The Hogsback (Omemee) Trail Review

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The Hogsback (Omemee) Trail Review 

This 3.2 km one –  way return trail runs along a height of land with lovely views of the countryside as it works its way down to an equally lovely view of the Pigeon River before ending on Mount Horeb Rd.

The three access sites are not marked in any way, so I will provide very detailed directions to find them. To access the Southern and Center trailheads, take Hwys 35/115 from the 401 at Newcastle for 38 kms (Take 115 when 35/115 separate) to Hwy 7A. Turn left on 7A and drive 10 kms to Bethany. Take Cty Rd. 38 North (Ski Hill Rd.) for 7.5 kms. The unmarked entrance will be directly across from the paved Hogsback Rd.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/2bjkCfNAfYrVFNUu6

Another 1.3 kms further up Ski Hill Rd. will take you to the unmarked Center access directly across from Hayes Rd. (Concession 1).

https://maps.app.goo.gl/f6PazunzgHjju2zv7

To access the Northern end (closest to the bridge and fairly drivable should you wanna paddle the river), continue up Ski Hill Rd. to Hwy # 7, turn left and at 1.5 kms, turn left onto Mount Horeb Rd. Mount Horeb will make a 90 degree turn to the left, then, just before it makes another 90 degree turn to the right (at 2.6 kms from Hwy # 7) you’ll see an unmarked, unmaintained road straight ahead. You’ll feel like you’re pulling into some guy’s driveway, but the dirt road past his driveway will become apparent as you pull in.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/eF8UNjcy3ibxwabH6

I hadn’t seen this stretch of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail in decades. Not since Ranger and I walked it back in our early days. Back then, Ranger had a canoe we launched at the bridge as chronicled in my write up High on the Hogsback 20 Years On, when we returned twenty years later from the North end to the bridge.

After a long road trip to Bancroft the day before, I suggested to the Wife we take a break and try a more local walk. She’d never seen the Hogsback so we headed out one early July morning.

The Northernmost access (from Mount Horeb Rd.) can be driven … carefully … as far as the bridge where there is parking for three or four cars. This is not a provided parking lot, just a wide spot near the bridge. From here you can launch canoes or kayaks.

The Southernmost access, directly across from the paved section of Hogsback Rd. Involves a steep but short climb up to the trail. If you choose to start from this point be warned, about 600 meters along, there’s a VERY steep, VERY long hill that you’ll have to climb back up on your return. The hill is nasty enough in the July heat and humidity. However, the base is composed of thumb to fist sized rounded loose stone that makes walking a challenge.

We can all thank ATVers for this, and for the two mucky, rutted messes on the trail before you get to :

The Center access directly across from the termination of Hayes Line (Conc  Rd. # 1) at Ski Hill Rd (Reg. Rd. # 38). This is my preferred access though it too requires a short, steep climb up to the trail. But once up to it, the ATV damage is negligible right through to Mount Horeb Rd. This is the prettiest stretch anyway. The views from the high trail are so “South-Central Ontario” with rolling hills, meadows and pasturelands. Speaking of rolling hills, there’s plenty on the trail too. And that base of loose, round, thumb to fist sized rubble intermittently shows up along the rest of the trail as well. Not a serious problem, but enough to make cycling this trail a very bad idea.

The Final Take

If you wanna lovely, secluded spot to launch for a lovely, secluded paddle, the Mount Horeb Rd. access will serve you nicely. Or, you could just walk right on down to Ski Hill Rd. You could access from either of the two other spots as well. Since this is a section of the GHTA trail system, there are no facilities of any kind, anywhere. The views of South – Central Ontario and of the Pigeon River are gorgeous.

The trailbed can be a tad rough, and there are lots of hills so you don’t wanna try cycling it (I don’t care how fat your tires are). Except for a bit of ATV carnage at the Southernmost end, the trail is clear and surprisingly clean. The whole trail is quite wide enough for two to walk side by side, and no one cares if your dog is leashed or not.

This is a section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail, and there are a number of side and offshoot trails. Just follow the white vertical blazes with black borders on the trees, and you’ll be fine.

Have a nice walk,

Bushwhacker

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