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WALKER WOODS TRAIL REVIEW
This is another one of the Uxbridge trails. There are two trails I would recommend here as there’s a confusing mish-mash of trails back in there, under numerous authorities’ names, or for numerous uses. I’d suggest following the ORTA (Oak Ridges Trail Association) side trail markers to make things clear and easy. ORTA side trails tend to be loop trails (or damn-near loop trails), and the markers are bright blue blazes painted on the trees. One blaze tells you you’re on their trail and if there are two blazes, the top one indicates the direction the trail turns (or which way to turn at a trail intersection). The two ORTA side trails in Walkers Woods are simply called the East Loop and the West Loop.
The ORTA East Loop Trail (3.0 kms)
The best approach from the South is to take Lakeridge rd North from Taunton rd. Take Chalk Lake rd to the left (West), and right (North) on Concession Rd # 7. From the intersection of Chalk Lake and Conc #7, the parking lot is 2.2 kms North on the left side of Conc 7. This link will open Google Maps at the parking lot : https://goo.gl/maps/7gpkKdnoNKhXBCE58
You’ll pass the trailhead just a few meters before the parking lot. From the info board, go to the right. Yes, the tree blazes are white, but they’ll lead you to the ORTA blue tree blazes (taking you to the left) after climbing that honking steep old hill. That’s it for serious hills until right at the end, on your way back to the parking lot. About ½ way along, you will come across an unusual blaze. It will be a blue blaze below with two blazes above, and on each side of the lower blaze (in a “Y” configuration). This is where the East and West Loop trails meet and run together between posts W8 and W9 on the map (both posts will display the three blazed marker). We noticed someone had written “East trail” and “West trail” on the top two blazes. If that’s worn off, just go to the right on both, to complete the 3 km East trail. You could add another 4.5 kms onto your walk by walking the West Loop as well, but I’m going to cover the two trails individually here. I’ll tell you how to access the West Loop alone (without having to walk the East loop to get to it) next. Right near the end, you’ll see another odd blue blaze. It’ll have a horizontal blue blaze above the lower one. This indicates the end of the loop trail. Take a right (white blazes again) to return to the parking lot.
This trail is almost exclusively canopied forest. So much so, that the occasional openings in the canopy, allowing the sun to beam down, caught my attention. By this I don’t mean the trail is dark, but rather dappled in sunlight which makes the most beautiful of forest scenes, in my estimation. The understorey is quite clear and open as well, adding to the charm. There was one particular hollow which made us both stop to drink it in before carrying on. The trail width varies considerably from single file, to four could walk at the shoulder. On this trail was our first sighting of a pink ghost pipe. I’ve heard of them, but never saw one before. It’s a high, dry wooded trail on mostly compacted soil, but with stretches of sand, indicating what the soil around you is composed of.
The ORTA West Loop Trail (4.5 kms)
Approach from the South on Brock ROAD (not Street) out of Pickering. Turn right on Allbright st, and right again at Concession rd # 6. Road access to the West loop is from the parking lot on the East (left) side of Concession # 6 about 40 meters South from the Allbright rd / Conc. # 6 intersection. This link will open Google Maps at the parking lot : https://goo.gl/maps/t5byfbnNDShnhdLz7
If you research your walks before doing them, you might have read of a sawmill, and drying house. We thought they were some kind of heritage/historical thing. They’re not. We found a pair of old 1960’s barns, back in the bush with “NO TRESPASSING” and “TRAIL CLOSED” signs around them. Needless to say … not worth the bother.
Much like the East trail, the parking lot is separate from the trailhead on this West Trail too. After parking, go back out to the road (6th Conc.), and walk about 10 meters further South from Allbright rd. and you’ll see the gate to your left. Yes, there’s a gate from the parking lot, but I think that’s for the boundary trail that runs across the length of the woods. It’s always better to start from a proper trailhead, if for nothing more than orientation.
So, again, you’re going to be on an ORTA side trail with the blue blazes on trees. From the trailhead data sign, follow the trail (with white blazes), until you see the trail branch off to your right, with blue blazes. Again, like the East Trail, the two trails run together for awhile between posts W8 and W9. The trail markers here can become a bit confusing, so, just take it to the left on both W8 and W9 to stay on the West Trail. As with the East trail, you’ll come across a blue blaze with a horizontal blaze above it. This is the end of the loop. Turn left and follow the white blazes back to the trail head. On your way back, you will walk past the spot where you started the loop. Ignore the blue blazes now, (unless you wanna walk the loop again). Continue going straight ahead to the trailhead, and parking lot.
This trail, though geographically close to the East Trail, is a fair piece easier to walk. The hills (of which there are still plenty), are less steep. The forests are more fake forest (man planted rows of pines intended to control erosion back in the 1940s) than on the East Trail, but they’re getting old and naturalized looking in most places. The ghost pipe patches throughout the forest were reminiscent of Seymour Cons. Area’s Spring hepatica display. Another trail will cross your path from which you can see the barn/sawmill mentioned earlier, but what’s really eye catching, is the collapsed windmill just past that (on your trail).
The 1st half of the walk is mixed single file and two side by side. Near halfway, (about post W17 where it joins the Trans Canada Trail) there’s a beautiful hollow wide enough for four to walk shoulder to shoulder.
The Final Take
Walk these two trails separately or combined, for a pleasant little “walk in the woods”. There’s no water anywhere on either trail, so there aren’t any bridges or boardwalks. They’re both quite hilly, with the West Loop being a little less steep. Both would be lovely in coloured leaves, and the late Summer fungal displays are impressive. There are a lot of other trails in there, but I always find the ORTA blue blaze side loops the best maintained, easiest to follow, and they always provide the best trails for viewing all a walk has to offer. There are no charge parking lots for both loop trails, but no facilities for picnic or washrooms available.
Be warned, all maps on the official Internet website are worse than useless. That’s why the maps I show you here, are from the posts right out there on the trails. They’re much more accurate.
Have a nice walk,