“Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.” Katrina Mayer
I couldn’t agree more. Fresh air, birds singing, the sound of running water – how can you go wrong? Today, I’d like to tell you about five of our nature reserves that are ideal for hiking and reconnecting with nature. I consider these properties to be hidden gems. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you will have to drive a few hours to get to them, but trust me – they are worth the drive.
Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary
Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary:At 470 hectares, this is our largest nature reserve. It’s home to a diversity of warblers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, white-tailed deer, moose, beaver, moccasin flower, showy lady’s slipper and many more species. On this property, you will truly feel like you’re walking through a pristine forest.
Malcolm Bluff Shores: This is my favourite reserve, and at 423 hectares, it’s our second largest. The hiking trail traverses six distinct geologic formations and offers remarkable views of the shoreline. Black bears, scarlet tanagers, ovenbirds, Canada warblers and peregrine falcons have been seen on this property.
Petrel Point: Known as a garden of wildflowers, especially orchids, this 33-hectare nature reserve is located north of Owen Sound. It is a spectacular example of Great Lakes coastal meadow marsh, a globally rare habitat.
Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve
Cawthra Mulock:Located north of the Oak Ridges Moraine in Newmarket, this reserve is a 108-hectare wildlife refuge. Hiking through forests and along creeks, you may come upon white-tailed deer, red fox, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks, great-horned owls and a great number of painted turtles.
Kinghurst Forest:Want the old growth forest experience, without having to travel to northern California? The mature maple-beech forest in this 281-hectare reserve is a rare example of pre-settlement woodlands in southern Ontario. Many of the trees are 250-300 years old!
Ontario Nature’s promise to protect wild spaces and wild species is upheld in our 2,600-hectare network of nature reserves. We want you to celebrate this success with us by enjoying our reserves and fostering a close relationship with other species.
See you on the trails!
Kavita Dogra has been with Ontario Nature for two years. In her new role as community engagement coordinator, she attends outreach events to discuss the organization's programs and how people can join our community.