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Trout Ponds to Millbrook (Baxter’s Creek) Trail Review
UPDATE – April 7 2018 – re-construction of the Millbrook dam has blocked access to the North, in town, end of the trail. Until construction is done, you can access the return trail from the “Old Millbrook School” by continuing past the dam site to the main st. of Millbrook (King St. W.). Turn right (East) and turn right on Gravel rd., then right again on Dufferin St. At the far end of the Old Millbrook School parking lot, you’ll see the access to the trail back (the sign says something about Medd’s mountain trail, but it’ll lead you down to the park and trailhead behind the dam).
In my Trout Ponds Trails Review, I mentioned I would review a continuation of those trails heading North (Baxter’s Creek Trail). Well, this is it. I recommend you start from the Trout Ponds as, from that direction, you can make a sorta loop trail out of it (total distance ~ 5 km). By sorta I mean you’ll only walk half of the same trail twice, and there’s a bit of street walking through town to be done. However, by the time you’ve gone that far, you could always go to lunch in town or take it with you to the park for a picnic before heading back.
You can leave your car at the Trout Ponds parking lot. Drive North on County Rd 10 from Port Hope to the Zion Line (aka the 4th Line – hence the 4th Line Theater’s name). Turn Left on Zion Line and drive a short way ‘til you see the sign for the 4thLine theater on the left, then just drive a few meters past it to the sign on the left stating “Millbrook Provincial Fishing and Recreation Area”. In the snowy off-season, the gates might be closed. If they are, and you can’t pull up in front of them, BE VERY CAREFUL about parking on the roadside. There’s a wide paved spot near the bridge just past the entrance (on the North side of the 4th Line) you can use. Otherwise, the pavement on the roadside drops abruptly, and deeply, into the shoulder and you WILL require a tow-truck to get back out (voice of experience speaking here). Snow cover will make the paved road and the shoulder appear to be level … they are NOT.
Walk back out to the road, turn left and look to your right as you walk West. Before the bridge, you’ll see a trail heading North. It’ll merge with Baxter Creek which the bridge goes over. It follows the creek all the way to Millbrook. In the wet seasons it can be a bit sloppy at the start until it merges with the creek. The trail is level and easily traversed as it runs alongside the creek.
This is the point where you can begin the loop by following the trail left, to the Fairgrounds. Otherwise, you can continue to the right and walk to Millbrook Park and return by the same route.
However, there’s a short but fairly steep hill to get up there, but not so steep that you can’t take a breather partway up. Actually, we usually stop to admire the huge trees on this section of the trail anyway. After you emerge from the trail, Main St will be to your left. Take that to, and turn right on, Frederick St. Walk Frederick St and turn left on Anne St. Follow Anne to the dam crossing in the picture below.
Once you’re over the dam, just follow the river’s edge Southward and the trail will be obvious. The trail is a gradual incline for awhile, but it’s nothing serious (lotsa cedar roots, so watch your step). There’s a comfortable bench at the end though, if you want a rest.
If you go left from the bench, you’ll be continuing to climb up Medd’s Mountain which will lead back to the park beside the pond. If you go right, you’ll continue downhill to the loop of the Baxter’s Creek trail returning to the Trout Ponds.
The Final Take
The Baxter’s Creek trail is, with 2 mild exceptions, flat and easy walking. The view of the creek is constantly at your side and is very appealing to the eye. There are ample rest benches, dozens of boardwalks and bridges over a wide variety of vegetative zones, wetlands and outright open water. “Looping” the trail requires some through-town walking. The Millbrook park beside the pond and dam is an excellent picnic spot and is conveniently situated at the half-way mark of the loop.