A World of Adventure Waiting to Be Explored
Escaping urban life to revel in nature’s glory is a longstanding Canadian tradition. It’s a chance to reconnect with our natural world, ourselves, and celebrate the majesty of Ontario’s rugged, raw beauty. The Island Lake Conservation Area in Orangeville provides the perfect spot for an unforgettable day trip to do precisely that: rejuvenate the mind and soul, get active, and be dazzled by scenic views.
Welcome to Trail Talks with YDH, a podcast series that teaches you about Ontario’s most treasured places: our parks, conservation areas and trails. This audio series contains incredible facts, music, stories, legends and more while you discover the importance of land conservation and tourism responsibility so we can enjoy our parks for years to come.
Vicki Barron Lakeside Trail Audio Tour
While you explore the Vicki Barron Lakeside Trail, follow along with our audio guide and downloadable map. These bonus tracks feature fascinating “Did You Know” facts about the stops along the trail.
Island Lake Conservation Area features a diverse landscape comprised of a variety of deciduous, mixed, and coniferous forests, wetlands, a large lake, as well as an abundance of wildlife. Island Lake’s waterways are teeming with a variety of fish species. Its woodlands are home to almost 700 unique species of plants and wildlife, including migratory birds, white-tailed deer, muskrats and mink, beavers and more.
Three Unique Trails at Island Lake
The Island Lake Conservation Area is about a 90-minute drive northwest of Toronto in the York-Durham-Headwaters region. It is maintained by Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), and is one of CVC’s first public conservation areas that opened in 1970. Hikers and cyclists, anglers and kayakers, nature lovers, and outdoor adventurers of all ages will love all that Island Lake park has to offer.
The Vicki Barron Lakeside Trail
For hikers, this 8.3-kilometre all-season trail will take approximately two hours to complete. It has a wide base made of packed gravel, which makes it suitable for hikers, cyclists, and strollers. There are also several sections with wooden bridges that cross the lake. The area also features multiple resting spots with scenic vistas and lake-spanning bridges to enjoy.
The Dods & McNair Memorial Forest Trail
A leisurely three-kilometre hike along a wide, packed earth and gravel trail that is comfortable to walk because it isn’t too physically demanding. The forest features memorial trees planted in memory of departed loved ones, as well as an awe-inspiring memorial dry-stone wall built in 2011 by dry-stone mason Eric Landman, and dedicated to the memory of his wife, Kerry. It is a structure of stone with no mortar that relies on gravity and friction to hold it together. It is a solemn and soothing place which provides a source of comfort and has a calming effect on the mind.
The Sugar Bush Trail
This forested rugged 2.3-kilometre trail can be a challenging hike since the forest floor is covered with uneven rocks and tree roots. It too is open year-round but be advised the trail is not maintained by conservation authority officials during the winter months. On this hike you’ll wander through a Maple-Beech forest. It’s beneath the shade of the tree canopy where lip-smacking, flavourful maple syrup is produced in March and April. There are also several picnic areas that can be reserved. To reserve a picnic spot, call 1-800-367-0890 in advance to book your space.
Staying Healthy and Safe
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few things to bear in mind before visiting Island Lake park. Ensuring everyone can safely enjoy their visit to the park requires adhering to a few best practices no matter what time of year it is.
Remaining vigilant about physical or social distancing and hand sanitizing, wearing a mask, keeping dogs on their leashes, refraining from littering anywhere in the park, and sticking to the trails so as to not disturb plants and wildlife are all vital things to remember. Also, be advised the public washrooms located throughout the park are closed at this time to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Other Things to Know Before Your Visit
Here is some additional information you will need to know before visiting the picturesque Island Lake Conservation Area:
- Cost: You will need to pay an admission or purchase a membership pass to Island Lake Conservation Area to explore both the Sugar Bush and Memorial Forest trails. Admission to the Vicki Baron Lakeside trail is free.
- Parking: Limited parking is available at both the north and south access points to Island Lake. The south shore trail entrance off Highway 10 across from Fourth Avenue in Orangeville and the Rotary Park at 75 Second Avenue in Orangeville have designated parking areas. Likewise on the north shore trail access at 673173 Hurontario Street North in Mono and at 246306 Hockley Road in Mono.
- Where to Eat: Whether you’re looking for a light snack, coffee and tea, fast food or a heartier meal, there are options aplenty in Orangeville near the park along Hurontario Street.
- Where to Get More Details: You can find more information about Island Lake park through the CVC website, by email at email@example.com.