This route is navigable year-round and is reasonably easy except for some inclines about halfway through. Looping together Trail 1
, Trail 2
, and Trail 3
gives a good-length hike, suitable for a family, and includes the sugar shack, forests, and wetlands, with plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities.
Entry Fee: $5 for adults, $3.50 for children 12 and under, maximum fee of $15 per car (special event pricing may apply). Annual Passes are available for $85. They provide admission to Little Cataraqui Creek for one year.
Begin on Trail 1
, taking the right-hand path. This section passes through a pine forest, which is home to many chickadees that are happy to be fed, so they might visit with you. Then, you'll emerge onto a wetlands. In the wetlands area you can often see frogs and snakes on the path, so keep your eyes out! Dragonflies also are common, and if you're lucky you might see beavers or turtles.
Cross a boardwalk to Trail 2
, which you'll be on briefly before hanging a right at Trail 3
. At this section, you'll start to hear some traffic because you are very close to a major road, but that doesn't last for long. Keep your eyes out for the changing forest. You'll pass through a pine grove with no underbrush at all.
About halfway through the hike, you'll get to some hillier terrain. You'll see a rocky section that makes waterfalls in the spring but is often dry in the summer. Notice that there are more and more maple trees, and a lot of them have buckets tapped to them and some hose. That's because you're close to the sugar shack. In March every year, stop by the sugar shack for pancakes on the weekends! Near the sugar shack, there are some ruined buildings, which are fun to explore. There's also washrooms here, and a service road if you need to escape.
Continue past the sugar shack and take Trail 2
, noticing again the changing forest. Then you'll return to the boardwalk and rejoin Trail 1
, but this time you'll take the right fork for some variety before you find yourself back at the outdoor centre.