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The No Exit Road and Road Allowance Trails of Northumberland County – Western Region
Back in 2013, I had an idea of starting a weblog to list all the trails at the ends of No Exit roads, and road allowances in our immediate area of Northumberland County. Before I could do that, I found a wide audience, and demand for reviews of publicly funded and handled trails. So now, eight years later, I’m finally getting to my initial objective. There are a mess of “go nowhere” trails and unmaintained roads all over Northumberland County and this posting will show every one that I’m aware of (or, are at least worth walking). Any that can be combined to make loops out of, I’ve already issued reviews on. These are simply “out and back” trails at the ends of No Exit roads or simply road allowances that connect paved, driveable roads.
These walks vary from gravel roads, to totally unkept road allowances overgrown with trees and plants. They’re generally only good for a short walk with or without a dog. We often use them to forage berries, nuts, and mushrooms. I’ve seen some horse riding on them, but rarely, if ever, ATVs or dirt bikes. They just aren’t long enough or challenging enough for that kind of activity. That’s what makes their locations worthwhile knowing, to walkers.
Trail at the End of Loyalist Rd. (0.75 kms one-way)
Actually, we like to start this one from the intersection of Loyalist and Anderson roads, and walk Loyalist to the trail at it’s end. The road is 2.0 kms one-way, and there are only two houses on it so there’s not much road activity. Actually, I would recommend you start from the intersection and walk the road as there’s virtually no parking space on Loyalist at all. The road often has all kinds of deer tracks on it, and we’ve seen the deer, in broad daylight too.
The Apiary “Dancing Bee” is the 1st of the two houses on the road. In the season, you can hear the steady drone of their bees all around you. There’s also a pretty little pond along the way with lots of aquatic wildlife in it. On that subject, we’ve heard the drumming of more grouse on the road than anywhere else. We’ve heard tree frogs and the croaking of thousands of Wood frogs back in the bush on this road as well.
The trail at the end of the road is actually used by a few locals to access their properties, so it’s wide and easy walking. Just stay on the trail. It will burst out of the bush at a Hydro corridor. That’s as far as I will suggest you walk. However, you’ll notice two more trails that go in opposing directions along the corridor. I know these aren’t part of any road allowances like Loyalist, but I mention them ‘cause you’re gonna see them. They both just terminate at cultivated fields, so they basically go nowhere. They’re both about an additional kilometer (one – way) long. The one to the right (East) just follows the hydro corridor while the other one (West ) cuts diagonally across, and through, some woods. I assume you’ll be walking on someone’s private property on either trail, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
This link will open Google Maps at the intersection of Anderson and Loyalist Rds (the No Exit trail is at the end of Loyalist) : https://goo.gl/maps/1jUHpaCUZWAtgNRL8
I’ll mention here that if you’re interested in Bald Eagles, we usually see a few whenever the salmon or trout are running in the Ganaraska River, when we walk or drive Anderson Rd.
The Trail between 5th Line and Dodd’s Rd. (0.9 kms one-way)
There’s virtually no parking at the 5th Line for this one, but there’s ample parking at the end of Dodd’s road. This link will open Google Maps at Dodd’s Rd. : https://goo.gl/maps/E6RBF4Xb4uNhbnEy7
For the longest time, the Wife was apprehensive to walk it, as it appears to be very scrubby from the 5th Line (and the lack of parking). However, once we found good parking at the end of Dodd’s road, she enjoyed the walk immensely. It’s basically a climb up the West side of a steep hill, a short level walk along the crest, then a much less steep, and more gradual walk down the North side to the 5th Line. That’s another good reason to start at Dodd’s road as it’ll be down the steeper end, back to your ride.
I hadn’t walked it in decades and was pleasantly surprised to find someone had been keeping it up very well. There was even a custom made bench over-looking the vista to the West that someone had built and signed as “Dodd’s Road Sunset View”. I’m tempted to test it some evening.
One of the views (other than the promised sunset) is of a most impressive stone “oracle” – like structure. It was probably built by the same talented stone worker responsible for the gorgeous stone wall at the last house on Dodd’s road.
Ridgeview Rd. (1.25 kms one – way)
To the West off Cty rd # 65 is the 7th Line. It’s name changes to Ridgeview rd. at the sharp right turn at it’s end. Another 900 meters on Ridgeview will bring you to an unmaintained road which, though it can be driven, rarely is. It makes a lovely walk up to the Ganaraska Rd # 9. Of course, by “up to” I mean it’s an uphill walk (but not a climb). There’s a small uphill grade to a level stretch, and then a somewhat steeper stretch up to the Ganaraska Rd. which will reward you with a panoramic view.
In early November, there was an impressive display of bittersweet berries. Then, we watched a conflaguration between a group of pileated woodpeckers which were more interested in fighting than posing for me, unfortunately. The forested ridge to the West is composed of a mix of various tree species and a clear understorey. To the East are continuing vistas of the countryside culminating at the crest of Ganaraska Rd.
I would definitely advise you park at the South end so you’ll have a nice downhill walk back to your ride. This link will open Google Maps at the end of Ridgeview : https://goo.gl/maps/4JjbcNzH3VYbTVhg9
Knoxville Road (1.2 kms one – way)
The unmaintained section of Knoxville is 1.2 kms, but the walk from the intersection at Knoxville and the 6th Line will add another 0.8 kms (one – way) if you’d like to walk it too. It’s a pretty stroll but I’ll warn you of a very steep hill on the way to the unmaintained section up to the 7th Line.
An advantage of parking at the 6th Line and Knoxville intersection is the proximity to The Knoxville / 6th Line trails, which you could combine with this one since you’ll already be parked near it. This link will open Google Maps at the location : https://goo.gl/maps/dhbrXcf3bGws1keQ6
The unmaintained section is a gentle rise up to the 7th Line. It’s very exposed to the Sun so we only walk it in the cooler seasons. Along the way, there’s an abandoned, foundation on the East side between two cultivated fields. I don’t know if it was a house or a farm building, but the foundation is made of stone so it’s fairly old.
Hawkins Rd (0.95 kms one – way)
This unmaintained road runs parallel to the paved Cranberry rd. from Choate rd to the Dale rd (#74). Though it runs downhill to the Dale rd, pretty much everyone parks at the top of the hill on Choate rd. That’s probably because it’s less active than Dale rd. and there’s a residence about 200 meters from Dale rd. which is maintained as they use it for their driveway. It’s quite wide enough for two to walk it’s entire length and it’s very popular with local dog walkers. There are some lovely views of the surrounding farmland from the heights and a picturesque old rustic barn at the residence near the bottom. There’s no shade at all on it, so it’ll be hot in the Summer, but it makes a nice walk to see the Fall colours sprawling off to the North. This link will open Google Maps at the Choate rd access : https://goo.gl/maps/eYHWuRLrHDrAmeoZ9
Woolacott Lane (1.0 kms one – way)
Woolacott lane isn’t marked with a sign, but it’s kinda hard to miss as it runs off to the East, right between the two railroad bridges on Willow Beach road (North from Lakeshore Rd.). This link will open Google Maps at the location : https://goo.gl/maps/iYBJQT6Tr9wuHeEL6
It’s a gentle uphill walk to an open clearing where you can look down at trains on both sides of you. Ranger and I sometimes lunch up there and wave to the engineers as they roll past. We can always count on a horn blast and a wave back.
On the way up Woolacott, you’ll see a tiny culvert to the North side which looks remarkably new, though it displays a date of 1912. The laneway is only 700 meters, but you’ll notice a trail heading off to the East across a grassy meadow at the top. I don’t know if this is private property, but it isn’t marked as such and, of course, there are ATV tracks along it. I’ll mention here that Google Maps satellite view shows Woolacott lane crossing the tracks and going to a farm on the South side of the tracks. It doesn’t, but there might have been a bridge over the tracks at one time.
When you get to the end of the grassy meadow (200 meters East of the “parking area” at the top of the hill), you’ll encounter a very steep walk down to the stream. When the Wife and I walked it in late July, we scared-up a white tailed doe who was too fast for my shutter finger. At the bottom of the hill the stream flows through a beautiful old, unusually long, tunnel not very far to the South. There’s bound to be another off to the North, but the terrain was too overgrown for us to seek it out in July. I got an almost eerie feeling down in the valley with the stream and old bridge, but I still enjoyed the walk. Looking way up at trains that, twenty minutes earlier, I was looking down at, was a unique feeling.
Featherstone Lane (2 kms one – way Yes, this one is a bit outside Northumberland County, but … close enough)
This one is unmarked with signage from Oak Hill Rd. which I would suggest you park at, as opposed to the Ganaraska #9 Rd at it Southern end. The reason being is that Oak Hill Rd. is very much quieter for parking, and there’s no residences to cause parking issues. Also, most importantly, the only steep hill on it is just at the Ganaraska Rd #9 end so you can elect not to bother with it. It just climbs up to the only residence on Featherstone where you can see the Ganaraska Road a coupla hundred meters away. This link will open Google Maps at the Oak Hill end : https://goo.gl/maps/758kXgKCPb9C1tFf6
The Ganaraska Forest is to the East side of this trail/road, and there are a coupla trails leading off into it. Don’t bother with them because you need a daypass to use the Forest and … quite frankly … you couldn’t pay me to enter the Ganaraska Forest. The other side is a thin band of trees before becoming cultivated fields. You’ll pass under some hydro towers along the way too.
Otherwise, to be honest with you, the only reason to walk this one is because it’s flat as a pancake and easy walking (except at it’s extreme South end) and well wide enough for two to walk side by side. There’s no water, no vistas, no interesting plants nor animals (we saw some deer tracks, but we see them everywhere around here). It’d be a good place to unleash your dog for a good run and sniff around I suppose.
The Field Access off the 7th Line (1.2 kms one – way)
This one is still a mystery after many years of familiarity. I know it’s not an unmaintained road, nor a road allowance (ie – not public property). I’ve never seen any signage disallowing access, and the few people I’ve met walking it, couldn’t tell me whose property it is either, but they tell me they’ve walked it for years themselves. Due to the topography, it’s obviously a farmer’s field access, but it’s so beautiful a walk, that I had to include it in here. Just be warned … I don’t know who owns the land, but it definitely IS NOT public property. It seems the owner is kind enough not to plaster NO TRESPASSING nor PRIVATE PROPERTY signs all over it, like pretty-much everyone else does. It’s not abandoned land either, as you will see the crops growing to the sides of it. This link will open Google Maps at the location : https://goo.gl/maps/m44h6sh4UxumF7Nb7
So, having stated all that, please do not block the 7th Line access by parking your vehicle right in front of it. The owner might need to get large equipment in or out, so park a good distance down the 7th Line leaving plenty of room for heavy equipment to come and go at any time of the year. If we all behave respectfully, we just might be able to continue to enjoy this walk for years to come (assuming the owner even knows we’ve been walking it).
Now, this one starts with a gradual incline to a lovely vista across open fields to the distant hills. You’ll walk along a level plane between the fields in bright sunlight until you approach a forested section. This piece of forest will present you with a bit of a challenge. The trees hide a VERY steep decline until you come to the opening at the bottom, which is still high enough to present a lovely view to the North. The trail ends here though, and it’s a cardio workout climbing back up to the height of land. The steepness and distance is clearly visible from the top, so you can decide for yourself if you’re up to it.
Gilmore Rd (0.75 kms one – way – Yes, I know this one is also just outside Northumberland County but only by 800 meters so … you know, get over it)
This is a very short, yet a very pretty, little walk between Concessions 3 & 4 just Northeast of Newtonville. The paved road at the South end is pleasant enough to walk as well, which would add another 1.25 kms (one – way). The road (of course) and the trail are both wide enough for two to walk side by side. If you wanna do the road as well, you could park on Gilmore at Concession # 3 and head North. We usually start from the North end at Concession # 4. This link will open Google Maps at the North end : https://goo.gl/maps/mUgRWLefMLk39dwg7
From this end, you’ll walk through a stately forest with a clear understorey, then down a slight grade to the wetland. There are two bridges across the meandering stream feeding/draining the wetland, which provide some lovely photo ops as well.
The only problem we found with this trail, is in the early Spring and the dead of Summer. In the Spring, it tends to flood out near the south end, and in the Summer, it was so overgrown we couldn’t see anything. So, enjoy this one in the Fall and through the Winter.
The Final Take
These are nine trails we know of, and use, in this block. There are a few others, but these are our favourites. They’re not all spectacular, but when we don’t feel like driving for hours to take a walk, or if we’ve only got an hour or two to spare, they fit the bill quite nicely thank you.
Have a nice walk,