10+ conservation areas plus thousands of acres of parks and recreational spaces means there’s no shortage of places to explore in the Bay of Quinte region. While the fall colours make for beautiful hikes, the snowy trails are worth digging out your snow pants! With a thermos of hot cocoa, warm gear and a pair of sturdy boots, snowshoes or cross-country skis, you’ll be ready to take on the trails in no time. Here are five local spots to get you started.
Care to travel back in time, about 2.3 billion years? Skip the time travel and instead take a walk down the 1.5-km loop trail to the Bleasdell Boulder. Also known as Glen Miller Rock, the Boulder is one of the largest-known glacial erratics in North America. The Boulder measures 13.4 metres long, 7.3 metres wide and 6.7 metres high, making for an awesome photo opp. If you’re keen to go geocaching, you may be interested in the on-site EarthCache, which provides a basic lesson in local geology!
The little-known secret spot known as Bata Island is just 10 minutes north of the 401. Head north on County Road 33 (Trenton-Frankford Road) along the Trent River until you arrive in the village of Frankford. Continue another kilometre or so until you see a small, unmarked driveway just opposite Huffman Road on the east side of the road. Once you park you’ll see the small bridge crossing the river. The island trails are flat and straightforward (mind the occasional tree root!), but the quiet paths make it a great escape from the city.
At 341 acres, there’s plenty of room to roam at HR Frink Conservation Area. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you explore the Cedar Creek Lookout or the newly-renovated 500-metre marsh boardwalk. 13 kilometres of trails will lead you through snowy deciduous forest and a variety of different habitats. Many of the trails intersect, so you can make your adventure a short jaunt or spend the entire afternoon in the great outdoors.
Five minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Belleville you can explore open meadows and scenic woodlands at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area. The conservation area runs both north and south of Old Highway 2 on what was once an old farm with a small orchard. The north side offers six longer trails, while on the south side of the highway you’ll have your choice of four shorter trails, and two lookout paths for a scenic look at the Bay of Quinte. (If you time it right, you may spot some folks ice fishing!)
On the north shores of Lake Ontario, the L-shaped Presqu’ile Provincial Park is so much more than a summer beach destination! Hike or cross-country ski along any of the park’s 16 kilometres of trails, shorelines and forest paths this winter and you’ll see what we mean. The Presqu’ile Point Lighthouse, at the southern end of the park along the Lighthouse Foot Path, is the second-oldest operating lighthouse in Ontario. Local history buffs will be curious to learn more about the region’s history of shipwrecks along those shores.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the many trails to explore this winter. Staying close to home means uncovering the great outdoors in our own backyard.
Before you hit the road to your hiking destination, make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape, including your car battery with CAA’s Mobile Battery Service. Save and earn with CAA Rewards on restaurants, hotels, and car rentals in the BoQ to get discounts on your winter adventures. In fact, you can use CAA Mobile Apps to track all CAA Rewards partners nearby. Need a car to get to and from the trails? CAA makes it easy to book car rentals with Alamo, Enterprise or National car rentals and get CAA Member discounts. Book your overnight package in Bay of Quinte at the CAA Belleville store.