Along the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail

Hiking the Oaks Ridges Moraine Trail

"The Trust has also commemorated some of Ontario’s historical routes with provincial plaques. These include: the Grand Portage in Thunder Bay, the Great Sauk Trail in Essex County, the Long Point Portage, and the three La Vase (Mud) Portages in North Bay."


Paula Terpstra

Environment, Natural heritage

Published Date:15 Feb 2007

Photo: Hiking the Oaks Ridges Moraine Trail

Hiking along the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail offers a memorable experience. Situated close to the Greater Toronto Area, the Trail provides an opportunity to encounter nature and rejuvenate your physical and mental health.

The Oak Ridges Moraine Trail follows the Moraine – a prominent ridge of land up to 300 metres high that runs parallel to, and about 60 km north of, Lake Ontario. It extends about 200 km from the Niagara Escarpment in the west to the Trent River in the east.

Several organizations were formed in the late 1980s with the original intent of lobbying for a planning system that would protect the fragile and environmentally significant landform, support a planned recreational trail system and protect the natural environment through strategic land securement. The Province of Ontario, through the 2001 Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act and the subsequent 2002 Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, has committed to protect the water and natural heritage features of the Moraine. The plan also recognizes existing human activities and associated settlements.

The Oak Ridges Moraine Trail is a continuous footpath of main and side trails extending over 250 km from Palgrave in the west to Gore’s Landing on Rice Lake in the east. The goal is the eventual extension of the trail as far as Castleton at the eastern edge of the Moraine, to a length of approximately 300 km. The Trail currently exists on public and private lands. Efforts are ongoing to move the Trail off roads and secure it within an optimum corridor area.

Linkages with other trail systems in Ontario have already been achieved, including the Bruce Trail, which traverses the Niagara Escarpment and the Ganaraska Trail, west of Rice Lake.

The Ontario Heritage Trust is supportive of efforts being made by organizations associated with the Oak Ridges Moraine to preserve and protect the natural environment while also securing a recreational trail. These include the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust (ORMLT) and the Oak Ridges Trail Association (ORTA).

Creating Oak Ridges Moraine partnerships follows in the footsteps of the work the Trust has done to protect land for the Bruce Trail. The Trust, through the Ontario Heritage Act, can hold lands for trail purposes or can protect them with conservation or trail easements. Since 1997, the Trust has worked in partnership with the Bruce Trail Association to support the completion of that Trail.

The Trust’s Natural Spaces Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program, run in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources, provides an additional opportunity for organizations to apply for and receive funding toward the acquisition of significant natural properties, including the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail.

Map courtesy of the Oak Ridges Trail Association

Map courtesy of the Oak Ridges Trail Association