Orono Crown Lands Trails Review

***Please click on this link Map Locations of ALL Trails on this Site to view a map with the location of every trail “2oldguyswalking” has written a review on.***

ORONO CROWN LANDS TRAILS REVIEW

Update July 20, 2018 – Prompted by a most gracious comment from Brian (at Orono Crown Lands Trust), we re – visited here again today, and found a generous supply of  new trail map brochures at the Ochonski Rd gate. Using one, we located the trailhead for the Linton Trails. I’ve included these trails at the bottom of the page. 

By the way, the Outdoor Educational Centre is not where it shows on this Google map. It’s just to the left when you walk in from the Taunton Rd parking lot.

I never thought I’d write a positive review on a Crown Land, not South of the 45th parallel anyway. When I hear the words “Crown Lands”, I usually have visions of ATV ruts, smashed beer bottles, spent shotgun shells, and piles of cigarette butts. Well, not so at Orono Crown Lands. The difference is because of the Orono Crown Lands Trust (OCLT), an incorporated, charitable, non-profit, volunteer group who manages the lands in partnership with the MNRF. And manage it they do … very well I might add.

Click on the link below to open Google Maps at the recommended parking lot on Ochonski Rd :

https://maps.app.goo.gl/AdGiNu77qLH8q5iQ7

Try as I did, I couldn’t find a trail map on the I’net (though I’ve heard their website will be up and running soon) so here’s a photo of the map from the trailhead. UPDATE March 31 2019 – Their website is up now. Click on this link to open it https://oronocrownlands.com

There are five trails. We walked the blue trail a year ago, but since we didn’t expect much, we went unprepared, and judged the whole area unfairly. This time we took it like the kind of trail reviewer I like to think I am, and were suitably impressed.

The Green Trail (1.8 Kms)

This is the only non-loop, return trail of the five. It starts from the Ochonski Rd parking lot heading West along the abandoned 1910 Canadian Northern railway berm to the #23 location marker on the map above. At this point you can climb down the very steep “stairs” on your left to the base of the RR bridge over the creek.

You can then follow the trail along the banks of Wilmot Creek. The same Wilmot Creek that empties into Lake Ontario from the Sam Wilmot Nature Area. I should mention, the green trail has some interesting/innovative/scary “bridgeworks” over its distance. We used some, but not without caution. For a few, we took the longer, damper way around. The ground is black, heavy, and damp, but we walked it in mid April in street shoes with no problems.

It’s a single file, well canopied walk through cedar lowlands which terminates at Concession Rd 5. It’s not necessarily a difficult walk, and if you can handle the climb down from the berm to get here in the first place, you’ll be fine.

The Orange Trail (2.3 Kms)

The South-West side (upper side on the map) of the orange trail follows the creek too. It had a number of boardwalks that were a tad slippery in the wrong shoes (which describes the shoes I had on) as it ran along side the creek. A few had some fanciful angles on them too.  Everyone has a favourite trail (mine being the Green), but I think this one is the OCL Trust’s favourite because, as the trail leaves the creekside and wanders into drier forest we encountered a number of beautiful wooden bridges. Some were rustically designed, and craftsman built, and quite a few were constructed by Courtice Secondary School Construction Technology students. I particularly liked the “S” curved one as you don’t see them too often.

The Red Trail (1.5 Kms)

Best accessed from the Taunton Rd. parking area, this trail also meanders along Wilmot Creek for a distance. While the walk was typical of what we’d seen on the other creekside sections, the incline up to the highland, wooded stretch was very wet. I’m guessing it would be drier later in the season.

The Blue and Purple Trails (2.5 Kms & 1.0 Kms)

These trails are entirely through high and dry woodland. Wide enough for four to walk at the shoulder while flat, smooth, and featureless. They’re OK trails, but just a bit dull in comparison to the others. If you’re looking for an easy, pleasant walk, or if you wanna concentrate on your Timmy’s cup and cell phone, these will work for you.

The Orange and Red Linton Loop Trails (about 2 kms each)

Accessed from Concession #5 (Mill Pond or Sommerville Rds from Main St) between Orono’s Main St and Ochonski / Squair Rds., this trailhead has ample free parking for about eight cars.

Both these trails are about the same length, and both traverse similar ecosystems of mostly mixed forest.  The main differences are that the Orange loop is single file walking while the Red loop is wide enough for a small car to fit through. The Orange loop is a fair bit hillier as well. The air was quite still when we walked them so, the sound of Hwy 115 (less than a kilometer from the furthest point on the trails) was audible to differing degrees throughout both trails. We found both trails to be a pleasant stroll with a number of heavy, well constructed rest benches along the way. Otherwise, there are no facilities of any kind.

Linton Red Loop

Linton Orange Loop

The Final Take

The Orono Crown Lands are not typical of Crown Lands, and the OCL Trust is to be thanked for that. You can choose between wide open, sunny trails with level surfaces, where up to four can walk side by side. You can wander alongside Wilmot Creek, through cool, canopied cedar lowlands in single file. The only real challenge would be the climb down to, and back up from, the railway berm to the creekside section on the green trail. Otherwise, the trekking is pretty easy. There’s no charge to park nor walk, but you can make a donation at :

https://oronocrownlands.com/memberships.

There are picnic facilities from the Ochonski Rd. parking lot. There are washrooms behind the Outdoor Educational Centre from the Taunton Rd. parking lot. The trails are very well marked and easy to follow, which is good as there are many unmarked cross trails made by local &/or regular walkers. There are very few rest spots or benches on the trails but they are rather short (1 – 2.5 kms). We were impressed at the cleanliness of the trails and the friendliness of other walkers over our two day visit. There were numerous dog encounters (all off leash), yet better trained/handled dogs I’ve not encountered anywhere before.

Have a nice walk,

Bushwhacker

6 comments

  1. Brian Thompson · · Reply

    Hi Guys

    Thank you for your kind comments to the Crown Lands Trust who manage the trails. We have recently produced a printed trail map that is available at all three entrances at no charge. Soon our web site will go live so people will be able to see the new trail map and get updates on trail conditions. We are improving all the trails with our maintenance crews and hope you’ll come back for a walk.

    Brian Thompson
    Orono Crown Lands Trust

    Like

    1. Hello Brian,
      It’s always particularly rewarding to hear from a “keeper” of a trail complex, and I’ll thank you for taking the time to comment. Your note prompted us to go back this morning to look things over. We found a generous supply of trail maps at the gate. The location of the Linton trails has evaded us in the past so we were quite pleased to see them on the map. We made a morning of walking them, and I’ll be adding a review to the current Orono Crown Lands write-up to include them.
      Bushwhacker

      Like

  2. Hi , thanks for your guide. I used it on my hike. It was awesome!

    I saw at least a dozen trout along the trail are they safe to eat?

    Like

    1. Glad I could help to make your outing enjoyable, and I appreciate you taking the time to tell me so. However, I’m sorry, I can’t help with the fishing question as I’m not an angler. Perhaps if you clicked on their new website, that might yield some fishing info.
      My apologies for the tardy response. We were out today reviewing another trail near Madoc.
      Bye for now,
      Bushwhacker

      Like

  3. Orono Crown Land Trust · · Reply

    Hi Guys Thank you for your updated review of the Orono Crown Lands. It is very thorough and the pictures give a great idea of the experience in the Crown Lands.

    We are updating the 2019 map brochures to correct the error you mentioned on the Linton Orange Trail.

    There is one mistake in the last para of your review that I hope you can correct. It is a link you give people to click to make a donation to the Orono Crown Land Trust. However the link is really for Orono Land Trust in the State of Maine. The correct link is https://oronocrownlands.com/memberships

    Cheers
    Brian Thompson, Director, Orono Crown Land Trust

    Like

    1. Orono Land Trust in Maine ???? Terribly sorry for that screw-up. It never occurred to me there’d be such a thing. Thanks for correcting my error. I also removed my point about the trail colors, as your new brochure will reflect correctly.
      Again Brian, thanks for catching my error. Everything should be caught up.
      Bye for now,
      Bushwhacker

      Like

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