EXPLORING SOME OF THE MANY TRAILS THAT THE ORILLIA AREA HAS TO OFFER!
Earlier this year, I met up with a friend in the Orillia, Ontario, area and we hiked a couple local trails. After spending part of the morning hiking the Water’s Edge Trail at McRae Point Provincial Park, we headed into Orillia for lunch.
We decided on checking out a local restaurant called Viet & Thai in downtown Orillia. I had never had Thai food before so that would be an adventure on it’s own! We both ordered the Saigon Chicken Rice Noodle Soup with Tropical Mango ice cream for dessert. Both were delicious!
Back in the car, we drove across to the west side of Orillia. The next trail we were heading to was located just on the edge of town and was called the Scout Valley Loop Trail. We had decided to try this trail as it was easy to drive to, was close by, and had parking and winter access.
Arriving at the parking lot, we could already see that this was a popular place as there were several cars parked there.
Scout Valley is a 230 acre protected natural heritage conservation area. It is a Cultural Landscape containing current as well as historical man-made features such as remnants of previous land uses, including a former Scout Camp which is where it’s name comes from.
Located right beside the trailhead is the historic Regan House. The house was constructed in the early 1830s and is the oldest surviving log cabin in Orillia. It was dismantled at it’s former location in Orillia in 2006 and reconstructed at it’s new location at Scout Valley. It is now used by different community organizations.
The Scout Valley Loop Trail is a trail system consisting of three 2km loops that can be connected to form one large 6km loop, along with several other connecting side trails. There are a few different access points to the trail system from the surrounding roads. Due to the lack of daylight we had left during this winter afternoon we decided to do just one of the 2km loops.
We choose to hike the 2km Algonquin Loop as we could see on the map that it crossed a little creek and bridge that was supposed to be quite scenic and it also looped up around to a lookout.
As we started along the trail there was more evidence of this being a well used trail. The trail was packed down hard and we passed several people along the way. Everyone we met along the trail had a dog, so we guessed that this must be a popular trail for locals to walk their dogs after work or school.
There were quite a few birds in the trees along the trail which was nice to see. We saw Chickadees, Nuthatches, Blue Jays, and a Pileated Woodpecker. We also saw lot of Squirrels.
The trail led us down into the valley and we could start to hear and see the little creek that winded it’s way through.
We arrived at the little walking bridge over the creek and spent some time taking photos there.
It was a quiet and peaceful little spot, and was beautiful with the fresh blanket of snow covering the trees and ground throughout the forest. I can imagine that this would be a very nice spot during any season!
Continuing on, the trail started to go uphill on the other side of the valley. We hiked up and up and finally found the wooden platform at the top of the hill. From this lookout we could actually see Lake Simcoe, just south of Orillia.
Looking back the other direction we could see a sunset starting to appear. The sun was starting to set and it was time to keep heading down the trail to complete the loop.
As the trail looped down through the forest and back over the little walking bridge, we could see glimpses of the sunset glowing through the trees.
We made it back to the parking lot and then drove back into Orillia.
It had been a wonderful day! We had enjoyed the Water’s Edge Trail in the morning and also enjoyed the Scout Valley Loop Trail in the afternoon. I wouldn’t mind returning to both these trails sometime, possibly in warmer weather, and complete their entire length. I’d also like to explore some of the many other trails that the Orillia area has to offer!