***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 Alexander Hope Smith (Washago) Nature Reserve Trail Review
UPDATE – APRIL 30, 2022 – Once again, our thanks to Ronald Kluger for his update on this trail. We will re-visit to review the new trail the next time we’re in the area. I have copied Ronald’s comment (including a link to the new trail map) here : The Conservancy staff has changed the trail marking system and adopted the previously anonymous trail that continues east from the site of the rock chairs to Riverdale Drive. So, the main trail now goes from Riverdale Drive to —Riverdale Drive. It has white markers and the side loops are marked with blue, like a mini version of the Bruce Trail. The added part on the east end crosses two low-volume streams that can usually be crossed without getting wet (except the day you go there). Boardwalks are in a planning stage. The new map https://couchichingconserv.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Alexander-Hope-Smith-Website-Map-Avenza-July-2021.pdf is very accurate, including the recent signage update. It also shows the road accesses very well.
UPDATE – June 7 2021 – Our thanks to Ronald Kluger for informing us that the rock chairs at the end of this trail have been vandalized. I have crossed out any reference to them in my review below. Bushwhacker
This one is a real adventure to find. So, I’m gonna dispense with my usual “do it myself so no one can accuse me of plagiarism” stuff and copy this from the Couchiching Conservancy site : Directions begin in downtown Washago (corner of County Road 169 and Muskoka Street): Drive north on Muskoka Street 1.7 km to Cooper’s Falls Road; turn right onto Cooper’s Falls Road and go 1.7 km to Riverdale Drive; turn right onto Riverdale drive and go 2.9 km to end of road (this road is shaped like a “J”… follow it to the dead-end cul-de-sac). Trailhead sign is on right, just prior to cul-de-sac. Park on road side or in cul-de-sac.
What I’ll do is give you the Google Maps location link here :https://goo.gl/maps/X5fzG7hbk5P2fNjEA
This approximately 3.5 km trail is single file walking for it’s entirety, and it’s all about the view of
the Black River Boyd’s Creek (Thanks to Tanya Clark – Couchiching Conservancy, for the correction) at the end of the 2nd loop. I found this trail to be very “close” (speaking as a claustrophobe), meaning I felt slightly closed in. It’s actually a linear (return) trail with one side trail, and a small loop at the end. We chose to cover it all by simply staying to the right, until completing the loop. We took the side trail on our return trip which provided more views of the creek.
The trail to the
rock chairs and creek was a blend of lowland damp scrub brush, upland forest, and granite base as well as glacial erratics. There are a number of boardwalks provided over the wetter areas.
As stated, the high point of this trail seems to be the end loop, and the view of the creek. It was certainly pretty enough to prompt us to take a seat
on the “rock chairs” and have our lunch. The stone chairs were remarkably comfortable too.
The Final Take
This is a short (3.5 km) walk through a mix of forests, granite outcrops and glacial erratics. It culminates in a view of Boyd’s Creek from a granite outcrop
with a set of charming (and oddly comfortable) stone chairs. We’d been spoiled by other trails in the Muskoka area (like The Thomas C Agnew Nature Reserve), and were disappointed not to spot any unique/rare wildflowers though. It’s a well marked, single file trail with boardwalks provided where needed, and hasn’t any hills worthy of note. There are no facilities, save the stone chairs at the lookout and parking is at the end of the road just past the trailhead.
Have a nice walk,