One day after work I decided to go for a hike at Woodend Conservation Area. Woodend is one of my favourite ‘quick & easy’ places to hike. It is right beside a major highway and just on the outskirts of St. Catharines in Niagara On The Lake, Ontario, but it still feels like I am in the forest when I am there (minus the sounds of the traffic).
The weather wasn’t the best, but so far it wasn’t raining. The sky was dark and it was very windy and I was praying the wind wouldn’t take the leaves from the trees before they reached their peak. We were only about 30% changed at the time of my hike, but I was still expecting to get some great photos and see some nice colour.
I arrived at Woodend and parked my car on the side of the entry road before the gate. You could also take the road by car to another parking lot further into the park.
To the left of the white gate you see in the photo above, is where I got on the trail today. Once on the trail, you can go left or right. If you go left it leads to Taylor Road. Some people have told me you can continue on the trail on the other side of Taylor Road, but I have yet to check this out. Instead, I went right today and was immediately immersed into the forest and felt right at home there. 🙂
Woodend is a very special park. It has all types of trails running through it including the Bruce Trail. I followed my normal route going to the right, but then came up to a fork where you could go left and down towards the Wetland Trail. I had not been to this section of the trail for a few years now and decided it would be a good place to explore today. I was so happy I made that left turn!
Right after seeing these signs another sign appeared advising me I was on the Laura Secord Legacy Trail. I had never seen this sign before and was elated to find something new!
I continued on a bit farther along and the found one of my favourite signs. A Trans Canada Trail sign!!!! WHAT??? I loved the Trans Canada Trail and have done about 8 or 9 sections of it this summer. I did some research when I got home and found out from a friendly TCT contact that the Trans Canada Trail actually supports the Laura Secord Legacy Trail!!! I love learning things from talking a walk in the woods! How awesome! Just another reason to support the Trans Canada Trail in their goal! (details)
Here is a map printed from the Friends of Laura Secord Website that shows the section I was on and a picture of the trail map for the Wetland Ridge Side Trail and a screenshot of the Bruce Trail map from my app.
So it seemed, I was on the #BruceTrail the #LauraSecordLegacy Trail and the #WetlandRidge trail! WOW! This was really really cool! I continued on and the trail took me down the escarpment to the bottom of the ridge and ran along it heading towards the right.
The trail was really pretty, but a little bit hard to walk on in some sections. The trail was all rock in this area and I had to be cautious of how and where I walked.
I continued on, curious to see where this trail would lead me. It was exciting to be somewhere I’ve been so many times and discover something new!!! I loved it!
I was still walking along the bottom of the ridge. It was getting really dark out due to the clouds and was also really windy. I kept my fingers crossed, hoping the rain would hold off until I was done my hike.
Up ahead I saw an opening and thought maybe this was the end of the trail, but I was wrong. The trail opened up to a large field of grapes on the left and up ahead on my right was a pond or small lake? Google maps doesn’t have it labelled, so I’ll just call it Niagara College Reservoir.
The Niagara College Teaching Winery is nearby, so I’m assuming the grapes are for their wines? The trail turned to grass here.
You now had a choice to go straight or go over a small bridge to the right. I choose straight as I wanted to get the view of the trees on the escarpment and see what there was of the fall colours.
The colours were pretty spectacular, even though they weren’t near peak.
Alot of the color to my one side was due to poison ivy! Evil but also very pretty!
The reservoir was also very scenic. Niagara College must do some teaching out here as they had rocks set up in a semi circle like a small outdoor theatre of some kind?
I went down the trail a bit farther to see what I could before turning back and returning to Woodend.
Then I decided to head back towards the park and my car and the other trails I wanted to do today. At this point in time, I didn’t know where the Laura Secord Legacy Trail would take me and as it was a fall weekday and would be getting dark soon, it was smarter to do what I’d planned for the night.
A few more shots and I was headed back into the woods of Woodend Conservation Area.
Good thing I looked back over my shoulder one more time!
Very pretty! I took a few shots on my way back.
In about 15 minutes or so, I was back where I’d started and ready to take another trail at Woodend through the upper part of the park. Stay tuned, that blog post will be coming very soon to a CamperChristina.com page near you! If you are interested in supporting Ontario Trails click the link and find out more!
Thanks so much for reading my post! I hope you enjoyed your virtual hike with me today and you come back soon to explore another fabulous area with me in between camping trips!