Summer in Canada is my favourite; everything seems lighter, freer and much more fun. Long weekends in the summer in Canada? Well, now maybe that is my absolute favourite. For the August long weekend I packed up my car for a good old-fashioned road trip from Burlington to Caledon – yea I’m hard core. The distance may be small however the difference in landscaping is notable and while I love coming back to the City of Burlington, the immense green of Caledon is a breath of fresh air. Equipped with a pair of hiking boots and an iced capp from Tim Hortons, the long weekend had officially begun.
I have lived most of my life about 30 minutes away from Caledon in a growing city called Brampton but the extent to which I have explored Caledon is minimal. I did not realize that there are more than 260 km (roughly 161.6 miles) of publicly accessible trails and over 65 parks, according to the Town of Caledon website.
While the options are numerous, I pointed my boots towards the Palgrave Forest and Wildlife Area. When we arrived I was super excited because this forest looked magical. The trees are extremely tall and this trail links up with The Bruce Trail, a favourite of mine.
At the trail head there is a huge map outlining the entire area, take a picture of this you will need it. This is actually a very useful hiking tip: Always find a map and always take a picture, even if you locate the map online, take a screen shot and save it to your gallery on your phone. This is a large area with side trails and interlocking loops, translation: a full day of hiking can be had. The terrain was varying but overall I would say that this is perfect for beginners, there are steep and flat parts of the area but most of it can be hiked in running shoes. The dirt is compact and makes for an easy stroll through the woods. The trails weave through more swampy areas; you will know when one is in sight when you come across foot bridges (planks of wood that replace the normal dirt trail, see below images). Ensure that you have bug spray for this area and suntan lotion for the remainder of your hike as the sun can peak through certain parts of the forest.
What I enjoyed most about this area was the wildlife. This is a great area for spotting birds, turtles, frogs and toads. Also, there were the not-so wildlife of the horses and their riders, neat company for your hike. Ensure that you watch out for their droppings because they are everywhere! What I did not enjoy about this area was the random apiarie (bee farm) that we came across…this was not fun and if you or anyone in your party have bee allergies I would not risk it. Go somewhere else because the apiarie is right next to the trail and best of all it was unmarked on the map. It may have been somewhere near marker 21, but without indicating this on the map I remain unsure.
Bee fighting aside, the Palgrave Forest and Wildlife Area was a great location for an easy hike on the Sunday of a long weekend. Grab your ice capp, grab your hiking boots and grab onto your summer in Canada.