crawford lake

This elevated boardwalk is just one hour from Toronto

Toronto is blessed with many hiking options in and around the city, but if you're looking for a unique nature trek, a visit to this conservation area near Campbellville should be on your list.

Crawford Lake is one of the most scenic areas within an hour's drive of Toronto. Nestled on the Niagara Escarpment, there are lots of trails here, but the highlight is the 1.4 kilometre elevated boardwalk that curls around the lake.

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The views are truly special, and not just on account of the scenery. This is what's known as a meromictic lake, which means the layers of water here don't intermix. Thus the deepest parts of Crawford Lake have been undisturbed for centuries.

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When this quality was discovered in 1971, the site immediately became of significant archeological interest, which turned up corn pollen in the lower sediment. This ultimately led to the discovery of an Iroquoian settlement nearby that dates back 600 years.

Today the site features a reconstructed Iroquoian village that's based on the 11 longhouses that were uncovered here. This historical feature near the entrance of trail surely enhances the view as you imagine what life was like here centuries ago.

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In addition to the boardwalk, the conservation area is home to a series of other scenic trails, one of which stretches all the way to the popular Rattlesnake Point and offers amazing views from the escarpment.

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Those making a trip out to Crawford Lake should also be on the lookout for turtles. The upper portion of the lake is teeming with wildlife, and it's not uncommon to see a bale of snappers swimming near the surface.

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Crawford Lake is open year round, but it's at its most beautiful when the colours change in the fall. A boardwalk hike in late September and early October is a glorious experience.

Lead photo by

Halton Region


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