The trail featured this week is the Falls Reserve (#4 in the 2016 Huron Hiking Guide, #5 in the 2013 guide. The Falls Reserve Conservation area has a number of trails, including about 2.4 km of the Maitland Trail, plus trails suitable for skiing and snowshoeing when conditions permit. Day use admittance to the Reserve costs $5 off season and $8 in summer, free with a current MTA membership card. The various camping and seasonal fee schedules can be found at www.mvca.on.ca. There is a lovely waterfall very popular with fishermen, and swimmers in the summer. During a very cold winter occasionally the falls freeze over. In the past few years several new trails have been developed and maps added at most intersections. There is also one new trail that is not yet on the maps. I prefer avoiding the steep hill at the west end of the blue trail. There is a concession and regular washroom open in the summer season.
I remember hiking an end to end in May expecting the concession to be open but there was a fishing event on and the concession was closed, no ice cream after all! The outhouse shown in the MTA guidebook (near the old group campsite) is no longer there, but there are now two “Vault Toilets” i.e. Porta Potties which are only shown on a few of the maps. There is usually an MTA river walk from the main falls to the smaller falls in the summer as the rocks are flat and the deep pools can usually be avoided. One year the river walk went upstream to Benmiller but this was very tricky due to round slippery rocks and deep pools. In the 2003 book, “Trees of the Carolinian Forest by G Waldron,” the largest White Cedar in Ontario was listed in 1976 as being in the Falls Reserve at 17.6m high and 178 cm diameter. Unfortunately it is no longer standing.
There have been 5 editions of the Huron County Hiking guide. I only go back to the 3rd edition in 2006 when only 23 trails were listed. The 2010 edition has 27 listings having added the Lobb trail, Bayfield Woodland and Sawmill trail, Heritage trails in Seaforth and Bayfield and Linfield Wildlife area and having removed the Hay Swamp and the Municipality of Bluewater trails. In 2013 The Redmond and Stevenson tracts were added as were the Varna Nature trails, and the Linfield trail was removed. In 2016 the Maple Sugar Bush trail was removed and the Menesetung Bridge/Tiger Dunlop Trail was expanded to show the Olde Menesetung Trail. Hence there may be confusion of the reference number I quote which is based on the 2016 edition, which may be different from the number in older guides. Hike Huron has the 2013 edition, and Ontario’s West Coast has the 2016 edition available as downloads.