There’s a hidden network of trails about an hour from Ottawa and you’ll walk through jungle-like forests, past open views of wetlands and on boardwalk paths.
Mac Johnson Wildlife Preserve is home to 11 kilometers of trail loops in Brockville. It’s an easy hike of hilly areas and some flat spaces.
The Boardwalk Trail is about the center of the hiking loops and you will follow other trails like the Railway Trail or the Old Woods Trail to reach this section. It winds through the forest, along the edge of the water and above a marsh.
You will start on the Wildflower Loop near the spacious parking lot which is full of interpretive signs with information about the conservation area. You can choose the duration of your hike along several connected trails.
At the trailhead there is a picnic area, rest areas, an outhouse, and a warming up area with a fire pit for when the weather turns cold. There is a small picnic area and another parking lot at the opposite end of the trails from Centennial Road. There are also canoe access points on the water.
The area is known to be home to the rare Trumpeter Swan and the birds still often visit the pond. It is an open water habitat for many species of plants and birds, so keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.
The trail system is called Back Pond by locals. It is open year-round so you can admire the changing seasons and even go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in winter.
Mac Johnson Wildlife Reserve
Price: Free (donations accepted)
Address: 4673 Debruge Road, Brockville, ON K6T 1A5
Why you need to go: You can explore this hidden network of trails through swampy forest areas and on boardwalks that overlook a pond.
Before you go, check out our Guide to Responsible Travel to be informed, be safe, be smart, and most importantly, be respectful on your adventure.