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The Hastings Heritage Trail between Station Rd. and Malone Rd. (Marmora) Review
From Marmora, take Hwy 7 from the Main St. 1.75 kms to Goat Hill Rd. Turn Left onto Goat Hill and drive about 830 meters to Station Rd. Turn right on Station, and drive 1.6 kms to where the trail crosses the road. Take the trail to the left (North). This link will open Google Maps at the parking lot :
This 9 km (one way) section of trail is gonna be flooded in places in the Spring no matter what, so either bring yer boots or wait for drier weather … and bring yer boots anyway ‘cause, “There be beavers here”, and you know what they’re all about.
That was my take in April, when we first tried walking this trail. We didn’t bring boots, so we returned in June to try again. This time, it had rained heavily the night before, and there’s really nowhere for rain water to go, so it was quite “puddly”, but in the warmth of June, who cares ? I intended to wade through regardless, but I managed to circumvent the puddles and kept my feet dry (until later on that same day … but that’s a different story).
About half of the trail is wetland so you can expect Spring flooding, but with beavers present, well, anything can happen anytime of year. Your best bet is to just be prepared.
On top of the ample wetlands, there are alot of open water views, as well as two bridges over open water (both within 2 kms from Station St). The water flowing under the bridges was remarkably clear and we could easily see caddisfly larvae clinging to the rocky streambed in mid April. They were still there, stuck to the rocks under the bridge, when we returned in June.
However, the highlight of the entire trail for me was the spectacular waterfall just before the second bridge at about two kilometers in from Station St. We could hear it roaring quite audibly from a distance down the trail. It’s easily accessed by a wide, clear trail of only about seven meters. The view of the falls and river, both upstream and down, is wide open and clear. This is one of the most impressive we’ve seen on a trail in this area thus far.
At five kilometers from the Southern trailhead (Station St) is a side trail to a coupla buildings of some sort. Anyway, it can be used as your (about) halfway indicator as it’s the only hint of humanity on this incredibly quiet trail. Well, quiet except for the pounding woodpeckers, chirping songbirds, drumming grouse, and deafening wood frogs (in April). Though water is almost always present, there are also lots of canopied forest stretches which will provide some welcome shade in the Summer months.
On the subject of Summer and silence … on our June return, we encountered a logging operation about 2.5 kms from the North end. They were harvesting trees from the fake forest (plantation forest planted to control erosion after failed farming attempts decades ago). As far as I’m concerned, they can have them. The vision of row upon row of the same pine species, all the same age, and planted like rows of corn, is offensive to anyone’s eye. Fortunately, these plantation forests can’t be seen from the trail unless you know exactly what you’re looking for through the mixed forests that line this trail. I just mention it, as the noise was distracting.
However, what wasn’t annoying was our first sighting of a Smooth Green Snake. Also, the Wife spotted a coupla patches of white morels. One patch yielded the biggest I’d ever seen ! And … yes … they were delicious.
You’ll notice a sign on the trail, just South of the waterfall mentioning a “Miner’s Loop Trail”. This is a tad misleading, as we started looking about for a looping side trail of some kind. However, it’s just indicating a mostly roadway driving “trail” circling around the Deloro and Marmora area and the sign on the trail we were on, just points out how there’s limestone on top of metamorphosed limestone (marble). Interesting geology, but don’t be looking for a “trail” that isn’t there.
Just in from the North trailhead (Malone Rd) there’s a small wetland which (on our first visit in April) was alive with the racket of wood frogs. At about 1.4 kms in, there’s a massive wetland that runs alongside the trail for about 1.25 kms.
The Final Take
This is a 9 km section of the Hastings Heritage rail trail. Therefore, it’s easily wide enough for two to walk side by side and is quite level. There are no facilities of any kind, not even parking, but there’s lots a roadside space for a car at both ends.
The 4 km (return) walk from the Station Rd. trailhead, to the 2nd bridge (just past the waterfall) is worthwhile for the views at any time of year. There’s a massive wetland near the North end. In the Spring, the wood frog riot of sound from the wetland half a kilometer in, was quite enjoyable. The rest of the trail is a mix of open sunshine and some welcome shady tree canopy.
We found the base of this trail rather difficult walking. We took two days to cover it (half-way and back from the South one day, and from the North, the next). It’s composed of large half-fist sized stone which is unstable due to ATV activity. Admittedly, I was in very light walking shoes ‘cause I have no tolerance for heat what-so-ever. You might do better with heavier hiking boots.
Have a nice walk,