Looking to get out into nature over the winter break? You don’t have to go far to find beautiful forested hiking trails with sleepy creeks winding through bushes and hills to get your heart rate going. Here for your pleasure and convenience, we present the top five hiking trails in the Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes region!
1. Emily Tract, Omemee
Emily Tract is a personal favourite place for this writer, where I spent my childhood climbing trees over a shallow creek, tramping through mud spots, and scampering up the wooden “steps” (more like a ladder) of a large hill. The trail is a 2.9-kilometre loop and traffic is quiet, which makes this spot a great destination for anyone looking for some tranquil walking time. The tract’s entrance sign also boasts that it’s a great place to ski, mountain bike, or even horseback ride, but the ice is thick on the slopes during winter, so caution is advised. If one wanders off the path a little bit, you can even see trees that are tapped for syrup with blue piping looped around them, making this feel like a magical, very Canadian place to be.
2. Jackson Creek Park Trail
Located just off of Parkhill road, Jackson Park plays host to an attractive trail that curves through the trees, over fallen leaves, and passes by a large pond and covered bridge. The trail connects to the larger and longer Jackson Creek Kiwanis Trail, opened in 1995 as part of the Trans-Canada Trail System. It is a busy place for hikers, cyclists, and dog-walkers alike. There is even a section that goes over wetlands, and a deep creek that is laden with good rocks for hopping across the water, if one is feeling particularly adventurous. The trail has few hills, making this a great place for a leisurely stroll! Although the park is alluring at night, one should never venture out alone after dark in this area, and watch for dangerous debris if going off the path.
3. B.E.L Rotary Bridgenorth Trail
This trail is located on the back country roads of Bridgenorth, all the way down Chemong Road from Peterborough. To find it, just travel down 5th Line or 7th Line and you’ll see a small parking lot leading to the trail. It’s a straight, 2.5-kilometre walk (five kilometres in total) and passes by beautiful farmland properties that one can dream about owning. The trail is mostly flat, with one gradual hill. If you watch the trees as you walk by, you might find some bark graffiti with a sentimental message, “Watch for Love,” which only adds to the trail’s magnificence. This trail is busy in summer, spring and fall, but sees less traffic in winter. If you’re looking for seclusion, this might be a good place to start!
4. Lady Eaton Drumlin Trail
This trail is well-known for Trent University students, and many new students discover it while living on campus in their first year. The trail is located on-campus in Peterborough, and is a short and difficult hike of one kilometre. The trail has a steep and rocky initial climb (with some other secondary entrances that are even harder!) that mellows out into a forested path. In the spring, the forest on the Drumlin is packed with white trillium flowers, Ontario’s official Provincial flower, and in winter, the path is a great place to tug on tree boughs to drop loads of snow on your friends! The path comes to a lookout over a meadow where there is nothing but a few electrical transformers and a bench to sit on.
5. Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Trail
Last but not least is another trail close to Trent University in Peterborough, and is a part of the Wildlife Sanctuary that makes up a large portion of campus. The trial is split into three colours that determine length; Blue is 3.7 kilometres, Yellow is 2.6 kilometres, and Red is 1.9 kilometres, so you can choose how far you’d like to go on any given day. The trails snake around forests, over hills, and past forgotten farmland. In the spring, one should be careful to not step into the sinking mud, as many a shoe has been ripped off with suctioning force. In the winter, the trails are easier to conquer, as the mud has frozen and is covered in a sheet of ice and snow. Easier, in the sense that you won’t lose your shoes, though you may lose your balance when you fall flat on your back! If you’re looking for a quiet time close to campus, this is the place to be.