Going for a hike or walk doesn’t need to mean an uphill climb and a breathless pace; sometimes the best walks are the low-key strolls that get you moving and outdoors for a refreshing change of pace. In scenic Lanark County, accessible and easy-to-manage trails mean that everyone can enjoy the beauty of the natural settings found here, no matter their fitness level.
Lanark County offers the best of both worlds, featuring urban centres like Almonte, Pakenham, Carleton Place, Perth and Lanark Village, along with lush forests, pastoral fields, and clean lakes and rivers. Lanark County’s low-key walks invite you to meander, ramble, stroll and explore in stunning natural settings that will rejuvenate without straining your joints.
Here are five relaxing Lanark County walks that will get you moving at your own pace!
- On the boardwalk: Purdon Conservation Area
Concession Rd. 8, Lanark Highlands
One of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County, the conservation area features a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk that takes you along the 400-metre Orchid Trail for a close-up view of the flora and fauna. The self-guided 1.3-kilometre Ted Mosquin Highland Trail takes you all the way to the shores of Purdon Lake. For a fragrant floral experience visit Purdon Conservation Area between mid- June to mid-July, home to Canada’s largest collection of Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchids – more than 10,000 of these rare orchids bloom here. Interpretive signs identify plants and wildlife along the way; pit toilets and parking are available on site.
613-259-2421 or www.mvc.on.ca/conservation-areas/purdon
- Round and round: Experience a labyrinth
974 Concession 9A Dalhousie, McDonald’s Corners
Labyrinths are a fantastic way to enjoy a revitalizing spiritual and physical walk, and have been used for millennia for meditation and contemplation. In McDonald’s Corners, a stone labyrinth is located at the McDonald’s Corners & Elphin Recreation & Arts (MERA), and is a good example of a typical circular labyrinth. A leisurely exploration of this carefully laid-out labyrinth will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed! In nearby Carleton Place, the Carleton Place Community Labyrinth is another labyrinth to explore, and is located behind the Carleton Place & Beckwith Heritage Museum at 267 Edmund St. To fully appreciate the labyrinth experience, take a moment to centre yourself before entering the labyrinth, then walk slowly and purposefully towards the centre. When you reach the centre, you can stay for as long as you like; standing in the centre is considered a time of awakening. Walk out just as slowly and purposefully, and relish your experience!
3. Forest Walk: Baird Trail
1024 Herron Mills Rd., Lanark Highlands
Baird Trail is considered to be one of the most beautiful trails in Lanark County, and with good reason. Situated in a community forest and on a property that was originally settled in 1837 by a pioneer family, Baird Trail offers a unique and informative walk for visitors. The 3-kilometre trail includes three loops, and is an example of a typical forest setting in Lanark County, featuring mixed woodlands and wetland areas. Interpretive panels inform hikers of points of interest during the self-guided tour. Picnic tables are available on site.
4. Artists’ Inspiration: Mill of Kintail
2854 Ramsay Concession 8, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0
Another popular forest trail is found at the Mill of Kintail, in Mississippi Mills, where hikers can explore more than four kilometres of easy-walking trails. A museum, store, washroom, playground, parking and picnic area are available on site. Artist R. Tait MacKenzie found inspiration at his studio overlooking the river.
- Accessible Waterfront: Tay River Pathway
99 Christie Lake Rd., Perth
The difficult part of any hike to the waterfront is usually the getting there, but a meander along the Tay River Pathway’s fully accessible trail will make reaching the Tay River an easy goal to achieve. The Tay River Pathway offers a relaxing 1.5-kilometre stroll through fields and young woodlands, with benches strategically situated along the way to give users a place to take a break and enjoy the natural scenery. A viewing area at the end of the trail overlooks the Tay River, and is the perfect place for a bird-watching break before heading back on the trail. The Tay River Pathway is accessible for pedestrians, and those using walkers or wheelchairs; it is linked to the Round Garden area located behind Lanark Lodge and Perth Community Care Centre.