Crisp autumn air and colourful foliage make fall the perfect season to get outside and explore Barrie’s scenic hiking paths. Strap on your boots, grab a camera and get ready to discover the top trails in and around the city.
Ardagh Bluffs Natural Area
Ardagh Bluffs Natural Area is a sprawling 518-acre nature reserve located in the south west end of Barrie. The Environmentally Protected area is home to a variety of wildlife species and more than 17-kilometres of trails, including the highly trafficked Ardagh Ring Trail. This 6.4-kilometre moderate loop is a popular spot for weekend warriors and trail runners and its densely wooded paths wind through meadows of wildflowers, alongside watery creeks and up and down hills that result in about 184-metres of elevation gain throughout the circuit. Trails are well marked and maintained throughout the year, though the path can get a bit muddy in the wet weather so use precaution and wear proper footwear.
For an easy and convenient spot to get some exercise without going too far out of town, head to Sunnidale Park on the east side of Sunnidale Road, between Letitia Street and Cundles Road West. This 48.5-acre urban park offers easy on-site parking and a variety of recreational options, including a large arboretum, children’s playground, community centre and about five kilometres of great walking trails. Forested paths are relatively flat and paved with crushed stones for a simple stroll, making them a great option for beginners and those hiking with young kids.
Wilkins Walk (Warnica Trail) is a short 3.8-kilometre moderately trafficked out-and-back route that’s great for all skill levels. Ideal for trekking in the spring, summer and fall, this well-maintained path traverses along Hewitt’s Creek and visitors will be treated to pretty water and forest views throughout the walk. The meandering trail ends at Wilkins Beach, a secluded sandy stretch that’s a perfect spot for a picnic (weather permitting), watch the sunset, or even take a refreshing dip in the water if you’re feeling brave. The Wilkins Walk path also connects with Bayshore Ridge parkland trails that run through the Tyndale neighbourhood.
Just a 15-minute drive from the centre of Barrie, Tiffin Centre for Conservation is a spectacular 300-acre nature reserve dedicated to environmental recreation and education. Open year-round daily from dawn to dusk, the facility boasts six distinct walking trails varying in terrain and difficulty. Visitors are invited to explore 17 kilometres of looped trails that wind through a mix of wetlands, forests, open meadows and ancient lake beds. Leashed dogs are welcome throughout the park and two of the trails are 100-per cent wheelchair accessible, with all-terrain wheelchairs available to rent on-site free of charge. Be sure to return in the winter to enjoy a brisk day out exploring the centre’s groomed snow shoe trails.
Oro-Medonte Rail Trail
Long and flat, this accessible gravel trail stretches along an abandoned rail line for 28 kilometres from Barrie to the outskirts of Orillia. The Oro-Medonte Rail Trail offers a very smooth terrain of crushed stone, making it ideal for long distance training runs and biking. Running parallel to the northwest shore of Lake Simcoe, the trail winds through the communities of Shanty Bay, Oro Station and Hawkestone. Along the way you’ll spot educational signs providing insights on the former railway line and the Carthew Bay Nature Reserve, home to a very active beaver pond where nature-lovers can see herons and other wildlife. Parking and washrooms are available along the route, but the trail is long so be sure to pack and dress appropriately.
From easy strolls to challenging technical climbs, Barrie is home to a variety of local parks and scenic trails offering something for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, and just a short drive from the Lākhouse Presentation Centre. Visit us today and discover Barrie’s newest premier lakefront lifestyle.
140 Dunlop Street East, Toronto ON
Monday – Friday: 12PM – 6PM
Saturday & Sunday: 12PM – 5PM or by appointment