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. And then there are those unforgettable sunsets!
Well defined trails, gentle inclines. Hiking boots not required but trails may be wet. Suitable for beginners. Recommended for newcomers to hiking activities.
Generally on trail. May be hilly, light bushwhacking,some rough spots or obstacles. Boots recommended.
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.
Straight ahead hiking path
Noteworthy direction change
Straight ahead hiking path
Noteworthy direction change
Dead end or reconnects
with Main Trail
* Wear good footwear
* Bring water
* Bring bug spray
* Bring a map or read the map on the trailhead sign
* Know your limits
ALWAYS CHECK YOURSELF FOR TICKS AFTER A HIKE !
Check the Environment Canada website for the local weather forecast https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/on-46_metric_e.html
If there is rain in the forecast, we would advise you check the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority "flood watch".
Passable hiking trail - no trailhead map sign or on-tail directional signs.
Easy - 4 km (2.5 mi) out and back
7101 Outer Drive west of Port Franks through the ‘L’ Lake Management Area owned by the Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority.
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.
The trail has been cleared for the most part. Plans are to have the remaining section cleared by the end of October.
Trail Loop is blazed - has a trailhead map sign.
Easy - 1.5 km (1 mi) loop
7101 Outer Drive west of Port Franks
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's Forest Dunes Nature Reserve.
The trail has many mosquitos during the summer months (June-August).
Trail is blazed - has a trailhead map sign & on-trail directional signs.
Moderate - some steep sections - 4 km (2.5 mi) loop
Close to west end of Elm Tree Drive ('white' & 'blue' blazed). Parking lot is on right side at the end of Elm Tree Dr. approximately 150 m beyond the trailhead.
The 4.5 km Trail Loop traverses rugged terrain with gullies and steep forested ravines - half of the loop is ‘blue’ blazed - the other half is is part of the main Ausable River Valley Trail and is ‘white’ blazed.
Foot bridges and ladder in use on trail. Elm Tree Drive is not maintained during winter.
Trails are blazed - has trailhead map sign and on-trail directional signs.
Easy & Moderate - 3 separate interconnected trails - 2.1 km (1.3 mi), 2.8 km (1.7 mi), 3.1 km (1.9 mi)
9997 Port Franks Road at the Port Franks Community Centre in Port Franks.
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.
Some mosquitos in summer.
Trail is blazed - has only a few on-trail directional signs.
Difficult - 11.6 km (7.2 mi) one direction with lesser cut offs for shorter distances
Trail is accessible from 3 entrance points – Off Scout Road at 'Prairie Restoration Project' sign – from west end of both McDonald Drive & Elm Tree Drive.
The 11 km 'white' blazed trail traverses rugged terrain with gullies and steep forested ravines along the east side of the Ausable River. The forest is mostly oak, maple, and ash.
The trail section branching off the Mystery Falls 'blue' part of the trail to MacDonald Drive is CLOSED pending the removal of dead ash trees along the trail.
Connector trail is blazed 'orange' - has on-trail directional signs
Easy - 2 km (1.2 mi) one direction
This 3 km trail connects the Ausable River Cut trail network to the Trailhead of the Lambton County Heritage Forest trails at Port Franks Community Centre parking lot.
Park of this connector is along a paved shoulder of the Port Franks Road.
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.
Easy - 2 trails - 4.7 km(2.9 mi), 2.5 km (1.6 mi) out and back
In Ipperwash from the end of Richardson Drive off East Parkway Drive.
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.
Gravel parking lot available. The trails have mosquitos during the summer months (June-August).
Developed hiking trail system - trailhead sign installed.
Easy-Moderate - 2 km (1.2 mi) loop
9984 Northville Cres. just off Hwy # 21 at the Ausable Cut Bridge in Northville.
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.
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.
Blazed & accessible hiking trail loop - no trailhead or on-trail signs.
Easy - 1.6 km (1 mi) loop
9904 Nipigon Street in Port Franks - 0.5 km east of Port Franks Road at Whatman Street.
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.
Trail is overgrown with poison ivy.
1. Forest Walkway Trail
2. Grand Trunk Trail
3. Lagoon Loop.
Trailhead structure & signs
Easy - 1) 2.4 km (1.5 mi) out and back 2) 4 km (2.5 mi) out and back 3) 1.8 km (1.1 mi) loop
Trailhead is located at 12 Railroad Way, Forest.
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.
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.
Developed hard-surfaced walking & bicycle trail.
Easy - 9 km (5.6 mi) one direction
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.
This is a paved trail.
Developed Trail System - Trailhead signs & markers installed.
Easy-Moderate - various distances
8680 Rock Glen Road – Follow the Conservation Area sign from County Road #79 just north of Arkona.
This 67-acre gorge site has a 1.5 km hiking trail with steep stairways and a wheelchair-accessible overlook.
An entrance fee applies. Visit www.abca.on.ca for more details.
Developed trails - trailhead and on-trail signs installed and trail guide available.
Easy-Difficult - 3 separate trails - 4.8 km (3 mi) loop, 3.2 km (2 mi) loop, 2.2 km (1.4 mi) one direction
Boothill Road from north & Vernon Road from south near Village of Sylvan on County Road #7.
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
The trails have mosquitos during the summer months (June-August).
Developed hiking & bicycle trails - trailhead signs installed.
Easy - various distances
1512 Lakeshore Drive (Hwy #21) 10 km south of Grand Bend.
This large 6300-acre park has kilometers of sandy beaches and an extensive network of hiking & bicycle trails through Oak Savanna.
An entrance fee applies. Visit www.pinerypark.on.ca for more details.