5 Trails to Explore as Responsible Hikers

Table of Contents

Much of our world has changed dramatically over the past six months, but our vividly green outdoors have not. One activity that remains similar to its pre-pandemic existence, is travelling along our outdoor trails. If anything, thanks to social distancing guidelines, there is simply more room to explore and experience. As we emerge from months of lock down, natural outdoor spaces will play a larger role than ever in boosting both mental and physical health, providing an opportunity to get outside with minimal risk.

While experiencing the trails, you are still required to abide by Public Health’s physical distancing protocols including keeping a 6ft distance from others. When passing people on the trail, respect their space and pace. Take a pause as far off to the side of the trail as is safe, and flash a simple smile as they walk by.

Each user is asked to be a responsible ambassador for the trails and avoid unnecessary exposure by doing the following;

  1. Respect closed facilities and infrastructure.
  2. Keep animals leashed at all times.
  3. Take your garbage with you.
  4. Safely space vehicles while parking.
  5. Do not start fires.
  6. Eliminate contact with signs, fences, and other trail amenities.

As with any trip, it’s best to be prepared! Plan ahead by doing your research, choosing trails close to home, avoiding typically busy times and becoming familiar with trail specific rules upon arrival.

Don’t forget to pack a light bag with a water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, face covering and hand sanitizer. Just like that, you’re good to go my friends!

Here are five trails to have your very own #wildlyauthentic experiences, right here in Hastings County (complete with ‘bathroom break’ suggestions, because you know, human nature).

The forest floor at McGeachie Conservation Area

The ‘Natural Escape’ – McGeachie Conservation Area

Google Map

If you’re looking for that “lose yourself, to find yourself” kind of feeling, McGeachie’s deep layered humus forest floors, granitic outcroppings, towering trees, babbling creeks and scenic vantage points might give you just that. It’s a true natural immersion.

Hot Summer Tip: Take a post hike dip in Steenburg Lake. The public beach is just down the road and on your way back out to the highway from the Conservation Area.

Bathroom Break: There is a portable toilet in the Trail Head parking lot. Bring sanitation and use at your own risk.

Flowing rapids at the Gut Conservation Area

The ‘Picnic and Power’ – The Gut Conservation Area

Google Map

The “Gut” gets its name from the large gorge, over 30 metres high, and the dynamic Crowe River that flows through it. Don’t rush yourself here. Give yourself time to sit down on the rocks and feel the power of the water; it can be invigorating.

Hot Summer Tip: Plan your route to pass through Coe Hill and stop by the Barn Chefs. Owners, Sarah and Luca will hook you up with delicious homemade bread, cheese, meats and preserves making the perfect riverside picnic. A cappuccino from the Tinhouse Espresso Bar wouldn’t hurt either!

Bathroom Break: There is a portable toilet onsite. Bring sanitation and use at your own risk.

The Moira River at Vanderwater Conservation Area in Tweed, Ontario.

The ‘Fam Jam Splish Splash’– Vanderwater Conservation Area

Google Map

Vanderwater CA is best known for its water that cascades over long, flat sections of limestone steps along the Moira River. The cool breeze off the river is the perfect reprieve after a hot summer day on the trails.

Hot Summer Tip: There are a variety of picnic tables placed in picturesque spots throughout the Conservation Area. Pack some snacks and enjoy a scenic rest along your journey.

Bathroom Break: After your hike, take the short 15-minute drive into the town of Tweed to cool the kids down at the Splash Pad, open daily 10am-5pm. Public washrooms are available to Splash Pad users only.  

The Crowe River along the Brian Goodchild Trail in Marmora, ON

The Riverside Date Night – Brian Goodchild Memorial Trail

Google Map

Looking for a leisurely evening stroll? This one’s for you! Starting at Memorial Park, The Brian Goodchild Trail is a lovely paved path that winds along the Crowe River, up passed the Dam and to the public Boat Launch. There are plenty of large trees to settle under for a good view of the sunset or even just a moment or two to reconnect with each other.

Hot Summer Tip: Rumour has it the river is a good fishing spot, so if licensed, bring your rod along too. Sorry in advance to all the partners whose romantic evening just got high jacked by fishing, again.

Bathroom Break: There is a portable toilet located in Memorial Park. Bring sanitation and use at your own risk.

The Walk Through Time – O’Hara Mill Homestead & Conservation Area

Google Map

Where nature meets history. Multiple trails, both short and long, run through the forested woods behind the O’Hara Homestead, meandering through old growth forests, across babbling brooks, and around marshes. It’s safe to say you may discover some wildlife on your trek. Speaking of discovery, I stumbled upon a geocache here nearly a decade ago now, but apparently there are multiple hidden throughout the forest.

Hot Summer Tip: Although the Homestead buildings are closed due to Covid precautions, QR Codes found on the signage outside the heritage buildings will allow you to take a Virtual Tour on your mobile device.

Bathroom Break: An afternoon in Nature can work up an appetite. The Centre Hastings Skate Park is less than 10 minutes down the road and is home to an Ice Cream Shop, as well as the Park Canteen. Washrooms available onsite during park hours 11am-7pm.   



Explore More!


Thanks for signing up to our newsletter. You will start receive exciting updates on what is happening here in Hastings County including, events, resources, stories and more.

Quinn's of Tweed

345 Victoria St. North Tweed, Ontario K0K 3J0

Visitors often ask about the building and it’s name, Quinn’s of Tweed. In fact, tradition dictates that we keep, with honour,  the name Quinn’s of Tweed, the original name of the store and building. The Quinn’s of Tweed building is one of the town’s oldest and most beautiful historic stone structures, dating back to the 1880s. The twelve foot walls allow us to hang paintings in the traditional French salon style. You’ll marvel at the craftmanship of the ash and maple staircase, the old bookeeper’s office, and the stained glass that brings one back to an era when a handshake and promise were as good as gold – today, we still believe in those principles.

gaylord hardwood flooring

228 Victoria St N, Tweed, ON K0K 3J0

Charles Frederick McGowan sold the lot in 1907 to William James Lawrence for $600.00. Shortly thereafter Mr. Lawrence erected the building which still stands there today. He conducted a furniture business until 1912, when he sold the property to the Traders’ Bank of Canada, which within the year, was taken over by the Royal Bank of Canada. It operated out of the building until 1942, when the war forced consolidations and closures due to a lack of tellers (men). The property changed hands a couple more times before local Tweed family, Gaylord Forest Products secured the property in 2003. Since then, they have evolved every inch of the interior into an experience. Each room throughout the building is a real life ‘showroom’ from top to bottom; you simply have to see it to believe it. The stairwell in particular holds a lot of history!

Marmora and Lake Inn

Come as strangers. Leave as friends.

29 Bursthall St, Marmora, ON K0K 2M0

Experience the charm of our 1906 mansion, nestled in the village of Marmora, Ontario, an historic town celebrating 200 years in 2021. The large and stately home was built by Ed Shannon for lumber baron Henry Reginald Pearce (known as “Reginald”) and his family, who purchased the lot for $200. It remained a private family dwelling for many decades and eventually was converted to a Bed and Breakfast by Chris and Lilly Boldly.

It now operates as Marmora And Lake Inn B&B and boasts beautiful, spacious bedrooms with quaint old-world craftsmanship for a luxurious stay. Onsite amenities include an exceptional indoor swimming pool, bubbler tub, infrared sauna, large screen SMART TV’s in each room, wireless internet access throughout, and generous sized gathering rooms. And being a small town, the pool is open to the community and friends for a nominal fee (pre-booking is required).

Our guests enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast including locally baked breads and pastries, yogurt and fresh fruit, an extensive beverage and tea/coffee bar featuring a wide variety of flavours and blends. Great outdoor patio area for fair-weather relaxation and large private events.

Whether planning a romantic weekend for two, a small wedding, a family reunion or a week-long visit to bask in the natural beauty of the region, the Marmora And Lake Inn B&B will help make it a time to remember. (Please note that all bedrooms are on the upper levels and we don’t yet have accessibility assist.)