10 Lanark County nature trails to hike this spring
After a long winter, Lanark County is brightening with the first signs of spring, and we are happy to bear witness to the transformation from dull greys or browns to vibrant greens and yellows, officially signalling the end to winter.
This spring, explore the great outdoors and all the natural spaces Lanark County has to offer on one of these 10 popular trails that wind through marshes, fields, and over waterfalls. You may even spot a trillium or two, a robin building a nest, or hear the unique notes of a spring peeper.
OVRT (296 kms)
Access: Choose from multiple access points in Smiths Falls, Almonte, and Carleton Place.
The Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail has created a transportation corridor for locals as the trail passes through Lanark County, heading from Smiths Falls all the way to just shy of Mattawa.
This trail is open to both motorized and non-motorized use, where you can travel to three of Lanark County’s prettiest towns – Smiths Falls, Carleton Place, and Almonte.
Almonte Riverwalk (10-minute walk)
Access: Free parking at Almonte Old Town Hall, trail starts behind Old Town Hall.
This short, lovely trail winds beside the Mississippi River and features bridges that go over the Grand Falls in Almonte, starting behind Old Town Hall. This trail will take you to a breathtaking lookout at the site of the Old Victoria Woolen Mill, where you can drink in the natural beauty and capture some beautiful photos of the water and the bird wildlife.
Baird Trail (.8 kms)
Access: At 1024 Herron Mills Rd., Lanark.
This trail has been declared one of the most beautiful trails in Lanark County where three sets of loops head through the forest, over bridges, and through ecological goldmines – making it a haven for nature and bird lovers. Explore the trails and wetlands and be awed by Baird Trail’s giant maple and beech trees that can be found here. Parking, a picnic area, and washrooms can be found at the start of the trail.
Beckwith Trail: McGregor and Shady Branch (6.0 kms)
Access: Parking is available at the Beckwith Arena, school, or at the Home Depot in Carleton Place.
Stretching from Carleton Place to Beckwith Park, the Beckwith Trail: McGregor and Shady Branch connects with both the Beckwith Park Trail and the Trans Canada Trail in Carleton Place. The trail features a great forest setting and is suitable for all skill levels. On your hike, you will enjoy a variety of landscapes from farmers’ fields to wetlands and keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that lives in the forest.
Blueberry Mountain Trail (4.5 kms)
Access: 502 Hills of Peace Rd., Lanark. Parking available at the bottom of the trail. Hikers are required to sign a waiver.
As one of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County, Blueberry Mountain earns its title through the rich biodiversity found here. The four-and-a-half-kilometre trail wanders across streams, through wild meadows, and beneath century-old trees, until reaching the breathtaking views at the top of the mountain. The majority of this trail is relatively flat, while the last stretch is short but steep. Be prepared to work up a sweat for the final stretch, but don’t worry, the effort will be worth it.
Access: 2240 Bathurst 5th Concession
Named in honour of the Conboy family, who donated the land in 2020, this trail is the newest addition to Lanark County’s trail network. Set on an 80-acre woodland property, Conboy Trail connects to the Tay Havelock Trail, and its abundant wildlife makes it the perfect trail to enjoy nature, as well as capture some fantastic photographs.
Mill of Kintail Trails (6 kms)
Access: 2854 Ramsay Concession 8, Almonte. Parking is available on the grounds for $6.
Situated on the Indian River and a thick, luscious forest, the Mill of Kintail is the perfect place to explore the grounds through their six kilometres of trails on this heritage property. Bring a picnic lunch and choose from one of the Mill of Kintail’s large number of picnicking areas to have a bite of lunch. Kids will love the on-site playground.
Purdon Conservation Area (2.5 kms)
Access: Concession Rd. 8, Lanark Highlands. Parking available on site.
Stoll through Purdon Conservation Area along the boardwalk of a rare fen wetland and through Canada’s largest colony of Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids. For a breathtaking lookout, take a hike through an uplands forest through one of the Seven Wonders of Lanark County. Purdon Conservation Area offers outhouses and parking, open May 15 to October 15.
O-Kee-Lee Park Trail (1 km)
Access: Foot of Joseph Street, across from the Carleton Place Canoe Club.
The O-Kee-Lee Park trail travels through a wetland area that contains old willow trees and small woodland ponds. Located in Carleton Place this trail has moderate traffic and is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash.
Perth Wildlife Reserve (combination 3.2 kms)
Access: 100 Wild Life Rd., Perth. Parking available at trailhead.
Choose from one of Perth Wildlife Reserve’s two trails: Betty Wilson Nature Trail (2.5 kms) which leads to an observation tower, and the Butterfly Trail (0.7 kms) which features plant species beloved by butterflies. These trails are located on the Tay Marsh which creates an environment nurturing to a variety of diverse plant and wildlife species. Stay quiet and you might spot deer, Canadian geese, bluebirds, wild turkeys, and butterflies during your visit to the reserve.
For a complete list of Lanark County trails, visit the Lanark County Tourism website.