You don’t give up easily on your challenge this year, I think the mosquitoes and the rain were there to test your will. You passed!
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
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!
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.
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 .
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.
Yes, excited to see it. I should have when I was still living in Texas but never too late to try. Thanks.
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!
I’ve often said, more lately since I’m older, that I don’t need to get to the top or end of a hike. The rain and mosquitos would have turned me around too!
I can be pretty stubborn and persistent with some things, but hiking in bad weather is not one of those things, especially when the trail itself was nothing special.