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A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Ontario’s Ganaraska Trail stretches for over 500 kilometres beginning in Port Hope (located 60-90 minutes east of Toronto depending on traffic) within sight of Lake Ontario and finishing at Glen Huron just south of Collingwood on the Bruce Trail. It offers a mix of dedicated hiking trails and quiet country roads with the odd village, town and even city (Orillia) thrown in. The landscape is variable depending on what section you’re doing. Much of it travels through rolling farmlands and woods though the Wilderness section crosses the Canadian Shield and offers a rugged hiking experience.

A 2006 edition of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Guidebook describes hiking trails in general in what I think are very fair terms, especially as it relates to this one: A hiking trail is like a string of pearls, the scenic spots being the pearls and the trail markers the string, to take you from one pearl to the next.

John and I had the chance to hike part of the Pine Ridge section of the Ganaraska Trail, located in Northumberland County. It officially starts opposite the town hall in Port Hope but we started north of town and explored roughly 17 plus kilometres of the trail finishing on a quiet country road close to the 10th Line. Much of the trail was through the beautiful Ganaraska Forest, interspersed with walking on quiet sections of country roads. We did have about half a kilometre on a busier road but that’s just the nature of a long distance hiking trail that travels through a populated part of Canada. On a Sunday afternoon we didn’t see another soul hiking.

Route finding – providing you’ve downloaded the map, is straightforward. And in the worst case scenario I’m sure you could knock on someone’s door and ask for help. Look for the white blazes on the tree and follow the map. The hiking itself is very easy.

The Pine Ridge Hiking Club is one of nine hiking clubs that look after the trail. I met one gentleman as we crossed his property (the trail goes right through his backyard with his blessing) who asked me to tell you that the club enthusiastically accepts new members and invites you to join them on their weekly hikes.

The photos below will give you an idea of what to expect on this section of the trail. What they don’t show is the poison ivy – of which there is plenty. Be sure to wash your legs with lots of soap right after you’ve finished hiking – or wear long pants.

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

We start on the 4th Line north of Port Hope

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Basic rules to follow across private lands

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Through a tunnel of green somewhere between the 4th and 5th Line

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Following an abandoned railway bed built in 1857

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

It pays to look up from time to time

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

One of the many beautiful ponds we say on our hike

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Pine tree loving the sandy soil

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Quiet country roads with very few cars

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Passing farmer’s fields filled with soybeans

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Not much happening at Fudge’s Mill

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

A quintessential rural Ontario scene – goldenrod and an old country barn

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

I counted 37 turkey vultures roosting on this hydro pole

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

We only saw a handful of cars in total

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Caught the golden hour

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

A fabulous section along Tinkerville Road

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

White blazes on the tree lead the way

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Walking around 6:30 PM worked to our advantage with the light

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

We finished our hike on a quiet section of Walker Road as it approaches the 10th Line

Where to stay if you want to hike in Northumberland County

Unfortunately you can’t hike from B&B to B&B; there just aren’t enough of them around to do it in a seamless fashion. But you could stay in Port Hope for a night and then move further north. I can recommend the Waddell Inn in Port Hope, with its enviable location right on the Ganaraska River. At this time of year you can grab a seat on the patio and watch the fisherman vie for position.

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

The Waddell Inn – situated in a beautiful old red brick building is immediately adjacent to this section of the Ganaraska River

Just around the corner from the Ganaraska Forest Centre on the 10th Line you’ll find the charming Moonlight Pines B&B. If you stay here you’ll be treated to superlative home-cooked meals, great conversation with your hosts and a beautiful location with a view out to Lake Ontario. To relax. head for one of the many seating areas on the property and admire an amazing array of visiting birds.

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

Moonlight & Pines B&B

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail

You can sit in the backyard at theB&B and enjoy the views and the birds

Did you know the Ganaraska Trail existed? Have you hiked any part of it?

A Hike on the Northumberland Section of the Ganaraska Trail in Ontario

Thank you to Northumberland Tourism for hosting my stay and putting together an awesome itinerary that kept me in shape!

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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