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The Port Hope Millennium Trail Review
UPDATE September 20, 2017 – Just spoke with the GRCA and they tell me the trail is accessible. However, it is to be used under the understanding that it’s at your own risk.
UPDATE September 4, 2017 – Tried to walk this one today and was met with numerous “trail closed” signs. Their website says it’s due to washouts from “the recent rains”, but I can’t say as I’ve noticed any terribly heavy rains recently. I’ll keep an eye on it, and let you know when it’s open again.
This trail is on the property of the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority. I suppose if you’ve got a Conservation Authority Head Quarters … it really oughta have a trail of some sort attached to it, and that’s what this one is. It’s just off County Rd (formerly Hwy) #28 North from the 401. At the second set of lights past the 401, turn left where Telephone rd. goes to the right. The trail begins at the North-West corner of the West parking lot (you’ll see the sign).
It’s another “in town” trail kinda like The Port Hope Lakeshore trail, and the Ganaraska Trail. Though the Southernmost end (the boardwalk), is bordered by the 401, it’s still an interesting trail to walk. In the Spring (or after a good rain) the North-East part of the trail might be flooded. If so, then just go around the other way.
The trail is a loop (barring the possibly flooded North-East section) with a constant view of the Ganaraska River on it’s West side. The river views on this trail are favourites of many “Float Yer Fanny Down the Ganny” (an annual river race festival) watchers. You’ll note the wetland the trail encircles seems to be in an “unmaintained state”. That’s because it is. This area is being preserved and left to evolve naturally. Only trees which present a hazard to walkers are manipulated. There are also fungi and wild berries in season.
Just before the boardwalk, you’ll encounter this sign :
Please follow it across the little bridge and have a look at the “trail” that promises to lead you to the Ganaraska trail. This is what happens when a town tries to do a Conservation Authority’s job (that’s what that little window symbol on the sign signifies : a town job). Unless you’re like, sixteen years old, you’re gonna be needing a sherpa or two to get up that hill. The wife and I drove out and around to the other side to see if it was a joke or what. Nope, its for real. It appears someone at Town Hall googled a satellite view of the area and drew as straight a line as possible between the nearest town mown grassy space, and the Millennium trail. You’re welcome to try it if you want, but my bones are way too brittle for that kinda challenge.
If you visit in the Spring to early Summer, as Ranger and I have, you’ll find a very well worn fisherman’s trail right along the riverbank that will take you under the 401 bridge to the Ganaraska Trail. However, by late Summer, it’s become so overgrown, you can’t possibly navigate it.
Despite it’s proximity to town and the 401, this trail offers some unique wildlife spotting opportunities. The trout fight their way upstream in the Spring, with Salmon doing the same in the Fall. Flickers, and other Woodpeckers nest in the dead broken trees. The Wetland Lookout is where Ranger and I first heard and saw Wood Frogs. The wife and I watched a huge beaver chewing on a branch in the dead of Winter a few years back.
The Final Take
I’m afraid there’s no escaping the din of the 401 here. Regardless, there’s a surprising complement of wildlife on its two and a half kilometer distance. That includes the side trails. The trail is technically two persons wide, but in the late Summer it gets a bit overgrown. There are rest benches at reasonable locations and lots of interpretive signage. There’s a bit of an incline just East of the boardwalk, otherwise, the trail is fairly level. The huge covered picnic facility is very nice too. Especially with everything from pizzas through burgers and Subs, to half chicken dinners available right across the traffic lights from it.
Have a nice walk,