***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.***
The Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary Trails Review
This review will cover the set of trails on the East side of University rd. There is another set on the West side of the road, The Trent University Canal Nature Trails.
There are 3 color coded trails here and they cover a wide range of ecosystems from lowland cedar forests to upland forests and meadows. As evidenced by fieldstone and split rail fences, and by the age of the trees, the upland sections were once farmland. These trails are heavily used by locals, mostly for dog walking. Despite the signage, most were off – leash. However, we walked them on a sunny Saturday morning and so there were a lot of walkers. Despite that, we encountered very few people on these trails.
The Blue Trail (3.7 km loop trail)
This is the longest trail here, and presents the most diversity of ecosystems. It provides the outermost loop which the other two trails loop inside of. Complete with five boardwalks, it will take you through mostly lowland cedar forests, but then will climb up to a bit of upland forests on its South end. It is hilly in some spots. The trail is well marked, but there are dozens of very well worn off-shoot trails and cross trails which can be misleading, so just watch for the blue bubble arrows. After you cross the first boardwalk, you’ll see a trail off the Blue trail heading North. This trail will take you to a playing field on Pioneer rd. with alternate parking and a coupla seasonal port – a – potties. Continuing on the Blue trail, another off-shoot trail will take you into the Camp Kawartha Environment Center also on Pioneer rd. It has a small children’s playground and picnic facilities.
We were told of a heron rookery on an old abandoned trail so, the Wife kept an eye out for it, and she actually found it ! It still has a bit of very unmaintained boardwalk in seriously bad shape. The trail continues beyond the boardwalk, but it just wanders into a fallow field and a Private Property sign. Unfortunately, it appears the herons haven’t used this swamp as a rookery in a very long time.
The Yellow Trail (2.6 km loop trail)
The Southernmost stretch is an upland walk through open grassland with very little tree presence. Almost park-like in appearance with its well mown grassy base. The stretch of Northern loop running parallel to the Red trail is more wooded, but still open to the sky. By contrast, it’s Northern stretch (labelled as The Silver Maple Swamp Trail) is a lowland walk whose redeeming feature is that Silver Maple swamps are usually brightly lit and colored.
The Red Trail (1.9 km loop)
The Northern stretch is well wooded, but still open to the sky. The Southern is through a dark cedar canopy.
We were greeted by a couple of Trent University people at the trailhead. They explained the intent to build a sports arena on the Northwest corner of the reserve. Please see the links below for more information : UPDATE September 25, 2019 – Sorry, these links are now dead. I assume they lost their battle. What else is new ?
The Final Take
We were pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness of these trails. They must be Winter maintained as there are sand boxes on all the hills. Mind You, they were full of Tim’s cups, dog crap bags, water bottles etc. That’s better than all over the trail I suppose … but probably not to whoever has to empty the boxes to get at the sand.
There’s ample free parking, and a picnic table at the trailhead. There are port-a-potties at the playing field at the Northern start of the Blue trail (not part of the trail system but … they’re there). There’s also a covered set of picnic tables at the Camp Kawartha Environment Center. Rest benches are plentiful as well. The base is mostly compacted soil which can very slippery when wet. We walked them a day after a small shower and had to watch our footing on the hills. The trails are wide enough for two to walk side by side for the most part. These trails present a wide variation of ecosystems from lowland cedar forests, through wetlands, to upland deciduous woods and sunlit meadows. They’re well maintained, well marked, and surprisingly quiet for their location.
Dog walking is permitted, but really people … the signage asks you to leash them. Shouting “He’s OK, he’s friendly” as an uncontrolled dog comes charging at me doesn’t cut it. Nor does shouting “Don’t pet him, he’s filthy” as your dog jumps up on me. We love dogs, truly. But not everyone does. The Trent U. people we met at the trailhead told us that we’d just missed a terrific dog fight moments before we pulled into the parking lot. People … leash your dogs if you can’t control them, and If you can’t handle that, get a goldfish.
Have a nice walk,