By Diva Cindy Fisher
Well, okay. . . there have been a few flurries in the forecast for this weekend but don’t let that discourage you from hiking in the fall colours in Huron County – Ontario’s West Coast.
There are still weeks of good fall weather for hiking and if you pick up a County Hiking Guide or view it online. You will see that there are over 25 hiking destinations featured from all over this great County. Put them all on your bucket list!
Let’s start at the lake, with a recent photo of the Menesetung Bridge captured this week by Debbie Carroll. If that doesn’t hustle you out the door, I don’t know what will! I appreciate this bridge over the Maitland River and am so thankful that it was saved from demolition when the CPR line was abandoned – I can’t imagine Goderich without it.
This converted railway bridge in Goderich will link you to several great trails:
– the GART (Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail) – 13 kms and beautiful pastoral scenery;
– the Sifto Loop – 1.6 km – follow the blue blazes off the north end of the Menestung Bridge;
– the Menestung Trail – 1.8 kms – follow the yellow blazes off the north end of the Menestung Bridge, and;
– the Maitland Trail – You can follow the white blazes off the GART near Tiger Dunlop Tomb entrance. The trail is a total of approx. 50 km but you don’t have to do it all in one day J. Some people do, but I prefer a more relaxed approach in my enjoyment of the outdoors; it was pretty fun to do ½ of the trail (25 km) on the Camino weekend event at the end of September – hundreds of people agreed! And here I am with my neighbours, happy and hiking!
Goderich also has the Millennium Trail (about 3 km along the Maitland River in Goderich) and the Maitland Woods behind the Columbus Centre – and also great trails behind the Maitland Cemetery.
So many trails……so many trail snacks!
On the way to Bayfield you can check out Naftel’s Creek Conservation Area, right on Highway #21 between Union Road and Kitchigami Rd – can’t miss it.
In Bayfield, you will find three great trails there – Sawmill, Heritage and Woodland. The Sawmill starts north of the village and river, at the end of Sawmill Rd. Heritage and Woodland start from Clangregor Square.
Near Bayfield you can find the beautiful Varna Trails starting at the Stanley Recreation Complex just west of Varna on County Rd. #3/Mill Road. Who doesn’t love the 2 kms at Bannockburn CA just east of Varna – a real fall jewel.
There are great trails near Exeter (McNaughton / Morris Dam); and I haven’t even mentioned Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area or the Lobb Trail near Clinton. Wingham has a clever trail associated with the former CNR Bridge and Blyth has a nice greenway trail on a former rail bed. Benmiller boasts the Falls Conservation Area.
I love living here…year round…next time I will share some great local spots to cross country ski.
If you like to go on guided hikes, check out what is happening on: www.maitlandtrail.ca or at www.bayfieldtrails.com . Both of these trail associations also have pretty sweet detailed trail guides so that you won’t get lost. If there is signage regarding hunting this season, asking you to not use a particular section of trail, then don’t – here are lots of other hiking spots around. So get off the couch (unless you’re cheering on the Blue Jays), go out the door and walk – you will be glad that you did.
Oct. 18, 2015 – Editor’s Note: Cindy sent in this photo after a fall hike on a snowy day.