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NORTH WALKER WOODS TRAIL REVIEW
These Woods are one of the famed “Uxbridge trail complex”. Uxbridge (about 30 kms North of Pickering) has been federally designated the trail capital of Canada partially due to the half dozen “Woods”, “Forests”, and “CA” trails just South of it. Take Brock ROAD (NOT street) North from the 401 at Pickering to bring you right into the middle of this cluster of trails. From Brock, just take Allbright rd to Concession 6 and turn North. My recommended access is about 450 meters up and on your left. This link will open Google Maps at the location : https://goo.gl/maps/2rxQZrzLHcdAdemp7
There are three road accesses, two on the South end and one at the north end of Concession Rd 6. At best, a wide spot on the roadside is your parking option. I would recommend you access from the Southernmost one (marked N8 on the map) as this begins you directly on the ORTA (Oak Ridges Trail Association) loop trail.
Once you get over the gate, I would suggest you take the trail to the left. It’s a loop so it doesn’t really matter. However, the majority of hill climbing is to the left, so you’ll get that business out of the way early in your walk, while you’re still energetic. Then, the rest of the walk is relatively level and pleasant. Personally, I don’t like walking 3.5 kms and THEN have to scale the Alps to get back to my car. I’d sooner get it over with early, but that’s up to you. The hills aren’t that bad, but on a hot, humid day … well, you know what I mean.
The first stretch (horizontally across the bottom of the map), has some lovely forest floor vistas to the right, while to the left is a pasture. I should make another recommendation at this point. You’ll notice the trail you’re following (green bordered with yellow) on the map above is marked on the trail by bright blue blazes on the trees. Whatever you do, don’t rely on any maps you’ll find on the I’Net. We took a copy of an official TRCA (Toronto Region Conservation Authority) I’Net map with us and after an hour of confusion, we just pocketed the damned thing and followed the blue blazes. The map I’ve provided for you (above) is from the post at the trailhead. They’re far more accurate.
Another advantage to using the Southernmost access is that, even if you do try to be adventurous and wander off down another trail, eventually you’ll cross the blue blaze trail again since it’s the only clearly marked loop trail in this tract. AND, the only place it comes out to the road, is at the Southernmost access, where you left your car.
The forest is lovely here. Mostly deciduous with an occasional rare patch of fake forest (man planted pines to counter erosion back in the 40’s). We walked it in early August and had virtually no insect encounters. ‘Course, there’s almost no water to speak of, hence no boardwalks, nor bridges. However, the colours in the Fall should be spectacular judging by the deciduous trees. We also spotted partridge berry, bane berry (both red and white), ghost pipes, and some very impressive fungal displays, along with the leaf indicators of bloodroot, trillium, and hepatica for Spring colour. The forest floor is rather scant of undergrowth, providing clear viewing to quite a distance.
The Final Take
Park at the Southernmost access (wide spot at the roadside), and follow the trail to the left. One blue blaze means you’re on the right trail. Two blazes means the top blaze indicates the direction to turn ie) if the top blaze is to the left of the bottom blaze, either the trail will go left, or it’s instructing you to go to the left at the next trail intersection. If following the blue blazed trail (4 kms in length), two can walk side by side quite comfortably. There are so many side trails and connecting trails that it can become confusing, so stay on the very well marked blue blazes trail. The maps don’t represent the directions and angles of the side and connecting trails very well, so trust the trail markers over the map. This is a relatively small woods, so even if you get “turned around” you’re never very far from the blue blazed trail as it pretty-much covers the entire tract. So you’ll either run across the blue blazed trail or step out onto Concession 6, where you’ll see your car down the road.
Though we walked it in August, we saw plenty of Spring flower evidence, and in the Fall, all the deciduous trees would yield a fine display of colours.
There are no parking lots (hence, no charge for parking) at any of this trail’s access points. Neither are there washrooms, nor picnic facilities. I suppose Uxbridge is only ten kms distant, so you could check it out if you wish.
Have a nice walk.