Sometimes the simplest excursions are the best ones. We’re fortunate in the Bay of Quinte Region to be located on a waterfront which we can stroll alongside in all seasons, but what about further inland? Venture off the waterfront trails and you’ll find a vast network of Conservation Areas around lakes, ponds and creek systems. Each area boasts its’ own unique habitats to enjoy for the day, whether you’re a hiker, a biker or a beach bum.
Once a teeming experimental farm complex, Beaver Meadow is now a wildlife wetland for wood ducks, osprey and herons. It’s located a short drive out of Picton in Prince Edward County, and is a great option for when you’re looking for a short hiking trail. Beaver Meadow has two such trails, each ending at a lookout point with views of the wetland.
Another County gem, Little Bluff is one of the best kept secrets on Prince Edward Bay. Its long, narrow rock beach is secluded from the main park, accessible by a woodland trail leading down from the picnic area. With plenty of smooth rocks for skipping, you’ll find that entertainment comes easy at Little Bluff.
Just off Old Highway 2 in Belleville, you’ll notice an old stone-foundation barn on the side of the road. Pull in for a picnic, and you’ll find a network of woodlands and trails to be enjoyed by hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers and snowshoers – the old apple orchard on the property makes fall one of the best times to visit this conservation area.
Picnickers will find plenty of table space at Macaulay Mountain outside of Picton. The picnic area lies in the shadow of a steep 40m escarpment, named after UEL William Macaulay, who donated a large part of the land around the town of Picton. Mountain bikers will also rejoice, as this is one of the only regional areas with an escarpment of this degree.
North Hastings County is home to the McGeachie Conservation Area, slightly further north than many others but with plenty to see on a day trip. The property contains a centuries-old farmhouse from the original homestead, which is now available to the public as a rental cottage. Explore the wetlands around Steenburg Lake on over 350 acres of land.
Find out about more local conservation areas through Crowe Valley Conservation and Quinte Conservation.