Even though it is near the edge of our 25 km boundary, the Old Growth Trail at Dan Patterson Conservation Area was well worth the trip. It’s an area that contains some of the remaining Carolinian forest around here:
The reason for the high biodiversity in the Carolinian forest of Ontario is its unique climate; it has the warmest average annual temperatures, the longest frost-free seasons, and the mildest winters of any region in Ontario. This distinctive climate is largely due to the nearby Great Lakes which moderate the temperature of the surrounding land.Wikipedia
The trail starts by passing underneath Highbury Avenue and then follows the south side of Kettle Creek as the trail heads west. This part of the trail was clearly part of an old road; the bridge over the Kettle Creek was pretty substantial.
Like many hikes in the area, when you are at the same level as a creek or pond, you will be going uphill soon. And the pattern held for the Old Growth Trail. The trail climbed out of the creek valley to skirt a number of farmer’s field before finishing up at a birder’s viewpoint.
We picked a good time to hike the trail as the leaves of the trees were not fully out and we could see many unique species not far off the trail, especially when we dropped to the lower trail at the west end, This tree was especially impressive:
All in all, a very enjoyable hike.