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Harold Town CA (Peterborough) Trails Review
For the longest time, I thought this CA was strictly a mountain bike domain. Then, as I grew desperate for places near Home to walk, I came across some comments from walkers on the I’Net. So, long story short, we dropped by in April (Waaaay to wet that early in the season) and so again, in June. There were still a few wet spots in June, but they could’ve been due to rain the night before. After having walked it the day after a rain, I’d suggest … don’t even think of walking these trails if there’s been rain within 24 hours. The base can be very slippery (as we found out).
Oddly, we’ve been here twice, and have yet to even see a bicycle. Though the trails are obviously both designed and used by cyclists, all we saw were walkers and joggers.
I realize walking a trail made for cyclists isn’t many walkers’ idea of a good time. Alot of the trails zigzag and wiggle back and forth within a meter of each other. This CA is basically a big hill with a mess of trails up and down, and round and round all over it. However, there is an interesting diversity of rather attractive trails here. We didn’t walk every trail in the CA since there are so many, so close together. What we did was choose a spread of trails that had differing attributes. So, we chose to do one around the outer rim of the hill, and a couple within the same loop at height, possibly finding a lookout or something.
We started by heading South-West on the Runway trail, to walk the base of the hill before making the climb. At about half it’s length, the trail turns toward the hill and starts to climb. We carried on up the hill to find a pleasant meadow – like environment with scattered patches of shrubbery and stands of trees at the plateau. As we continued on, I was sure there’d be a lookout somewhere further toward the parking lot since the hill looked so steep from there. After a bit, I could see a view coming up straight off the trail. We kept on seeking out the highest point, until we found it. A lovely little lookout without any hoopla. Just a picnic table and the abandoned concrete base
of a tower of some kind of a ski hill “T” bar lift. UPDATE – August 6 2021 – Thanks to our reader Eric May for pointing out that this CA was the former Cedar Mountain Ski Hill.
After a nice lunch break up there, we began to descend to the parking lot when the Wife expressed a desire to go back a bit and descend on the Screaming Trees trail. I normally don’t care for cedar forests, but this was a unique experience, and not just a little disorientating. The trail ran precariously close to the edge of a steep drop with the other side going up at about a 45 degree angle. A weird feeling, and all in the dark of a creepy cedar forest despite broad daylight all around.
Once back at ground level, we came across the Kessel Run trail which claims to be 2 km long, but that’s only if you wanna ride a bike literally zigzagging one pace footstep from the turnback trail at every turn. We just walked across the trails at our leisure, wandering wherever we wanted to. The entire base of this trail was completely different from the others in that it was composed of sun baked, dry fist sized stone.
The Final Take
Unfortunately, there were no interesting wildflowers, open water, bridges, boardwalks, or any wildlife we usually look for in a trail. However, there is a nice lookout, and three different styles of trail and ecosystems. Parking is ample and the trails are a blend of single file and two walking side by side. I wouldn’t suggest walking a dog here because dogs and bikes might not mix well and some of these trails are quite narrow. Despite never seeing a bike, I saw plenty of tracks so I know they’re here. I would avoid this place on a weekend ‘cause I suspect that’s when they show up, (we only visited on week-days). I didn’t list trail distances because biking trails are so winding and zig-zagging, and so interconnected that it’s not worth the bother of following any particular trail from start to finish. Just choose a direction, and wander until you cross another trail that goes in the direction you’re interested in.
This is a pleasant little CA which I wouldn’t drive far to walk, but if you’re nearby, or plan to be, it’d be a pleasant diversion for a coupla hours.
Have a nice walk,