Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Bronte Creek Provincial Park is a great place to go to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without committing to an entire camping trip. Located right off highway 403 on the border of Oakville and Burlington, it is less than an hour drive from Toronto, making it the prefect day-trip. The park even offers a camping area for those interested in overnight camping. The campground and the day-use areas of the park are completely separate, therefore it is important to know which are you will be using before arrival.

The day-use area features 4 hiking trails, ranging in length from 1 to 2.7 km. The remnants of last winter’s ice storm was visible along some of the trails, with downed trees here and there, however most of the trails were cleared and easy to access. In addition to the hiking trails the park contains gravel roads and access trails that can be used to get around.

A great place to start is the Lookout Ravine Trail, which runs along the ravine and has an observation point overlooking the ravine and the woods on the other side. This is a great place to see all the leaf colours fall has to offer. The closest parking lots to the Lookout Ravine Trail are Parking A or Parking F. We started at Parking A, and the path at the end of the Lookout Ravine Trail lead directly to the Half Moon Valley Trail. Half Moon Valley was nice trail because it took us down the hill right to the banks of the creek. It was great walking through the forest, and then hiking down to the creek, and walking along the area next to the creek. The last portion of the trail provides great exercise, as there is no option but to hike back up the hill to get to the main road.

There are other trails available, which I did not have the chance to try out yet. A map of the day-use area is available here. The only complaint I have about the park is that the trails and roads are not labelled well. It was confusing getting to any of the trails from the parking lot, and there were a lot of moments when we were lost in the park. Once in a while a trail would lead to a fork in the road, but there were no signs indicating which road would lead to where, and to make things worse, it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where you were on the map. On the rare occasion, trails were marked with numbered posts. However, these numbers were not indicated on the map, so it was impossible to know where you were at any one time.

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If hiking is not your thing, there are many seasonal activities available in the park, such as biking, fishing, swimming, bird watching, and cross-country skiing. In addition, the park has a recreation center with a public pool open in the summer months, and a skating rink available in the winter.

If interested in other Ontario Parks and viewing fall leaf colours, the following website has a neat interactive tool that shows how much of the park’s trees have changed their leaf colours, and also shows the peak viewing areas:
http://www.ontarioparks.com/fallcolour

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Lemoine Point Conservation Area

This summer I have been trying to get outside more to enjoy the warm weather and to explore nature. So I visited a couple of trails and conservation areas nearby that I haven’t been to yet. One of them was Lemoine Point Conservation Area in Kingston.

Lemoine Point is a 15 minute drive from downtown Kingston, located between the Kingston Airport and Collins Bay. It is made up of 136 hectares of land, and has about 11km of hiking trails. Lemoine Point is a quiet and relaxing place, considering that it is located in the middle of the city.

Map of Lemoine Point Conservation Area

Map of Lemoine Point Conservation Area

Lemoine Point is open year-round, from 7:30am until sunset. Summer activities include hiking, cycling, swimming and fishing, while in the winter it is possible to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Overlooking Collins Bay on a beautiful summer day.

Overlooking Collins Bay on a beautiful summer day.

A beautiful place for a picnic.

A beautiful place for a picnic.

You will also encounter some wildlife in the area, such as ducks, squirrels and chipmunks (the usual).

Duck swimming in Collins Bay

Duck swimming in Collins Bay

There's an abundance of chipmunks and squirrels in the area.

There’s an abundance of chipmunks and squirrels in the area.

View from one of the lookout platforms.

View from one of the lookout platforms.