MTA El Camino 2016



Let us know if you have any questions.  We’ll post all questions and answers.

Note to 2015 El Camino Participants:  If you didn’t receive your participation badge, send us a note and we’ll get it to you. 


This year’s 2-day, 49km hike along the entire Maitland Trail will take place over the weekend of September 24-25, 2016.  Volunteers will be available each morning to shuttle you to your starting point, and then throughout the day at check points where you can have a few minutes to relax and refuel.

The Local Harvest Supper on Saturday evening will be a casual meal (optional) with delicious, hearty choices. A priority for us is to provide good quality food made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible.  See below for details.

On Friday night, September 23rd, there will be an informal get-together at Joe Friday’s on the square in Goderich.  See below for details.

Here’s a Google map of the weekend’s locations.


The Camino will follow the entire Maitland Trail from Auburn to Goderich, 49km in total.  The Trail follows the beautiful, winding route of the lower Maitland River, and includes areas of ecological significance.  You’ll traverse narrow trails, wide rambling trails, hills both up and down, through forests, past farmland, river vistas, autumn meadows, towering forests.  You may see wildlife – toads, salamanders, snakes; ravens, robins and eagles.  You’ll also pass in and out of tornado-damaged areas; the forest is recovering, and after 5 years, you’ll see forest succession in action with fall wildflowers and grasses in full competition with young maples, oaks, and beech trees.

Our trail is beautifully natural.  That means that you’re also likely to encounter bugs, spiders, and other prickly stingy things, and possibly rain. Be prepared for a fun adventure.

For those who would like to do the Longest Hike (49km):   On Saturday morning, you’ll check in at the Benmiller Community Hall (BCH), then shuttle to Auburn to begin your hike back to the BCH (29km).  When you’re finished hiking for the day, check out at BCH, so we know you’re safely off the trail.  On Sunday morning you’ll check in at the beach pavilion in Goderich, then shuttle to BCH to begin your hike back to Goderich (20km).

For those who would like to do the Long Hike:  On Saturday morning, you’ll check in at the BCH, then shuttle to your start location – either River Line (16km hike), or Sharpe’s Creek Line (11km hike).   When you’re finishing hiking for the day, check out at BCH, so we know you’re safely off the trail.  On Sunday morning, you’ll check in at the beach pavilion in Goderich, then shuttle to River Bend (13km hike) to begin your hike back to Goderich.

Shuttles will be available for those who need it.  If you can arrange to shuttle with a friend, that would be greatly appreciated.

Along the route there will be check points where water and snacks will be provided.  The snacks available won’t provide enough fuel for your hike;  make sure you bring enough food to last the day.  Check points will also have basic first aid equipment.  If you must end your hike for the day, you can be shuttled back to your car.  The best part about the check points are the friendly faces who provide sincere encouragement, and have genuine interest in how the hike is going for you.  They’re all volunteers who make this event possible.  Awesome!


Registration is now closed.


Friday September 23th

  • 5-9pm:  Pub Meet-up at Joe Friday’s on the Square in Goderich.  This is an optional, informal get-together.   Everyone is welcome.  See below for details.

Saturday September 24th – Auburn to Benmiller

  • 6:15-9:30am: The Oatmeal Breakfast Bar will be available at the Benmiller Community Hall (BCH).
  • 6:45 – 8:30am:  Longest Hike participants check in at BCH, shuttle to Auburn trail head.  Hikers will not be allowed to start the Longest Hike after 8:30am.
  • 8 – 11am:  Long Hike participants check in at the BCH, shuttle to chosen start point.
  • 1 – 5pm:  All hikers check out the BCH (end of Saturday hike).  Please do not dawdle.
  • 4:30pm – 7:30pm:  Harvest Supper at the Legion  (for those who have selected the dinner option at registration).  A cash bar will be available from 4:30, supper is at 5pm.

Sunday September 25th – Benmiller to Goderich

  • 6:30-9:30am: The Oatmeal Breakfast Bar will be available at the pavilion on the beach in Goderich.
  • 7 – 8:30am:  Longest Hike participants check in at the pavilion on the beach in Goderich, shuttle to Benmiller to continue hiking.
  • 8:30 – 11am:  Long Hike participants check in at the pavilion on the beach in Goderich, shuttle to chosen start point.
  • 12 – 4pm: All hikers check out (end of Sunday hike)


  • 2-day hike: Adults  $25   Child/Youth under 18:  $10
    (includes shuttles if needed, trail maps, water and snacks at the check points, souvenir badge on completion)


  • Catered Local Harvest Supper:  $30
  • Oatmeal Breakfast Bar:  By Donation
  • T-shirts:  $20
  • Trail Guides:  $15 ($12.50 for members)
  • Donation to the Footprints to Forests Campaign:  $5.50


The Maitland Trail Association is partnering with the local Conservation Authorities to let you know about an opportunity to compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions from your travel to Goderich.  If you’d like to offset your carbon production for travelling to the Camino, you have 2 options:

  • Go to Footprints to Forests to determine how many trees would offset your carbon.  Depending on the distance you’re travelling and the type of car, a donation of $5.50 would allow 1 tree to be planted, which would offset your GHG emissions for this trip.  Tax receipts will be issued for donations directly through the F2F website.


  • At registration, you’ll be offered the opportunity to donate $5.50.  In October, we’ll submit these funds to our Conservation Authority for tree planting in our watershed.

The MTA will be contributing to the F2F project by donating funds to compensate for the kilometres driven by the Camino shuttlers. We estimate this will be 1 tree, but we may donate for 2 trees just for the heck of it.  Last year (2015) our shuttle drivers drove over 2000km!

Q & A

Where is Goderich?

Goderich is a lovely little town on the shore of Lake Huron.

Where is the Maitland Trail?

The Maitland Trail follows the Maitland River fairly closely, between Auburn and Goderich.  It is a beautifully winding trail maintained by the dedicated volunteers of the Maitland Trail Association.

What is the Camino?

El Camino Maitland (El Camino de Sinuoso Rio Maitland) is a 49km, 2-day hike along the entire Maitland Trail.  It’s modelled after the somewhat-more-famous El Camino de Santiago de Compostella, the pilgrimage from southern France through the north of Spain to the Atlantic Ocean.

How long will the hike take? Is it a difficult hike?  Southern Ontario is flat, right??

This is important.  This is a challenging hike for experienced hikers.  Some hikers are not able to complete it.  Our best advice is this:  Prepare for the event and know how long it will take YOU to walk 30km on uneven terrain.

Is there an option to hike less than 49km?

There are 2 not so long hikes on Saturday – 16km and 11km.  On Sunday, there is one not so long hike of 13km.  You can choose the lengths that work for you. The not so long hikes are not short – you need to be prepared.

I heard something about breakfast being provided this year?

This year, we’ll have the option of a hearty, healthy breakfast at check in (the BCH on Saturday, and the beach pavilion on Sunday).  There will be hot oatmeal with a selection of fruit and nut toppings, milk/milk substitute, and real maple syrup, served with fresh fruit and coffee or tea.  Payment is by donation.

What’s for supper?

This year, our Harvest Feast will be at the Royal Canadian Legion in Goderich and catered by Cait’s Cafe.

  • Choice of (a) stout braised lamb stew with local root vegetables, OR (b) organic vegetable ratatouille with fresh herbs
  • Ploughman’s platter with local cheese, charcuterie, pickles and sourdough bread
  • Smoked Garlic mashed potato
  • Firmly Rooted organic salad greens w Cait’s mustard vinaigrette
  • Local apple crumble with cinnamon and vanilla creme anglaise

*Dinner will be a relaxed buffet style served from 4:30-7:30pm.

How does the shuttling work?

On each day, you’ll drive yourself to the check in point (the BCH on Saturday, and the beach pavilion on Sunday).  After you check in, one of our friendly volunteers will drive you to your start point. That’s it.  If you can arrange your own shuttling with a friend or group of friends, it would be greatly appreciated.  You can also take a taxi from Goderich; we’ll ensure the taxi company knows where BCH is.  We’ll provide those extra directions to the start points to anyone who needs them.

I’m coming from out of town.  Where can I stay?

While there are many types of accommodation in and around Goderich, there are several that are supporting the Camino this year that we’d like to show our appreciation for:  Hotel Bedford, the Colborne B&B, Eldon St Guest House, and the Cedar Lodge Motel.

Can you arrange carpooling from out of town?

We love the idea of carpooling for those coming from out of town. However, we have our hands full with organizing this big hiking event…. So, we invite you to join our Facebook page and connect with other hikers.  Whether you would like a ride, or have room in your own vehicle, fewer cars on the road is always a good thing.  Sometimes the best memories come from the most unexpected situations.

What should I bring?

A small back pack with:  A water bottle.  A cell phone.  A sun hat and sun screen, bug repellent, bandaids suitable for blisters, lunch for Saturday and Sunday, a small first aid kit with any particular items you may require, e.g. an asthma puffer. Don’t forget your preferred analgesic.

Where can I get a map of the trail?  Can I purchase a trail guide?

You’ll be provided with a trail map when you check in on Saturday morning.  If you’d like to see the maps sooner, you could order our trail guide.  Here is more information about the Maitland Trail guide, and navigating our trails.

What type of toilet options are part of the Camino experience?

There are indoor flush toilets at the beginning and end of each day, and an additional one about 4km into the 20k hike on Sunday.  There are a small number of outhouses which will be marked on the map that hikers receive at check in.  Otherwise, one must be prepared to go in the woods.  Here’s some good advice.  In addition, one should remember that most of the Maitland Trail is on private property and discretion and respect are very important.

Should I bring a sleeping bag?

Accommodation is not part of the event.  All participants need to make their own arrangements. Here are some options.

Will I be hiking in the dark?

Sunrise on that weekend will be about 7am.  If you plan to be on the trail at 7am, we advise that you bring a head lamp. Although the terrain is quite reasonable on the first section of trail, some of it is in the woods.

Will lunch be provided?

No.  During the hike, there will be 3-4 check points each day where snacks will be provided, and you’ll be able to refill your water bottle.  You’ll need to prepare your own lunch based on your own needs, for both Saturday and Sunday.

Where do I check in on Saturday?

At the Benmiller Community Hall (BCH).  The BCH is at 37252 Londesboro Road (County Rd 31), just east of Lucknow Line.  Benmiller is a small community southeast of Goderich.  FYI – The Community Hall was formerly known as the Forester’s Hall.  Here’s a Google map of the weekend’s locations.

Where do I check in on Sunday?

At the pavilion on the beach in Goderich.  In Goderich, go west on West Street, down the hill towards the beach, follow the road (there’s only one).  After you go around the big curve, the pavilion will be on your right, just past the old CPR station. Here’s a Google map of the weekend’s locations.

What’s happening on Friday Night at Joe Friday’s?

There will be an informal meet-up where hikers from out of town (or in town!) can get together.  Joe Friday’s is the place, it’s at the Hotel Bedford on the Square in Goderich.  Good pub grub and drinks will be available. Everyone pays for their own, and everyone is free to come and go as they like.  On the registration form, we’ll ask if you think you might be there or not, just so we can let the pub manager know roughly how many people to expect.

Are there t-shirts?  Are there photos of the T-shirts available?

All T-shirts ordered at registration will be available at Check in.  T-shirts can be ordered up until August 31.

  • Camino 2016 T-shirt – bamboo/cotton, Made in Canada, designed and embroidered right here in Goderich
  • MTA ROCKS – 100% cotton, unisex fit, white with a black image. OR light-weight bamboo-cotton, men’s or women’s cut, white or natural with a retro black image.
  • Camino 2014 T-shirts – Clearance!  $8 each!  Limited supply!  If you’re interested, send us a note to see if we have the size/colour combo for you.

How do I pay online?  Do I have to have a PayPal account to register online?

If you want to pay online, you’ll either need a PayPal account, OR a credit card.  Credit card payments are processed through PayPal.  Please note:  It is our preference for online payment, rather than snail mail registration.  It reduces the administrative work for our volunteers.  If you would rather not pay online, we understand. Just mail your cheque payable to Maitland Trail Association, Box 443 Goderich, ON, N7A 4C3.

I’m having trouble registering. What’s up?….

The online registration form is a little wonky within some email systems and on some mobile devices.  Unfortunately this finickyness is out of our control.  If you’re using a portable device, try using a desktop. If you’re not sure we’ve received your registration info, just send us a separate note [mta.goderich AT] and we’ll do a manual confirmation for you within 24hrs (if not sooner).  Be patient, and thankful that registration isn’t done by smoke signals. Wow; can you imagine?!

Something has happened and I can’t do the hike.  Can I get a refund?

Refunds are possible until September 8th.  A $5 fee will be retained, and we’ll return the balance of your fees after the event (October 2016).