The Alexander Hope Smith (Washago) Nature Reserve Trail Review

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The Alexander Hope Smith (Washago) Nature Reserve Trail Review

UPDATE – APRIL 30, 2022Once 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) hereThe 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 2021Our 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

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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,

Bushwhacker

8 comments

  1. Ingrid Kern · · Reply

    Hi Everyone, we hiked the Alexander Hope-Smith Nature Reserve Trail on August 15.
    An easy 3.5 km loop through lovely woods and along the water-lily-padded Black River. No claustophobic paths, no bugs, and a set of rock “chairs” overlooking the river, where we had our wine, cheese and sandwiches. Thanks, “2 Old Guys walking”. We plan to do many other of your recommended walks. Isn’t Ontario fabulous! Aren’t we all lucky to live here !!!
    Ingrid & David. Toronto

    Like

    1. Hello Ingrid,
      Yes Ontario is indeed a lovely place. We are most fortunate here. I’m glad you and David enjoyed the Alex Hope Smith trail, and I hope we can provide you many more enjoyable walk locations.
      Bushwhacker

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  2. The waterway you see from the rock chairs and other spots is named Boyd’s Creek. It flows into the Green River, which eventually flows into the Black. I’m a staff of the Conservancy and just happened to find your site. Thanks for visiting one of the places we help protect!

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    1. And I’ll thank you for your waterway name clarification Tanya. I have corrected my posted review. We have many more reviews of properties under your conservancy’s umbrella holding for publication timing.
      Bushwhacker

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  3. Ronald Kluger · · Reply

    The rock chairs have been vandalized – all the rocks but the one large base were thrown into the water. Some young fellows proudly took credit when I was there but who knows? It’s too bad,

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    1. Thanks for the (unfortunate) update Ronald. I simply can’t figure why anyone, who would be inclined to walk a peaceful trail through the woods, would be of the mind to vandalize that same trail. I mean … trail walkers are generally trail appreciators. I’ll amend my review to reflect this act of idiocy.
      Thanks again,
      Bushwhacker

      Like

  4. Ronald Kluger · · Reply

    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. The rock chairs remain under water. I met the young men who vandalized the chairs and they were proud of their efforts. I doubt that I persuaded them to retrieve the rocks.

    Like

    1. Thanks again Ronald, I hope you don’t mind, but your comment was so thorough and well written that I simply copied it directly to my latest update at the start of this review. We will return and review this trail again. I’ll probably just re-issue a whole new review at that time.
      Bushwhacker

      Like

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