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Maitland Trail Association

El Camino Maitland

The El Camino Maitland is an annual fundraiser event that takes place each September. Participants challenge themselves by hiking the entire trail, or a distance they choose, over the course of a single weekend, meeting new people along the way. Checkpoints are staffed by friendly volunteers who provide encouragement, snacks and support to help you reach the finish line!

About the EL CAMINO Maitland
The 2024 El Camino Maitland will be held on September 21 & 22.
 

Registration will GO LIVE on Saturday, May 18, 2024.  

Check back here and follow us on social media for regular updates. 
 

NEW FOR 2024! Kids 17 & under hike for FREE and FREE PARKING!

Camino Badges Maitland Trail

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

 

THE HIKE:

 

The hike is a 2-day hike along the entire Maitland Trail that happens on a weekend in September every year.

 

The Camino will mostly follow the whole Maitland Trail from the trail head near Auburn to Goderich. With the Camino detours, the trail is almost 50.6 km. At registration time, there are options to hike shorter distances (Saturday – 16 km or 11 km; Sunday – 13 km). 

 

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, and towering forests. You may see wildlife – toads, salamanders, snakes, ravens, robins, and eagles. Our trail is beautifully natural. That means that you’re also likely to encounter bees, wasps, spiders, and other prickly stingy things, and possibly rain. Be prepared for a fun adventure.

 

Hikers under 18 years of age are welcome, but they must be accompanied on the hike by an adult.

 

Whichever length you choose, your days will look like this: 


 

On Saturday morning, check in at the Benmiller Community Hall, then be shuttled to the start point. When you’re finished hiking for the day, you will check out from where you started from, so we know you’re safely off the trail. 


 

On Sunday morning, check in at the beach pavilion in Goderich, then be shuttled to your start point to begin your hike back to Goderich.

 

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, so make sure you bring enough food to meet your needs for the day. Check points will also have basic first aid equipment. 

 

If you must cut your hike short, you will be shuttled back to your car. The best part about the check points are the friendly faces who provide sincere encouragement and have a genuine interest in how the hike is going for you. They’re all volunteers who make this event possible. Awesome!

 

Under no circumstances will hikers be allowed to start the longest hike after 8:30 am.

The Saturday hike finishes at 5 pm, and the Sunday hike finishing at 4pm.

 

For safety reasons, all hikers must be off the trail by those times. If it looks like you won’t make the cut-off, you’ll be invited to hopscotch to the next check point.

       

  • Where is the Maitland Trail?
    The Maitland Trail, approximately 52-kilometers long, stretches between Goderich and Auburn, in beautiful Southwestern Ontario. In total, the MTA maintains over 80 kilometers of trails available for public use year-round. Our Trail Guide is available for purchase, and there is a kmz file that you can download.
  • What is an MTA Subscription?
    A subscription is a convenient way for you to pay your membership fees or to make donations automatically using PayPal. Membership subscriptions are for 5 years, and you will receive a membership card each year, and a reminder when your membership fees are due next. Donation subscriptions are $5 per month and have no expiry date. You’ll receive a tax receipt each January. Subscriptions may be cancelled by you at any time through PayPal.
  • Why does MTA use PayPal?
    PayPal is convenient and an increasing number of people prefer to pay online, rather than using regular mail. Note: to use PayPal, you don’t have to have an account; you can use a credit card through PayPal. Also, PayPal saves our volunteers time and money. We also accept e-Transfer as a method of payment.
  • Do I have to be a member to join an MTA hike?
    No, non-members are always welcome to join our free organized hikes and bike rides if you register in advance and sign the online waiver. However, there are benefits to becoming a member, such as receiving our Newsletter and invitations to events directly to your inbox.
  • Do I have to wear hiking boots on the trails?
    We recommend that you wear sturdy footwear appropriate for the weather and terrain. Some of our trails are wide and flat and are well suited to hiking sandals. However, some trails are quite rugged and natural, and home to sharp sticks, spiders, and poison ivy. We want you to protect yourself and enjoy your hike. For organized events, our hike leaders have the right to refuse a participant who they deem to be unfit or unprepared for a hike. Your safety and enjoyment are important to us.
  • Do I have to pre-register for MTA organized hikes and bike rides?
    Yes, contact the Hike Leader at least 24 hours before the hike so they can plan accordingly. Some hikes require transportation or last-minute details to be communicated, and some outings are weather dependent. Guided hikes also have a limited number of participants.
  • How do I join an organized hike?
    Check the schedule on our Events page, and contact the Hike Leader at least 24 hours before the hike. Be sure to thoroughly read the hike description so you are aware of the difficulty level, length of time and all other important details.
  • Can I bring my child and/or dog on an organized hike?
    Dogs on leash and children are usually welcome on hikes, although not all hikes are suitable in length or difficulty for those with very short legs. It’s best to call the hike leader to ensure your dog and/or child will enjoy the hike. Please be sure to clean up after your pets.
  • Am I permitted to ski, cycle, snowmobile, or horseback ride on MTA trails?
    Permission of landowners is granted for foot traffic only, i.e. no motorized vehicles. Also, there are many sections where cycling and horseback riding are not appropriate or safe. Note: Parts of the G2G Rail Trail are suitable for snowmobiling for those with valid permits, and horseback riding, excluding the section west of Highway 21, and the Menesetung Bridge.
  • How do I earn an End-to-End Badge?
    You may order an End-to-End badge from the MTA Store. You can earn the badge if you hike the entire trail on your own or during the MTA guided tours. Have you heard of the annual MTA Camino? Check out the El Camino page under Events.
  • Are the trails safe?
    MTA volunteers work very hard to ensure that trails are as safe as reasonably possible. While enjoying your hike, please be responsible on the trails and follow the safety guidelines. Always be aware of your surroundings including possible wind damage that could shake branches loose from above. Please report any unsafe conditions that you encounter.
  • How do I become an MTA volunteer?
    Volunteers are vital to the MTA, so we have numerous volunteer opportunities. Trail Rangers adopt a portion of the trail, deal with small maintenance issues, and report larger issues to the maintenance crew. Our Thursday Trail Crew fix larger problems, and continually improve structures and access. Hike Leaders are trained to lead hikes throughout the year. Occasionally, we also require additional people to help at special events or administration.
  • Is my membership fee a tax-deductible donation?
    MTA is registered with Canada Revenue Agency as a non-profit organization and membership fees are not considered to be tax-deductible donations. We are only permitted to issue a tax receipt if there is no return monetary value for the donor. A membership has value and, therefore, does not qualify. Of course, we will gladly issue a tax receipt for donations.
  • Where does my donation to MTA go?
    Excellent question! Donations are an important source of revenue for the Maitland Trail Association. We are an all-volunteer organization. Monies raised through memberships, donations, etc. are used for trail maintenance, event funding, insurance, and operating costs.
2019 Camino Video
Maitland Trail Camino
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