Beaver Valley Bruce Trail: www.beavervalleybrucetrail.com
Bognor Marsh Area Trails: www.greysauble.on.ca
This is a unique area. In a short time period you can be standing on the brow of the Niagara Escarpment and looking down on the backs of turkey vultures as they soar on air currents above the marsh. Next, you can be searching the quiet waters of the marsh for amazing aquatic creatures, such as Water Boatmen, Giant Water Bugs and Caddisfly larvae. One of the largest marsh systems in Grey County, this management area encompasses 668 hectares of escarpment upland forests, three major marshes, reforested areas, natural regeneration areas, and several small springs feeding the marsh and stream system. A tributary of the Bighead River, joined by a feeder stream, runs easterly through the property. Water levels in the larger of the three marshes is controlled by a Ducks Unlimited dam, to enhance habitat for waterfowl and other marsh-living animals, birds and plants. At Bognor Marsh you will find 11.9 km of trails, an education shelter, boardwalks with interpretive signs, a viewing tower, access to the Bruce Trail and washroom facilities. A multi-use area, Bognor Marsh is visited by school classes, hikers, naturalists, birders and hunters, with little if any conflict.
Bruce Trail: www.brucetrail.org Some of the most picturesque sections of the continuous trail along the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory passes through the municipality of Meaford. Sections of the trail can be used year round for hiking, cross-country skiing, and snow shoeing. The trail is marked with a white blaze on the trees. Stop into the Chamber office for a copy of the Bruce Trail Guide.
Georgian Trail: http://webhome.idirect.com/~brown/webdoc4.htm
The trail is 35 km long and is constructed with fine granular that should give no difficulty to bikes with even the thinnest tires. It starts on the west side of Collingwood and runs south of Hwy 26 to almost Thornbury. There are glimpses of Georgian Bay to north, and the ski hills frame the trail on the left. Not far from Thornbury the trail crosses to the north side of the highway (be very careful crossing here), and continues into the village. It crosses the Beaver River on an old trestle/girder bridge with a new deck, and it is worth stopping to see the view and to watch the people fishing. Past Thornbury the trails climbs steadily and the shoreline moves quite far to the north. It passes through a couple of apple orchards, then descends into Meaford and ends near the harbour. It is difficult to prefer one section to another. Adjacent lands are not generally forested so there are good views across the countryside (bring plenty of sun lotion). The Meaford end is more tranquil because the trail is away from the highway, while the Collingwood end has the ski hills and glimpses of Georgian Bay. It is regrettable that we don’t better see the bay, but the traveler can always take a side trip.
Hibou Conservation Area. Contact: Grey Sauble Conservation Authority Phone: 519-376-3076
Take a walk on the wild side by exploring recently developed hiking trails across the road from Paynter’s Bay. Along the 2.56 kilometer trail you will find interpretive signs with information on tree and shrub species, beaver activities, wildflowers, beach ridges, etc. Many stretches of the trail incorporate boardwalk to allow hikers to navigate the low-lying wet areas of the trail system.
Tom Thomson Trail: www.tomthomsontrail.com
Trout Hollow Trail: www.bigheadriver.org
Evidence of John Muir’s time in Meaford can be found by walking along Meaford’s Trout Hollow trail. The trail is an easy to moderate 14km hike along the Big Head River, and you will see for yourself the natural beauty that inspired Muir. The Canadian Friends of John Muir, now part of the Big Head River Foundation (BHRF) are devoted to upkeep of Trout Hollow Trail and keeping the memory of John Muir alive.