OK so, this “loop” is more of a rectangle, but it’s still a nice walk near to Home (if Home is Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada). This is the first in a series of true “No Exit” trails Ranger and I utilize regularly to forage &/or just take a pleasant walk.
My philosophy is to start with the hardest part of a trail and end it on the pleasant or easy. So, I would recommend you start in the North/West corner at Donaldson and Bowman, and head South. Bowman has no name sign at this North end, it’s just a trail wandering into the bush at the edge of a field about 0.85 km from Canning Rd. or 1.3 Km from Burnham St. N. The view from the trail start, looking back at my truck, is like this:
You can see a “Dangerous Unmaintained Road” sign directly behind my truck in the picture. Use it as a marker to find the NW corner of the loop, and as a spot to park. The green color on the map indicates walking trail, and the blue is paved or at least driveable road. Heading South on Bowman (unmarked at this end remember), you’ll climb a fairly steady but manageable hill to a level plane with cultivated fields to the West before plunging into bush again.
In time, you’ll come to a downhill grade which will open up into a Hydro corridor with some major towers directly in front of you. The trail wanders under them, and a small pond at their base, then continues back up the next hill.
No, the towers don’t add much to the “natural” charm. But they are magnificent to see. Right as you pass under them, the wires take about a 25 ° turn so the towers are exceptionally heavy duty and very impressive to look at, and hear. Turn up your sound and you’ll hear the wires crackling in the video below. Admittedly, a little bit creepy and unsettling, but that’s Southern Ontario for ya.
You get a nice view of the bushland you just walked through, once you climb up out of the valley the towers are in.
Turn back around to the South, and you’ll be on a roughly gravelled road headed for fully paved McBride Rd.
You’ll see a novelty street sign for the fitness business going to the right. Continue walking straight to the South. Turn left on McBride and walk along a lovely, rarely used by vehicles, piece of backroad until you come to Jack Gordon Rd. on your left. Follow it North along a gravelled road which will head off into the bush just past the farmhouse on the left. By the way, if you are joined by this adorable pooch from a house on McBride, worry not, she knows the Jack Gordon trail quite well, and will get herself back Home without your help. She loves walkers and will happily join you.
Now, the Jack Gordon part of this loop is the jewel you’ll be looking for. It’s fairly level, wide, sunny, bright, lousy with berries, wildflowers, and butterflies. The vistas are beautiful.
Have a pleasant walk North on Jack Gordon until you come upon Donaldson again. Turn left (West) and walk back to your vehicle. You’ll note the pictures for this review are from differing seasons, but that’s OK as I’d like you to see it in all seasons possible.
The final Take
Keep in mind this isn’t a Gov’t sanctioned/controlled park trail, it’s a coupla No Exit roads which happen to be near one another. The power lines are always present, but as I said, this is Southern Ontario, one of the commerce centres of our nation. The walking is rather quiet (the crackling power lines notwithstanding), which is always a bonus. If you just want a pleasant, level stroll, you could simply make a “return” trail out of Jack Gordon, as Bowman Rd is alot hillier. Don’t let the lackluster colour of the Bowman trail pictures dissuade you as they were taken in late Fall. The Jack Gordon pictures are from the dead of Summer as Ranger and I forage it heavily at that time of year. The whole loop is about 5.5 km long, and the drive from either Port Hope or Cobourg is about 20 minutes.
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