Ranger and I visited this one a number of years before “2oldguyswalking” was created. Since then we’ve dropped by from time to time, but never paid much attention. Over the years, the Wife and I took a coupla wander-throughs in various seasons, and rather enjoyed ourselves. It’s well within our usual range so we took it seriously for a coupla days last week and checked it out for you.
OK, so here it is. Getting data on Crown lands South of Rice Lake is like pulling dragon’s teeth. It took awhile, but I finally figured out how to navigate my way around a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (MNRF) site to determine exactly how big this Crown Land is, and where it’s boundaries are. It’s a lot bigger than I’d originally thought.
Most Crown Lands are basically just tracts of land which aren’t any good for farmimg, and/or don’t have the view for condos (the exception being The Orono Crown Lands). So, the map I’ve provided below is not official by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s just my best attempt at transferring boundaries from an MNRF map, to a Google satellite view so I could try to draw in where the trails go. There are of course, no marked, nor named trails, but there are plenty of well-worn paths which are very easy to follow through the trees. As well, someone runs a mower or something through the grassy, open areas as a guide to walkers on what I named the “Open Sky Trail”.
There are four access points into these Crown Lands and none of them provide parking :
From the end of the Old Mill Rd. in Kendal.
There are some very steep, short climbs from this direction. If you want to enter from here, I would advise you to take a right at the first split in the trail, and a left at the next split. That will take you to a sturdy makeshift bridge over the Ganaraska River to a tree canopied trail through lowland forest in the river’s valley. Since it doesn’t have a proper name, I’ll just call it “The Canopied Trail”.
From this trail, you’ll see openings through the trees onto a meadow setting with a big pond in the middle of it. There are picnic tables and benches (complements of the Kendal Lions Club) around the pond. As you walk around the pond, you’ll see another entrance which has no steep, slippery hills to climb. Just a nice, level, one minute stroll in :
From County road 9 (Ganaraska road).
Obviously, this is the easier way to begin exploring the Lands. I only mentioned the Old Mill Rd. entrance from Kendal, to be thorough. From the Cty Rd 9 entrance, just take a left to stroll around the pond and you’ll hear the river, and see the openings in the trees to your left that will take you into the Canopied Trail. Once you’re through walking The Canopied Trail alongside the river, and circled the pond, you’ll see a very wide path heading South (These two entrance paths now merge into one path).
So, as you walk South along the wide trail, you’ll come across what appears to be an iron bridge lying on the meadow . It’s been there for at least five years when Ranger and I first visited here and we think it was intended to replace the old bridge that allowed Kendal residents access to the Lands (which the trail from Old Mill road in Kendal does now by a different bridge). As you pause to ponder this Meadow Bridge, you’ll notice an opening in the trees to the East. Following (what I’ll call) the Scarey Bridge Trail will take you to the original bridge over the river to Kendal (kind of a scarey looking bridge … obviously).
However, on the way to the scarey bridge you’ll see a trail cutting off to the South (your right). The wife and I walked this trail just after Christmas a few years ago, and were impressed by the view, so we wanted to see it in the Summer months. It also has no name so I’ll call it the “Vista Trail”. The start of this trail was kinda wet both days we visited, but we just walked around the wet spots. Once the hill begins, the trail becomes dry and fairly wide. It’s definitely an uphill grade (the name “Vista Trail” shoulda been your first clue), but it’s fairly well zig-zagged to reduce the steepness.
There’s virtually no undergrowth, so the view through the bush is quite clear. Once you reach the top, you’ll be treated to a nice view to the South and East as you walk along the ridge to the West.
As you leave the ridge and plunge back into the bush, you’ll see a trail off to the South (your left) requiring a bit of a short, steep climb. It’s worth the effort to take you to another trail that runs parallel to the Vista Trail, along the very edge of the ridge under a treed canopy. The view through the trees dropping down the steep ridge is impressive. The East end of this trail suddenly drops straight down the side of the ridge (designed for powered vehicles), and the west end just plain stops after a nice stroll along the ridge.
Once back on the Vista Trail, and as your descent becomes obvious, don’t wander off on any side trails. The Wife and I did that the Winter we first found the Vista trail. We bushwhacked through the blow-downs and snow trying to get to Henry Rd. but gave up and turned back. So, just continue going straight downhill until you hit a crosstrail (the Open Sky Trail – covered in the next paragraph). Turn right to return to the Meadow Bridge. This loop trail is about 3.5 km from the Ganaraska rd. Cty # 9.
While standing at the Meadow Bridge, if you look in the opposite direction of the “Scarey Bridge Trail” (to the West), you’ll see a mown trail through the grass. This (for wont of a better name), I’ll call The Open Sky trail and I’ll tell you that it gradually climbs uphill. This trail winds off to the West in full sunshine. It seems to terminate at the edge of a cultivated field. There’s a lot of property beyond there, but it doesn’t appear to be maintained as well. There are plenty of powered vehicle trails around, but they usually terminate in someone’s backyard. This trail (return) is about 2.5 km long.
From Concession Road # 6
First, you’ve got about 150 meters of dog strangling vine (DSV) to fight your way through. Once that clears, you’ve got less than that distance of fake forest (man planted rows of pines intended to control erosion back in the 40’s) before you hit an impassibly steep downhill ridge. I was hoping to gain access to the open area to the North of this entrance, but it appears even powered vehicles haven’t tried.
From Henry Rd
Don’t even think about it.
The Final Take
The village of Kendal has alot of damned gall calling this a Crown Land. Crown Land my ass ! Where are the piles of beer cans and shotgun shells ? Where are the rusted-out truck chassis, the bags of household waste, the shingles, drywall, and plumbing fixtures from local home improvement projects ? How am I supposed to walk along the river’s edge without tangling my feet in fishing line or being strangled by the same, hanging from every tree branch with hooks or lures dangling from them ? And where are all the Timmy’s cups … the Timmy’s cups I ask you !? The residents of Kendal have no idea how to properly abuse a Crown Land. Shame on them all !
So, before they smarten-up, have yourself a lovely walk here.
***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.***