The Ring Kiln Side Trail - Natural Ontario
Albion Hills Conservation Area

Albion Hills Conservation Area

Sticking with the Conservation Area theme, I decided to visit a place I hadn’t been to in almost 15 years. Albion Hills Conservation Area was the destination of our grade 7 outdoors education program, and in high school it hosted a number of extra-curricular visits. I still remember some of the games we played, meals we had and friends I made, but this visit was a chance to create some new memories.

It was only a week since we were in the area visiting Cold Creek Conservation Area for a short hike, but this time we wanted a little more distance. I picked Albion Hills because it has a 8.6km trail (the red trail) which I figured we could stretch to 10+km if we wanted to. The red trail is the longest trail in the park and it has a number of side trails that you can travel if 8.6km isn’t quite enough. The green side trail is 1.8km and the nearby black trail is 4.5km, so completing those three would almost be 16km. Of course, there are also the blue and yellow trails of 5.5km and 2.5km respectively for those wanting a shorter excursion. Albion Hills has a ton of options when it comes to trails!

After paying the entrance fee of $6.50/person, our visit started off on the wrong foot when we spun ourselves around right off the bat. I guess I need a better night’s rest before attempting these trips because I clearly wasn’t thinking right after so few hours of sleep. It wasn’t until we were able to ask someone that we eventually found our way to the trails. We later discovered they were just 15 feet from the car. Talk about embarrassing! One of the other things I missed while looking at the map was that there were light grey chevrons to indicate direction. Even after finally getting ourselves on the trail, we headed off in the wrong direction. So, after another course correction, we were finally able to start our hike. The reason for the direction on the trails is because while the trails are open to hikers, they were designed with mountain bikers in mind. I’m guessing it’s a pretty popular spot for them too as we passed a lot of bikers in the park.

In general the signs on the trails were pretty good, but in some sections they were really lacking. The trail would fork and there was no indication of which route you should take. You just had to hope you were going the right way. For the most part though, even if you picked the wrong path, you’d eventually cross another trail which would help you figure out where you are. There are definitely a lot of good signs out on the trails, but a few more in key places would have made the journey so much easier!

I would definitely love to return to Albion Hills Conservation Area again one day. Trying the trails on my bike or going for a longer hike both sound like great ways to spend a day. Mountain biking at Albion Hills looked like a lot of fun and there were tons of side trails specifically for the bikers. That said, the hike we did today, once we got ourselves pointed in the right direction, was a lot of fun and fairly enjoyable. It had just a little bit of everything, which made for some great new memories.

Posted: June 10th, 2013