Monarch butterflies, symbolic wood carvings, and a glistening lake surrounded by an authentic Iroquois village awaits in one of Ontario’s historical conservation sites. Last weekend, we grabbed our backpacks to go on a day hike to Crawford Lake (on the border of Milton and Campbelleville, Ontario). First of all, who knew this peaceful lake was only 45 minutes away from Toronto?
Each time, there is always something new to discover, whether it be a new trail or a wildlife species. Kids love Crawford Lake too and by the end of this blog post you’ll know why.
Here are five reasons to take the kids to Crawford lake now.
1. Hike up to five trails surrounded by nature, fresh air and wild bush. Open year-round, Crawford Lake is a nature enthusiast’s playground. Easy peasy, we did this loop many times and every time we witnessed something new. From watching a chipmunk climb up a tree to touching a dragon fly, there’s always something to watch out for.
Well, most kids can walk the Crawford Lake trail which goes 1.3 km around the lake. Alternatively, this boardwalk is stroller friendly. To tell you the truth, we saw at least 20 babies and toddlers active on this trail.
Still, any path you choose promises to get those legs moving. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling ambitious, there is an additional 7.2 km hike from Nassagaweya Canyon to Rattlesnake Point. Indeed, the Crawford Lake blue trail is easy for beginners or families with small children.
2. Learn about Iroquois life. Our son’s favorite thing to do was explore the small Iroquois village. Not to mention, three gigantic longhouses and a palisade that was rebuilt to look like the original structures in the 15th century. During the 1970-1980s, 11 longhouses and nearly 10 000 artifacts were found on this land, remnants of the Iroquois tribes that used to live here. In fact, inside two of the houses rest traditional artifacts such as furs, antlers and harvested corn which were a typical part of every day life. Presently, there are daily guided tours of the longhouses. For more information, visit the Crawford Lake website.
3. Play an outdoor game of hide-and-go-seek. Crawford Lake has their very own “Hide and Seek trail,” which has some of the most magnificent carved sculptures we’ve ever seen. No doubt, it’s hard not to notice the various carvings of many species at risk. Did you know? In Ontario, there are close to 200 species at risk which include the Monarch Butterfly, Jefferson Salamander and the Hooded Warber. See if you can spot one!
4. Roam and discover. Crawford Lake has about 19 km of hiking trails. In the winter, there are also cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails with access to the Bruce Trail. The boardwalk is a good way to protect nature while allowing entry to different observation points in the lake. In addition, there are many benches to rest and take it all in. We hiked this loop many times, and at one point our son fell asleep. What better way to take a nap feeling the calm breeze of the lake?
5. Get up close to this beautiful lake. Folks, I’m telling you this is too pretty to pass. The scenery around the lake is diverse as it includes meadows, a broad-leaved forest, a lake front, marshland and rugged trails. In any case, it’s common to spot animals and birds too. Get the children involved and make a game of finding different mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Afterwards, find a log or rock to sit on and enjoy this beautiful body of water. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a snack, have a break, and meet other fellow hikers. Most of all, don’t forget to take your trash with you as there are no bins nearby.
Now can you see why children are obsessed with Crawford Lake?
So, if you’ve never been to Crawford Lake before, we highly recommend it. Thinking about bringing your infant and not sure what to pack for a day hike? No problem, we have some helpful tips in Infant Travel: When Your Baby is Your Backpack.
Keep in mind, admission is $6.50 per adult, children under 4 years old are free. Admission includes access to all the Conservation Halton parks. Don’t miss the birds of prey and farm at Mountsberg or the chickadees at Hilton Falls. Print a copy of the Crawford Lake trails brochure here.
Oh, before I forget, there is also a visitors centre, a souvenir/snack shop and a picnic area on site. I know what you’re thinking, this place has it all. Actually, just a few more reasons to take the kids to go to Crawford Lake now.
Have you been to Crawford Lake before? What did you think? Do you plan on going with the kids? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks!
Darlynne founded Live Love Backpack to inspire others to make a positive difference in the world through traveling, volunteering, and self-awareness. Darlynne has traveled to over 76 countries. Family adventures include backpacking off the beaten path, hiking in Ontario and creating happy memories.