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My Top 5 (Kid Approved) Hikes in the BOQ Region.

It’s safe to say that a global pandemic can really put a damper on summer plans. What usually would be weeks spent venturing to fun new destinations and revisiting our favourites has now turned into looking out our own windows, wondering what we can do to get out while still limiting exposure to large crowds and being socially distant. Not to mention what does one do with MONTHS of pent up energy?

For me and my kids, we turn to nature.

Fortunately, we live in a region that is loaded with countless conservation areas, nature preserves, provincial parks and green spaces that are just waiting for us to explore. The trails are begging for wanderers feet, many of them being stroller and wheel chair accessible! And while thousands of people flee to the beaches, there’s empty trailheads and miles and miles of shady, cool woodland trails to be explored and so much for little (and big) minds to learn and discover! Here is a list of my top 5 (kid friendly!) hikes and natural attractions the BOQ region.

Pack a picnic and find your way to the cool shade of the pines beside the flowing waters of the millpond. Once done picnicking, meander through the pioneer village on the stroller friendly trails. Please remember to take everything with you when you leave as there are currently no garbage facilities. It’s also important to note that washroom facilities are also closed for the time being, due to COVID so plan accordingly. $5 Parking fee via the MacKay Pay app.

This is one of my faves for a quick hike that can easily be done in 45 minutes, but don’t rush this one! This conservation area is packed with variety, including the gorgeous Bay of Quinte shoreline, perfect for skipping rocks and watching sailboats, a limestone quarry (can you find the teepee?) and wonderfully accessible hiking trails.

Again, make sure to take all garbage with you and respect the primary goal of this area: conservation. Parking is free in all of QCA sites until September (be sure to check the website for updates) but otherwise it’s $5/vehicle or $50 for an annual pass.

At one point in time, the railway entered into and stretched across Prince Edward County. Though the trains are now gone, a wonderfully flat 40+ KM trail exists on the rail bed.

Plan an easy hike (or load up your bikes) for a relaxed experience across PEC. Access points can be found across the County but my favourite is Picton as we can finish our off-road adventure in town at Slickers Ice Cream (balance, am I right?). If coming out of town for this one, please be mindful of overcrowding in places such as Wellington and on the County Roads and perhaps plan to visit midweek. Also take note that this is a shared trail for walkers, cyclists and ATV’s.

If you’re really feeling like a good dose of Mother Earth is what’s needed, why not check out Menzel Centennial Nature Reserve? This area is owned by Ontario Parks and is strictly for hiking and picnics and to enjoy a rare bit of natural bog in SE Ontario.

Two extra long boardwalks, limestone alvar, and cedar woodlands make it a perfect mix for ID’ing birds, finding rare plant species and herping. Don’t know what herping is? Why not look it up and try it out? This is a one way in/out trail so please be mindful of other hikers and once again please respect the flora and fauna! There is no fee to access this reserve. Access is located 700m from the Deseronto Rd/Roblin Road intersection.

Operated by Lower Trent Conservation, this little gem of a conservation area is my favourite spot for a “heatwave hike”. The trees offer a generous amount of shade and it’s a short little trail so that you can finish it without sweating through your shirt! If a longer stay is what you’re looking for, it offers the flexibility to stay for the day on the connecting trails of the Lower Trent Trail system.

Here resides the Bleasdell Boulder - a massive glacial deposit that is over 2 billion (read that again, TWO. BILLION) years old. I don’t take the word boulder lightly, this thing is massive!! Stay and chill with the mammoth rock awhile and don’t forget to snap a few pics while you’re at it before hitting the loop trail back to the trailhead or continuing towards the Lower Trent Trail

Wherever your trails lead this summer, please be mindful of the areas and do your part to protect the natural habitat. Leave things cleaner, if you can. Do not venture off the trails, and be wary of ticks, poison ivy and wild parsnip.

Be sure to follow us along on our journey as we explore all things nature in the Bay of Quinte Region.

Happy hikes!

-- Alyssa


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