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Meisel Woods Conservation Area (Sharbot Lake) Trail Review
Meisel Woods is an unassuming, little trail of a mere five kms. that will feel like a whole lot more. The word “loop” is used a lot on official sites, but neither of the two trails here are “loops”. Both trails have loops, but neither trail is, a loop. From the parking lot, there’s a short access trail that leads to a split near the center of Beaver (or Bass) lake. From here you can go left for a 3.5 km walk around the South end of the lake, up to the North end and back, or go right for a 1.5 km walk to the North and back. They’re both marked with blue plastic arrows screw-nailed to trees (formerly orange painted arrows).
There’s ample free parking at, click here to locate on Google Maps:
Otherwise, just take Regional road #38 North from the 401, turn right onto Crow Lake Rd., then right on Anderson Rd. Just under one km later, you’ll see the parking lot on your right. The drive in on Crow Lake Road is quite picturesque itself.
The trail map below is from the trailhead kiosk, and (with the obvious stickered – over legend) is more up to date than anything I could find on the I’Net.
The Longest Trail (3.5 kms including return)
This trail heads South-West from the parking lot access trail, curves under the South end of the lake, runs North – East to a tiny loop and back again. The private residence on the South end was barely visible through the trees in mid October. Once around the bottom end of the lake, this trail will cross the driveway of that residence before heading North – East to come upon a very well constructed bridge over a waterway which connects Beaver Lake and Crow Lake. There’s a pretty little beaver pond on this trail that doesn’t show on the map.
From here, the trail starts to get hilly … very hilly. Not long hills, just very short, very steep hills. Some are compacted soil based, some are bedrock, some are piles of rubble. Don’t let the hills detract you from enjoying this trail though. However, I wouldn’t recommend you walk this after a recent rain shower as it would be quite slippery. The lookout/rest spot makes a nice place for your trail snack.
To be honest with you, I wouldn’t bother continuing to do the “loop” trail. It just involves more hills, and it’s the only stretch of this trail with poor trail markers. There’s really nothing on it that you haven’t seen on the previous part of the trail. With the leaves down, we noticed a railway track not far from the trail.
The Shortest Trail (1.5 kms including return).
This one is more brightly lit and open to the sky. It’s considerably less hilly as well. The first lookout (over Beaver Lake) is actually a dock sticking out into the lake. We saw it from the lookout on the other side of the lake, and thought it was a private cottage dock from that vantage point.
From there the loop begins, leading you to another lookout over Crow Lake this time. This one is not as impressive as there’s a road just under the lookout, and the lake is fairly distant.
The Final Take
Though short (total 5 kms – both trails, including returns) these trails feel much longer. The lake is almost always visible through the forest, and the view from the lookouts are quite pretty. The trail markers are blue arrows on the trees. Despite the proximity to a few roads and a railway, these trails were very quiet. With very few exceptions both trails are mostly single file walking.
The Longest trail becomes quite hilly after the first bridge (there are a couple more, smaller bridges too), and is well canopied with mixed forest. There’s a lovely beaver pond which doesn’t show on the trail map. The lookout is wide with a clear view, and has both a rest bench and a picnic table. The tiny loop at the end, doesn’t offer anything but a few more hills. Its well canopied with mixed forest, and the lake is almost always visible through the trees
The Short stretch is more open to the sky. It has a dock – like lookout right at the water’s edge which is rather unique. The loop has a rest bench on the lookout over Crow Lake in the distance, and beaver Lake is almost always visible through the trees as well.
Other than the parking lot, and a few benches on the trails, there are no facilities here. We found these trails to be very clean, and very well maintained. Leashed dog walking is permitted.
Have a nice walk,