The Christie Bentham Wetland (Burleigh Falls) Trails Review

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The Christie Bentham Wetland (Burleigh Falls) Trails Review

Christie Bentham Location Map-min

I’d been following the Kawartha Land Trust’s progress on this one for quite some time. Finally, in late October I received their newsletter announcing the completion of these trails, so off we went. There are four named trails here and they range in length from 0.7 kms to 2.0 kms. for a total of 5.2 kms. They’re actually three loops, with connecting trails between them.

Christie Bentham Trail Map-min

From Peterborough, take Cty Rd #4 (from Parkhill Rd E) for 7.5 kms to Cty Rd #28. Go North on Cty Rd #28 for 22.2 kms to Juniper Point Rd. The well signed parking area is about 400 meters down Juniper Point Rd on the right. There’s room for about 8 cars. This link will open Google Maps at the parking area : https://goo.gl/maps/UB9fwpcmp9wLikw76

After 2 solid days of rain, the Wife and I sorely needed a cabin fever remedy. This set of trails was just the cure we needed. They offered up one of the most diverse bush walking experiences we’ve seen in some time. Since all totalled, the trails are only 5.2 kms long, we opted to simply start walking and take any trail intersections to the left. Once we hit Kawartha Park Rd. we’d turn around and take every intersection to the left again, to cover all the trails.

On that note, I would recommend you start from the (North) Juniper Point Rd parking area. While the trail map does show a parking spot on (South) Kawartha Park Rd., there was too much road walking to get to the trails for our likings. From Juniper Point Rd, you get right into a most unusual terrain for a trail base. These trails are on the shore of Stony Lake, and stony is a valid adjective for both the lake and these trails.

The Juniper Point Trail (from the parking area) to the Michael’s Limestone Ridge Trail has some of the weirdest trailbed under your feet. The whole trail is across a tortured, cracked rock surface, covered in mosses. Every few steps will expose a gaping crack in the trailbed, with some being half a meter deep. Not hazardous though, as they’re easily seen and stepped over, but fascinating to crouch down and peer into. All around you are glacially desposited mounds of moss covered stone, ranging in size from a toolbox to a small car.

Juniper Point Trail

Walking the East side of the Michael’s Limestone Ridge Trail was exactly that. We strolled along the bottom edge of a heavily mossed limestone ridge always visible to our side. A unique and pretty experience.

Christie Bentham Ridge Trail

We continued taking intersections to the left and so headed downhill to the Ruth’s Wetland Explorer Trail. This one leads down to, and along the shore of, Mackenzie Bay in Stony Lake. The trail runs along between the water and a number of huge rock outcroppings just as it begins to loop back. There are a coupla boardwalks and then a climb back up to the Kawartha Park Trail. From here, there’s a spur trail that will take you to a view of the lake.

Christie Bentham Wetland Trail

We took the Kawartha Park Trail to the road and turned around to return walking the West side of the trails back. I’ll mention at this point that we looked for a parking area on Kawartha Park Rd. but didn’t find anything with signage. So, I’m not sure, but we did see a wide spot that would suffice though it would involve a dull cottage road walk to the trail system. Hence, my recommendation to use the Northern parking.

The return along the West side was lovely upland forest and meandered through meadows of junipers.

Christie Bentham Return to Juniper Trail

The Final Take

These trails cover numerous ecosystems, from lowland forests, through wetland environments, to upland forests and meadows. The cracked puzzle – like limestone base of the Juniper Point Trail was a unique experience. Mosses abound as do mounds of various sized stones, and glacial erratics are scattered everywhere. There are ridges of moss covered limestone lining sections of trail, and ample views of open water. Just as an example, I burned 230 pictures in our time here. We walked in late October, but saw plenty of wildflower evidence for a Spring walk.

The trails are a blend of single file, and wide enough for two to walk side by side. The only hill was down and back up from the wetland and it wasn’t any challenge. There are no power vehicles allowed, and dogs must be leashed. Apparently, these trails were well known and used by locals for quite some time before coming under the KLT umbrella, and I’m pleased to report they were immaculately clean.

The trail markers are colored (trail specific) diamonds and along the trails there are plenty full trail maps, complete with “you are here” indications by a black dot, at your location. There are two parking areas (the Juniper Point Rd. lot being preferred). Otherwise, there are no other facilities.

Though designated as a “wetland”, there is so much more to be enjoyed here. Our thanks go to the Kawartha Land Trust for an excellent effort.

Have a nice walk,

Bushwhacker

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