The Haliburton County Rail Trail (Kinmount) Geeza Rd to Howland Review

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The Haliburton County Rail Trail (Kinmount) Geeza Rd to Howland  Review

We passed this trail en route to the beautiful Dahl Forest at the end of Geeza Rd. From the satellite view it looked like a few wetlands, and an open water pond, and a bridge might be our reward for the seven kilometer (one-way) walk.

Getting here is, as stated above, just before the Dahl Forest. Head North from Kinmount on Cty Rd 121 for 8 kms to Gelert rd (#1). At 5 kms on Gelert rd turn right onto Geeza rd. At less than 60 meters from Gelert, you’ll see the trail cross the road. There’s parking space on both sides of Geeza Rd. This link will open Google Maps at the crossroad : https://goo.gl/maps/sRQAmKgt9cSMfAR18

I’ll describe this stretch of trail from Geeza Rd. and heading South. We parked off road on the cleared patch of property just North-East of the trail entrance from Geeza Rd. There are numerous patches of wetland from this end, and forested stretches which mix to provide shady strolls, and stretches of open sky.

The forested sections will provide shade in the Summer. However, in mid September when we walked it, they provided us a windbreak as the morning breeze was rather bracing. Then again, the sight of three Nodding Ladies’ Tresses Orchids in full bloom, made me forget the temperature right smartly. As if that wasn’t thrill enough, I was about to shout “Gentians !” when the Wife beat me to it. Both sides of the trail were literally littered with Fringed Gentians, and we both saw them at the same time. I snapped some fifty pictures across a quarter kilometer stretch of trail, ‘cause you just don’t see the fringed ones very often. The weather hadn’t been co-operating, as the full sunshine day we’d been promised hadn’t materialized yet. But then, taking macro shots of flowers doesn’t necessarily benefit from bright sunlight so I didn’t mind too much.

The sun finally made it’s full appearance as we approached one of the loveliest unnamed (and unpopulated) ponds I’ve ever seen on a rail trail. Actually, there are ponds with open water on both sides of the trail. The trail curves as it passes through the water making a stunning photo op.

The ponds have sloping granite banks, marshy patches and floating hummocks of sphagnum moss offshore. Hummocks of moss with Pitcher Plants on them I might add. The Wife caught sight of those, as she could see the flowering heads over the grasses on the hummocks. ***Some of the images in the .GIF below are from Pitcher plants in our Home bog garden. I couldn’t get close enough to the ones out on the pond, but I want you to see what they look like. ***

Near the Southern end of the ponds you’ll hear running water that will lead you to the beaver dam that created/maintains these ponds. You’ll also find our favourite, to date, trail lunch location. A gorgeous granite bench has been erected over-looking a bay of the pond.

Not wishing to give the impression that these two ponds are all the water there is here. Before the ponds, there are numerous wetlands and flowing streams alongside, and under the trail. As well, after the ponds there are more streams, and the banks of the Burnt River are often less than 100 meters away. You can hear and even see it’s sparkling waters through the trees to the East. Also after the ponds, the granitic outcrops back in the bush and rock-cuts along the trail increase in frequency.

There are some mysterious wide spots on the Southern end. One looked to have been freshly shored up with huge rocks and the approach, seeded with grass. I can understand why it was shored up, but the grassy plain ? Maybe to hold from erosion until the natural plantlife fills in ? From there, you’ll continue through some more canopied forest with impressive rock-cuts.

To finish up this section of trail you’ll come to a fairly long, high bridge over the Burnt River, which will provide you a lovely photo op.

At this point, I’d advise you return to your ride on Geeza Rd. as the rest of the trail to Howland becomes a bit too urban (and not a terribly pretty urban either, if you know what I mean).

Geeza Rd. North to Milburn Rd. (2.75 kms one-way)

If you want a bit longer a walk, the trail North from Geeza Rd. goes to Milburn Rd. It’s a short, and not terribly interesting stretch, with a tiny pond and some rock-cuts on it. The first 0.5 kms walks right alongside Gelert Rd. but Gelert veers off to the West for the rest of it’s length.

The Final Take

This stretch of the Haliburton County Rail Trail is about seven kilometers one way. I recommend you start from the North end at Geeza Rd. (just 1.5 kms from the lovely Dahl Forest further down Geeza Rd). So, you could combine this rail trail with a visit to the Forest if fourteen kms isn’t enough for you.

I also suggest you park at the North end as, there’s no parking available at any of the South end road accesses. The locals were a bit testy about it when we parked without noticing the “No Parking” sign (in the shadows, back in the woods) on a tree at the roadside. Don’t let that story deter you from walking this stretch of trail though. We were passed (on the trail) by a few ATVers who were very kind and considerate of walkers. So, perhaps we just ran into the only “difficult” resident in the area. Regardless, as stated, once you pass the bridge the trail takes a turn for the trashy anyway.

This stretch of trail has wetlands, open water, rock-cuts, and in September, scads of rarely seen Fringed Gentians and wild, native Orchids. Carnivourous Pitcher plants are visible on hummocks in the pond as well. The trail is an old railbed, so it’s mostly flat (with one odd dip near the South end), and is wide enough for two to walk side by side with ease. The granite bench at the pond is almost exactly at the halfway point and makes a perfect spot for a trail lunch. The pond itself is gorgeous anyway.

Have a nice walk,

Bushwhacker

3 comments

  1. Hi there,

    This was a really interesting read for me! I can relate to the concept of exploring the back woods looking for history. I’ve just walked an old forgotten trail myself. Called the Augusta to Busselton Heritage Trail, it follows the tracks of early European colonists in the south-west of Australia. It’s been seriously neglected for a number of reasons, firstly because there are unresolved issues with colonialism and Indigenous people. Secondly, we also have the famous Cape to Cape Track which follows the coastline near Margaret River, and this gets all the attention! The back track through the forest is wild and a bit intimidating for many people.

    I’ve been promising to write the walk up so that other people can do it, but I couldn’t think of a way to mark out a map. For some reason when the Trail was devised in 1988 they didn’t make a map, and I had to figure it out myself by pre-walking it in sections. I noted with interest your method of working on small areas and supplying a section map for each. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow your method!

    Happy rambling!

    Like

    1. Hello Jinni,
      Please feel free to use anything you need from our site. I believe it’s up to people like you and us to make our wild areas accessible to novice walkers. It’s the best way to get people out there. Once they experience it, they’ll have a voice to support them. I visited your site and it’s most impressive. As my British friend “Joe the Cocker” says … It’s good to read of distant lands.
      Bye for now,
      Bushwhacker

      Like

      1. It is indeed, but best of all is to walk our own! Thanks for sharing 🙂

        Like

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