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BOWMANVILLE CREEK TRAIL REVIEW
Though a pleasant enough walk in the Summer, this review will focus on the Winter appeal of this walk. Winter is difficult for trail walkers. Particularly for us older sorts. The Wife and I walk year ‘round, but after the second or third snowfall, we find ourselves looking for some easier trails. Easier to walk, and easier to get to. That usually means a plowed back road or a local well used urban trail. One of our favourite urbans, is the Bowmanville Creek. It’s a return trail running right through Bowmanville along the creek valley.
There are six access points, but only two with parking lots. One is the first left on Roenigk Dr. from King St. W. (at the “Bowmanville Valleys” sign). The other is on Baseline Rd. W. about 150 meters East of Spry Ave. The paved walkway is roughly 1.5 kms long (one way). There are a number of unmarked side trails through the bush between the paved trail and the creek.
We usually start from the North end (Roenigk Dr). We gathered quite a few baskets of wild raspberries last Summer from a huge patch along the West side of the parking lot. As you head South, you’ll see an info kiosk with a path leading East to a bridge over the creek. You’ll see an impressive staircase going up the ravine on the far side of the bridge. They’ll take you up to a small Rotary park on Queen street, and no, I have never felt compelled to climb them. On the trail to the bridge, you’ll pass two side trails . One will take you through the bush, and the other, along the bank of the creek. Both meet up with the paved path at the dam and fish ladder with it’s “fish wall”. We’ve spotted mink and beavers from this point, and of course, lots of fish.
From the barrier dam and fish ladder, there’s another trail through the bush that re-enters the paved walkway about 150 meters further South. You’ll come upon an open area with a pond to the West. It’s always full of very tame ducks because it’s fed by a subterranean runoff conduit that keeps the water above freezing year ‘round. Just about every time we’ve been here, we’ve seen locals feeding them.
Further on, you’ll come upon a triangular “eco-garden”. The trail to the West will take you to Spry Ave. Continue South to find another triangle in the trail. The trail going off to the East, will take you across another bridge to Nelson St. It’s worth the short side stroll to the bridge for a view of the creek. Continuing South from the 2nd triangle, the path splits. Continuing South will take you to the Baseline Rd parking lot. The East path will lead to a sidewalk access on Baseline Rd as well.
Bowmanville Creek can be one vicious little waterway. Last Summer, we walked it to find an entire section of the paved pathway missing. We noticed last week, that section had been replaced with concrete. At that time, we chatted – up a local walker who described the Spring flood conditions. Last week, we noticed huge, 14 inch thick chunks of ice all over the path, and as far as 40 feet back from the creek bank. I guess it was from that thaw we had back in late January. That would’ve been a sight to see as it was described by another local walker we met on the trail last week.
The Final Take
Easy to access from either end with cleared Winter parking at both. The path is paved, through bush, or along the creek bank. Very well used by locals, the paths are well packed. The trail runs along the creek valley from the North, so, the Winter wind won’t be much of a problem until you hit the Southernmost quarter where it opens up to meadowlands. Truth be told, we usually return once we hit the second bridge ourselves. Not a long walk, which might be just as well in the Winter. Any walkers we’ve met over the years have been friendly and quite willing to stop and chat if you wish.
The parking is ample, well maintained and free. There are no year ‘round facilities save a few rest benches and large limestone rocks along the path (there are picnic tables at the parking lot in Summer). The main, paved path is wide enough for four to walk side by side. Bowmanville Creek is visible and audible for the entire trail. Though surrounded by Bowmanville, it isn’t a neglected ravine, ignored by locals as so many are. It’s a bright, cheery, wide open trail with wildlife, bridges, a lively waterway, and friendly walkers.
You might notice a large green area entitled “Bowmanville Valley Conservation Area” just to the North of this trail on Google maps. I’m sorry to report … that it is one is of those neglected ravines that’s ignored by locals. We tried to explore it last Summer. However, what started as a stroll with potential, rapidly became an overgrown, unkempt, fisherman’s path. Not even a very long one either.
Have a good walk,