Canadian Park Hound

Outdoor Trips & Tips With The Novice Bushwacker

Posts Tagged ‘Donnybrook Line

Wawanosh Valley Conservation Area

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I gave myself the moniker “Canadian Parkhound” for a reason: I search for parks. It began while living in Toronto and my desire to find trails that were fun to hike (meaning: beautiful and hopefully a bit challenging) as well as private and secluded. It’s pretty much impossible to find a hiking trail in the big city that could be classified as private or secluded. So, I began to explore the Caledon region and the Bruce Trail when and where possible. Of course, I love the big National and Provincial Parks, but I’ll take a good conservation area any day. Forks of the Credit is a nice hike, but it’s pretty busy. Whenever I’m driving through a new area, I’m always on the lookout for a local trail. No park is too big or too small for me.

This summer, I’m working at the Blyth Festival in Blyth Ontario (come see “Seeds” or “Fury”, folks! You’ll see the Canadian Parkhound in action on stage!). When I’m here, I live in the small town of Auburn, just 10 minutes west of Blyth towards Lake Huron. This area is peppered with Provincial Parks (i.e. – The Pinery, Point Farms) and they’re quite lovely. There are also a few Conservation Areas around here (Falls Reserve) and Wawanosh is just up the Donnybrook Line, about 10 minutes north of my place. There is something about a conservation area that I just love. Usually, they’re quite small and can often be found in unexpected places. As such, these parks are not heavily traveled.

Wawanosh Valley Conservation Area

Wawanosh Valley Conservation Area is a well-kept, forested area situated along the Maitland River. There is a simple trail system consisting of a large loop that has a few secondary trails that will take you through different parts of the forest with a nice section that follows along the river.



Starting off at the Nature Centre, you’ll begin with a nicely groomed trail. Early on and close to the Nature Centre, you can go down to the creek…

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I’ve been here at least a dozen times over the past two years and I have never seen another soul (save, of course, for birds and two deer). Aside from myself, I think that the only other folks who show up here in the summer are the maintenance crew. It’s obviously a great educational center, so I imagine that there is more traffic here during the school year. It’s a perfect place for a quiet hike by yourself.

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Taking the large loop, you can circumnavigate the entire area, or you can cut through the forest at a few different points. The forest is beautiful and will take you through a variety of tree stands. The scenery is quite diverse.

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Ultimately, the trail will bring alongside the Maitland River. A gorgeous and pristine area.

There is a camping area available, but the access to that portion of the park is further north along the Donnybrook Line by a few kilometres. I’ve driven through it and, at the time, there were about 8-10 trailers there that looked like they were seasonal guests. It’s small and cute, but you kind of get the feeling that you’d be moving into a small village that already exists. I’m sure you’d feel welcome there, but you’d definitely be in the company of others if you chose to stay there. If you want to have some privacy, you might be better off at Falls Reserve or Point Farms.

Wawanosh is in the heart of Huron County farmland. I think that it’s really only known by locals, and if you want a place for a nice hike, picnic, and a short visit, make sure to take the time to visit Wawanosh.

Degree of difficulty: Easy. I’ve managed to eke out about 90 minutes of hiking by exploring the various side trails and have done the large loop in about 35 minutes while power-hiking. I usually hike with my large backpack on. I do this to add resistance. It’s my “gym membership” as it were. It adds about 50 pounds and doubles as training for when I actually get out into the backwoods and helps my body to not be shocked when I hike with that amount of weight on my back. If you’re just going out for a leisurely stroll, you could probably spend the better part of two hours on these trails and also speed out of there quickly if you needed to.

Next up: Falls Reserve and Point Farms reviews!


Written by canadianparkhound

July 30, 2015 at 9:48 am