Fall into the Kawarthas with Kawartha Land Trust’s Public Access Hiking Trails
Fall is a special time in the Kawarthas and a wonderful season to get outdoors to enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves.
If you’re looking to visit a new trail to take in the fall splendour, or revisit an old favourite, here is a list of Kawartha Land Trust’s public access trails on our protected properties.
While you’re enjoying all the trails have to offer you can help KLT protect the land you love by recording your species observations through our iNaturalist projects, which contribute to our knowledge of these special places.
Take some time to slow down and reconnect with the beauty of the season and all it has to offer. Happy hiking and we look forward to seeing you on the trails!
Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island
Planning a hike on Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island may take a bit more planning, since you’ll need to travel to the island via canoe or kayak (docks for boats with motors are removed Oct. 9), but it’s well worth the visit to take a stroll on the largest undeveloped island in the Kawarthas, especially to see the fall colours.
Protected in 2015 through a donation by Terry and Mike Wilson, the island is an area of natural and scientific interest. It’s home to wetlands, diverse forests with art-like canopies, and an abundance of wildlife. There is no shortage of things to see while you enjoy the island’s peaceful trails.
Visit the Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island property page to learn more about this property and to download a trail map (PDF).
KLT’s Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island project on iNaturalist.
Christie Bentham Wetland
Juniper Pt. Road, Selwyn, just south of Burleigh Falls
Protected in 2020 through community support, beautiful Christie Bentham Wetland features over 1,200 feet of natural undisturbed waterfront on Clear Lake. The 5 km of three interconnected trails will take you through quiet forest, along a stretch of marshland and through an abundance of juniper. In the fall, the leaves in the forest have been known to turn a vibrant, glowing yellow.
“One of my absolute favourite parts of our protected properties is the auditory experience of quiet spaces. The absence of human noise from cars and crowds is very comforting — particularly at our Christie Bentham Wetlands trails. As you make your way down to the water, you drop behind a wall of limestone cliffs that completely block out any highway sounds leaving you to enjoy a peaceful walk through the Hemlock and Cedar forests with only the rustling of crisp leaves and the life of the wetland sitting so very gently in your ears.” –Hayden Wilson, Land Stewardship Coordinator
Visit the Christie Bentham Wetland property page to learn more about this property and download a trail map (PDF).
KLT’s Christie Bentham Wetland project on iNaturalist.
John Earle Chase Memorial Park
Anchor Bay Road, Trent Lakes (close to Gannon’s Narrows bridge)
With stunning views of the Gannon’s Narrows bridge and Pigeon Lake, John Earle Chase Memorial Park is not to be missed. Owned by Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW), Parks Canada, and managed by Kawartha Land Trust (KLT), this property, which was donated by the Chase family, has been made accessible to the public through a unique partnership between TSW and KLT. The 7.4 km of connected trails wind through forest, alongside a marsh, and across a beautiful meadow.
“I love coming out of the woods at the top of the hill on the blue trail and looking out over the meadows, Gannon’s Narrows Bridge, and Pigeon Lake. I think the grasslands are so important to keep the balance with beautiful forested areas. And the water. I love sitting in the Adirondack chairs on the yellow trail and enjoying the water’s edge of Pigeon Lake.” – Marlys Kerkman, KLT Volunteer
Visit the John Earle Chase Memorial Park property page to learn more about this property and download a trail map (PDF).
KLT’s John Earle Chase Memorial Park project on iNaturalist.
Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve
81 Fire Route 10, North Kawartha Township, Peterborough County (keep to left to find small KLT parking lot)
Donated to Kawartha Land Trust in 2018 by Norman Cowan, visitors can hike to the highest point on the trail and enjoy a scenic view of Stony Lake. Want a closer look? The trail winds down to the shore, which features a dock, bench, and boat house with some chairs if you want to stay for a bit and take in the beautiful fall scenery.
While the damage from the May 2022 derecho is visible along the trails, as is our staff and volunteers’ work to clear the trails, this forest preserve, with its mature White Pines and Red Oaks, remains a beautiful place to visit and we look forward to seeing it regenerate in the coming years with new growth.
Visit the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve property page to learn more about this property and to download a trail map of Stony Lake Trails (PDF), of which the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve trails are part of. Note: The trail connecting the Ingleton-Wells trails to the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve Trails is closed for maintenance, however, each set of trails is accessible via their respective trailheads.
KLT’s Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve project on iNaturalist.
105 Reid’s Road, North Kawartha Township, Peterborough County
This stunning property, which was generously donated to Kawartha Land Trust in 2011 by the Ingleton and Wells families is a must-see on the north shore of Stony Lake. The trails wind through upland forest and open fields that provide diverse habitat for wildlife and its displays of fall leaves are hard to beat.
Visit the Ingleton-Wells property page to learn more about this property and to download a trail map of Stony Lake Trails (PDF), of which the Ingleton-Wells trails are a part of. Note: The trail connecting the Ingleton-Wells trails to the Jeffrey-Cowan Forest Preserve Trails is closed for maintenance, however, each set of trails is accessible via their respective trailheads.
Cation Wildlife Preserve
French Settlement Road, Coboconk, Kawartha Lakes
Donated to Kawartha Land Trust in 2018 by David and Sharon Cation, Cation Wildlife Preserve is a vast and beautiful landscape.
The trail begins with wide open grassy fields dotted with shrubs. It briefly winds past a marsh before transitioning through a mature upland forest followed by a succession forest of Ironwood, Oak and Elm on a limestone shelf.
Bird enthusiasts will be happy to hear that species such as Golden-winged Warblers, Bald Eagles, Upland Sandpipers, Thrashers, and Belted Kingfishers have been spotted in this wilderness preserve. Bring your camera!
“The Cation Wildlife Preserve is a place full of surprises. To me, the forests and fields feel remote and wild, but signs that the property is recovering from human use are all around when you look closely. It’s a great place for more adventurous folks with an eye for unique natural features.” – Thom Unrau, Director of Community Conservation
Donations from supporters like you help Kawartha Land Trust secure new properties and steward the land to ensure its long-term conservation. Donate today to help protect more land in the Kawarthas.
Article published: October 6, 2022. Main photo: Ingleton-Wells trail in fall.