Trails

Background

Lambton Shores is blessed with 'Gems of Nature' on the northern fringes of the 'Carolinian Life Zone'. An area south of the imaginary line between Grand Bend and Toronto, this zone represents less than 1% of Canada's landmass, but is home to the largest diversity of fauna & flora species in the country. This small part of Canada in southwestern Ontario also has the highest number of species-at-risk in the country. Our 'Gems of Nature' are unique. They include miles of sandy beaches along the south-eastern shores of Lake Huron, bare & forested dune lands, fresh-water coastal wetlands, rare Oak Savanna, steep & forested ravines in river and creek valleys, remnant prairies of tall grass and wildflowers, spherical concretions or 'Kettles' in black shale beds, Brachiopod & Trilobite fossils of the Devonian Period. They offer sights of majestic Tundra Swans & soaring Eagles, amazing Flying Squirrels, beautiful butterflies & damselflies, endangered turtles & hognose snakes, fish & mussel species-at-risk, Sassafras & Tulip Trees. Then there are the unforgettable sunsets!

Difficulty Level

Easy

Well defined trails, gentle inclines. Hiking boots not required but trails may be wet. Suitable for beginners. Recommended for newcomers to hiking activities.

Moderate

Generally on trail. May be hilly, light bushwhacking,some rough spots or obstacles. Boots recommended.

Difficult

Rough terrain. One or more of extensive bushwhacking, steep sections, long climbs and descents, beaver dams or other obstacles, rock scrambling.  Boots, 3-4 km/hour experience and a high level of fitness essential. Long pants and sleeves recommended.

Blazes

Main Trail - White Blaze

Straight ahead hiking path

Left Turn

Noteworthy direction change

Tuxedo Blaze

Emphasize blaze

Side Trail - Blue Blaze

Straight ahead hiking path

Right Turn

Noteworthy direction change

End Of Side Trail

Dead end or reconnects
​with Main Trail

Trails

Trails are for recreational use only. Use at own risk.

* Wear good footwear
* Bring water 

* Bring bug spray
* Bring a map or read the map on the trailhead sign

* Know your limits

Forested Dunes Nature Reserve

Status

Passable Hiking Trail - no Trailhead or On-trail signs 

Difficulty

Easy

Access

7101 Outer Drive west of Port Franks through Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority ‘L’ Lake Management Area.

Description

The hike from Outer Drive to Mud Creek and back is approximately 5 km and leads through the 139-acre Forested Dunes Nature Reserve, part of the 150,000-acre Port Franks Dunes & Wetlands Complex designated provincially as an Area of Natural & Scientific Interest (ANSI) and nationally as an Important Birding Area (IBA).  The old Mud Creek pedestrian bridge which provided access from Huron St. in Port Franks was removed in 2011 due to safety concerns.

Additional Notes

The back portion of this trail is overgrown pending maintenance. It is also known to have ticks.

'L' Lake Management Area

Status

Developed Hiking Trail Loop - Trailhead sign installed

Difficulty

Easy

Access

7101 Outer Drive west of Port Franks 

Description

The 69 acre ‘L’ Lake site offers a gentle 1.5 km hiking trail through cedar wetlands and mixed Carolinian Forest. This is also the entrance to the Nature Conservancy of Canada Forest Dunes Nature Reserve.

Additional Notes

The trail has many mosquitos during the summer months (June-August).

Mystery Falls

Status

Trail is blazed with no trailhead sign.

Difficulty

Moderate

Access

Close to west end of Elm Tree Drive ('white' & 'blue' blazed). Parking lot is available on right side at the end of Elm Tree Dr.

Description

Trail traverses rugged terrain with gullies and steep forested ravines. 4.5 km of which half is ‘blue’ blazed & other half is ‘white’ blazed.

Additional Notes

Foot bridges and ladder in use on trail. Elm Tree Drive is not maintained during winter.

Lambton County Heritage Forest

Status

(Easy-Difficult) Developed Hiking & Mountain Bike Trail System - has Trailhead & On-Trail signs

Difficulty

Easy-Moderate

Access

9997 Port Franks Road at the Port Franks Community Centre in Port Franks 

Description

This 570 acre Oak-Savanna & Carolinian Forest offers three trails respectively 3.1 km, 5.2 km & 6.6 km in total length from the Community Centre.

Additional Notes

Some mosquitos in summer.

Ausable River Valley

Status

(Difficult) All trails are blazed with no trailhead signs and few

on-trail signs.

Difficulty

Difficult

Access

Main Valley Trail – from Scout Road at 'Prairie Restoration Project' sign – from west end of both McDonald Drive & Elm Tree Drive.

Description

All trails traverse rugged terrain with gullies and steep forested ravines.  The Main Valley Trail (11 km -‘white’ blazed) runs along the east side of the Ausable River. The forest is mostly oak, maple, and ash.

Additional Notes

This trail is currently CLOSED pending the removal of dead ash trees.

Heritage-Ausable Connector

Status

Developed Connector Trail System - directional signs installed

Difficulty

Easy

Access

9997 Port Franks Road at the Port Franks Community Centre parking lot in Port Franks​ OR the back of Ausable River Cut Conservation Area trail.

Description

This 2.5 km trail connects the Ausable River Cut trail network to the Lambton County Heritage Forest via the parking lot at the Port Franks Community Centre.

Additional Note

Park of this connector is along a paved shoulder of the Port Franks Road.

Ipperwash Dunes & Swales

Status

Two trails have been blazed, trailhead & on-trail signs have been installed and unwanted ATV trails have been covered with brush to permit re-naturalization

Difficulty

Easy

Access

In Ipperwash from the end of Richardson Drive off East Parkway Drive.

Description

The Carolinian Forest & Dunelands here cover over 500 acres and includes a 172 acre Nature Reserve owned by Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).  The Dunes & Swales ('White') Trail is 5.5 km and winds through a Carolinian Forest of sand ridges and wet swales passable on boardwalks. A variety of wildflowers makes this trail a feast for the eyes in spring.  The Cedar ('Green') Trail is 2.2 km and features many cedar coves A 4.5 km Beach Trail through coastal wetlands, dune lands and along the Lake Huron shoreline is under review pending agreement by lot owner.

Additional Notes

Gravel parking lot available.  The trails have mosquitos during the summer months (June-August).

Ausable River Cut Conservation Area

Detail your services

Developed Hiking Trail System - Trailhead sign installed

Difficulty

Easy-Moderate

Access

9984 Northville Cres. just off Hwy # 21 at the Ausable Cut Bridge in Northville.

Description

This 32 acre road-side park on the Ausable Cut offers hikers a challenging 2 km loop trail over a high sand-dune - easy short-cuts are available.

Additional Notes

A wheelchair accessible path leads to a viewing platform looking over the Ausable Cut.  This is a great place to fish for catfish, drum, perch and pickerel.  A large sand dune can be found at the halfway point (hiking clockwise will have you going down the dune).  A gravel parking lot and washroom is available.

Karner Blue

Status

Blazed & accessible Hiking Trail Loop - no Trailhead or on-trail signs - trail is overgrown with poison ivy

Difficulty

Easy

Access

9904 Nipigon Street in Port Franks - 0.5 km east of Port Franks Road at Whatman Street.

Description

This extremely rare 37 acre ‘Dry Oak-Pine Woodland’ has a 2 km trail traversing gently on a sloping sandy terrain.  The Karner Blue butterfly after which this Nature Sanctuary is named is extirpated.

Additional Notes

Forest Trails

Status

1. Forest Walkway Trail

2. Grand Trunk Trail

3. Lagoon Loop.


Trailhead structure & signs

Difficulty

Easy

Access

Trailhead is located at 12 Rail Rd Way, Forest.

Description

The formal 2.8 km (one way) paved Forest Walkway Trail leads south to the Esli Dodge Conservation Area.  The Grand Trunk Trail along the old railway track is a 4 km return trip over flat lands.  A 1 km Lagoon Loop is available at the end of the Grand Trunk Trail

Additional

A skateboard (X-Park) is available at the trailhead.  A small portion of the trail heads east from the trailhead to the Rotary Civic Square including a splash pad. 

Grand Bend Rotary Nature Trail

Status

Developed hard-surfaced Walking & Bicycle Trail

Difficulty

Easy

Access

Anywhere along Highway 21 from the entrance of Pinery Provincial Park and Grand Bend.

Description

This 10 km multi-use and relatively flat trail runs parallel to Highway #21 from Grand Bend to the entrance of Pinery Provinial Park at 1512 Lakeshore Drive (Hwy #21).  Interest has been expressed to build a 'Pinery to Port Franks Bikeway' also along Highway #21.​

Additional Notes

This is a paved trail.

Rock Glen Conservation Area

Status

Developed Trail System - Trailhead signs & markers installed.

Difficulty

Easy-Moderate

Access

8680 Rock Glen Road – Follow the Conservation Area sign from County Road #79 just north of Arkona 

Description

This 67-acre gorge site has a 1.5 km hiking trail with steep stairways & a wheelchair-accessible overlook.

Additional Notes

An entrance fee applies.  Visit www.abca.on.ca​​ for more details.

Joany's Woods

Status

Developed Trails - Trailhead and On-trail signs installed and Trail Guide available

Difficulty

Easy-Difficult

Access

Boothill Road from north & Vernon Road from south near Village of Sylvan on County Road #7 

Description

The 367 acre property located in the Ausable River Valley (east side - just north of the bridge on County Road  #7) has a difficult 4.8 km and an easy 3.2 km trail loop through mixed Carolinian-Great Lakes Hardwood Swamp Forest, and a 2.2 km trail along the river - Visit www.thamestalbotlandtrust.ca

Additional Notes

The trails have mosquitos during the summer months (June-August).

Pinery Provincial Park

Status

Developed Hiking & Bicycle Trails - Trailhead signs installed

Difficulty

Easy

Access

1512 Lakeshore Drive (Hwy #21) 10 km south of Grand Bend

Description

This large 6300-acre park has kilometers of sandy beaches and an extensive network of hiking & bicycle trails through Oak Savanna. 

Additional Notes

An entrance fee applies.  Visit www.pinerypark.on.ca​ for more details.