Laurie Lawson Outdoor Educational Center (Cobourg) Trail Review

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Laurie Lawson Outdoor Educational Center Review

UPDATE August 5, 2019 – OK, I give up. There’s just waaaaaay too much standing water in this forest to make it a pleasant walk in mosquito season. DO NOT even try walking here in Summer. Even if you bathe in DEET (which we virtually did), they’ll go for your eyes! I’m not joking here.

UPDATE July 2/17 – Having just returned from this trail, I’ll warn you NOT to go light on the DEET this year !


Right on telephone road between Port Hope and Cobourg is a surprisingly pleasant little walk.  Ranger had spoken of it many times, but like anything else, the attractions closest to Home are the ones you tend to take for granted.   Such is the “Laurie Lawson Outdoor Educational Center”.  It’s really easy to miss (what else is new eh ?) on telephone road parallel to the 401.


Fortunately, there are addresses on Telephone Rd. so just follow to 8000 Telephone Rd. ( you will drive past it the first time, so just learn to live with it).  There’s only enough room for maybe 4 small cars parking, and it is an OEC, so if you visit on a weekday, you’ll likely run into 100 school children like Ranger and I did.  However, last Saturday the wife and I were looking to burn a few hours on a trail or two.  There wasn’t enough daylight left for a long haul to a challenging distant trail, so we took it local.  On our way to the 4th Line I remembered the wife had never seen the Lawson OEC, and it was Saturday, so off we went.  I knew she’d like it as there are MANY bridges and boardwalks (almost an aphrodisiac to her).  A quick count returns about a dozen of them.

There were, of course, obvious signs of it being an OEC.  It’s geared toward teaching children of the natural World, and that’s just fine with me.  The trails are laid out in such a fashion that one can wander on loop trails for an hour or more without realizing that you’ve covered very little real estate.

It’s late in the season now, but we spotted the leaves of foamflower, partridgeberry, and enough others to cause us to mark the calendar for a Spring re-assessment.  I also spotted a few Ironwood (aka Hop-Hornbeam) trees which is a species I’ve not seen locally before.  The views of Cobourg Creek are picturesque, and the numerous ponds glistening in the late afternoon sun, just added to a lovely afternoon stroll.

We were impressed with the maintenance, as on both visits (weekday with Ranger & weekend with the wife) all the bird-feeders were fully stocked and heavily utilized. Update – March 31 2019 – I forgot to mention that we ran into one of the keepers of this OEC late last Fall. We commented on the unusually high incidence of native wildflowers here. He explained that the property is also used as a place to transplant native species from nearby construction projects.

The Final Take

The walking is easy with good “stairs” provided for any hills encountered (of which there are very few) and more than adequate boardwalks/bridges over wet spots were provided.  Yes, the drone of the 401 is constantly in the background, and at this time of year I detected the scent of manure from a nearby farm.  Regardless, it was still an unexpectedly pleasant stroll in mid-November, and we have already added it to the list of fine local walks for year-round.  Perhaps we’ll see you there.

Happy Hiking,


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