Selwyn Beach CA and Ennismore Waterfront Park (Peterborough) Trails Review

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Selwyn Beach CA and Ennismore Waterfront Park Trails Review

I combined these two reviews as both sets of trails are relatively short, and they’re only 20 minutes apart, on opposite sides of Chemong Lake.

Selwyn Beach CA Loop Trail (2.5 kms)

The route from Peterborough is rather wiggly and complex so I’ll just give you a link to Google Maps here :

The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority ceased charging for day use of this CA in 2018 which kinda made me wonder how well it would be cared for. However, we were quite taken with the site when we visited in mid May. The beach and picnic facilities were quite impressive with more than ample parking, open air and covered picnic tables (in very good shape as well), washrooms, and even changerooms. The beach was immaculate as well.

Of course, our interests were in the loop trail.

We started from the trail to the beach then along the Eastern shoreline of Chemong Lake. Just past a number 2 sign we saw the sign “Nature Trail”. The trail very quickly degraded into a lowland cedar forest based with cedar roots, stones, and serious water issues. It had been a very wet Spring, so maybe that’s the cause. The trail markers are few and far between though, which made navigation all the more difficult. Combined with the numerous blow-downs, I was becoming annoyed. But to be fair, the lake was always visible through the trees to our left, so it’s not like you’d wander off too far.

While hopping from one hummock to another, I turned to the Wife and said “Well, I know what my first point on this review will be”. To which she replied “Ummmmm, don’t bother trying it?”. I thought about it but, you gotta walk the whole thing before you can judge, so we carried on until we could see an uphill incline and deciduous trees coming up. As the terrain continued to rise, I turned and said “Now this is more like it”.

The forest was bright yellow and shades of lime green from the fresh leaves popping out. The (rarely seen this Spring), sunshine made it seem to glow. There are some huge old trees in there, and the understorey was very clear. Lovely views of the lake increased as we approached, and rounded the point of land.

The trail turns inland for awhile, then runs alongside Selwyn Bay Lane for a short distance. Some residences can be seen through the trees, and you might get some road noise. As much as any cottage road would.

As for us, this stretch held a special treat though. Something flew across the trail in front of me. Something redder than a cardinal flower. I froze and whispered “Scarlet tanager!”. The third one I’d ever seen in all our years of bush walking.

After that thrill, the trail meandered through some highland (meaning dry) cedars back to the common area group camping sites and excellent picnicking facilities. There are well maintained picnic areas everywhere at the main entrance and beach.

We returned in late June to see if things had improved any with regard to water. They had … slightly. The walking was still an unpleasant task through the lowland cedar forest. However, upon climbing up into the higher dry forest, I found myself not enjoying it as much as I had in mid – May. Mind you, the clouds of mosquitoes definitely had an effect on my opinion. I can’t be sure if this is just a bad year for mosquitoes or if this is the norm. However, considering the wet conditions described above, I suspect it’s typical. The views of Chemong Lake were also impeded by foliage as well. I would therefore recommend you save this one for early in the season (though you might need rubber boots) unless you’re looking for a nice beach and picnic spot.

Ennismore Waterfront Park Trails (about 2 kms)

At 4.5 kms East of Ennismore on Ennis Rd. the road runs out at the Park on the waterfront.

This link will open Google Maps at the parking lot :

This park is very well appointed for picnicking and swimming. Complete with playground equipment, covered picnic tables, and ample free parking. There are three loop trails here which are all quite easy to walk (totalling 4 kms in length according to their website, but I’d say less than half that in reality). The forest is mostly cedar and plantation forest.

Though limited in length, the trails are extremely well maintained. Informative, interpretive signage and trail maps with “you are here” are everywhere. When we first visited in early May, the Osprey observation platform on the Red trail provided us a nice view of the activity on the nest. The pavilion on the Red trail is well constructed but has a very limited view of the lake.

The Final Take on Selwyn Beach CA and Ennismore Heritage Trails

The beaches, picnic facilities, permanent washrooms, playgrounds, and various other things that make a fine Summer public area … exactly that, are all here at both sites. However, the trails are best appreciated in the early and late seasons. They’re short, and quite honestly, not worth driving any distance to get to. It’s unfortunate as there aren’t any other trails nearby to combine these with, since they make terrific sites to have a lovely picnic, a quick cooling plunge, and a minor walking diversion.

If you’re in the area anyway … that’s a different matter.

Have a nice walk,


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