Cold Creek Conservation Area
Back in April I signed up for the www.healthyhikes.ca challenge, so I’ve been giving extra consideration to conservation areas for day trips. I found Cold Creek Conservation Area as I needed a place for a quick hike that had lots of trail combinations. With almost 100% chance of thunderstorms we didn’t want to get caught out in the middle of nowhere with no quick way back. We also had other plans later in the day, so we wanted a trail we could zip along without much trouble. Our visit didn’t disappoint!
Located just an hour north of Toronto, Cold Creek Conservation Area is a great little space. When we arrived we followed the road all the way to the visitor’s centre (and thankfully some outhouses) where I had the chance to speak to a staff member who gave us a great rundown of the park. He said that a lot of people park up near the gatehouse and head off on the trail from there. It has the added benefit that since the gates close at 4:30, your car won’t get locked in! We decided to go with his suggestion and headed back up to the gatehouse to start our trek.
Since we were going for speed and the distance wasn’t that far we left basically everything behind except for the first aid kit and 1L of water. The staff member also said that it usually takes about 90-120 minutes to finish the 6.6km outer loop trail, so we had a time in mind to beat. We started off going clockwise around the trail and you could instantly tell this was going to be a nice hike. The path was fairly well kept and the footing was pretty easy with just a few rocks and roots scattered underfoot. The terrain constantly changes, there were very few flat spots on the trail. You’re always walking up, down or across a hill. Personally, I like those kinds of trails so I found it really enjoyable.
For the most part the trail has really good signage. At every intersection there’s a big map with arrows leading you to the numbered checkpoints. They’re actually some of the best maps I’ve come across. There were a few spots between checkpoints where it became difficult to find the trail, but we were able to figure things out with just a bit of extra walking.
We were going to loop through again but due to the humidity we were both pretty tired. It worked to our advantage though, just as we were drying off the rain started coming down hard. We made it back into the car and were off towards the city before you knew it. Cold Creek Conservation Area was a very nice spot to visit for a day hike. We blasted through the 7km trail in just over an hour but we could easily have spent twice as long exploring the fields, forests, and marshes.
Oh, and if you get the chance, be sure to try the Bog Boardwalk. I haven’t really seen anything like it!