There are two things you can do on a rainy day. Stay in bed or at home, or do brunch in the city. Or you can pull on hiking boots, your comfortable old jeans and a light rain jacket, and head to the many hiking trails that are within about an hour’s drive from Toronto.
A few weekends ago, on a rainy Saturday, my boyfriend enticed me into a drive out to Crawford Lake, a favourite hiking spot near Milton (On Conservation Road and Guelph Line, 5 km south of Highway 401, 15 km north of the QEW).
We had a little epiphany – there are moments when the rain is very light, and when nobody else is on a trail (scared of a few rain drops!). These are the moments when the forest comes alive and when you can stop, smell the fresh air and experience a few minutes of true peace.
Crawford Lake is particularly a beautiful spot on a rainy day. On a day without wind, after a rainfall, the mist can rise, shrouding the lake in a translucent cloak. Walking around the boardwalk doesn’t take long, but taking a few moments to pause at various lookouts gives you some gorgeous views.
Springtime can also be an ideal time to visit this conservation area – the boardwalk means you avoid muddy trails. The many rocks, native to the Niagara Escarpment, offer flashes of brilliant green with mosses and lichens – they contrast with the bare trees that are just budding.
After a walk around the lake, head to the reconstructed 15th century Iroquoian village where you can take a look inside long houses to get a sense of how “urban” life was like about 500 to 600 years ago. The village is located in the same spot where the original one stood.
To get back into outdoor life, Crawford Lake is a great place to visit at this time of the year. In the summer, you can explore the more difficult trails in the Nassagaweya Canyon which offer you a fantastic workout on the trails going up and down into the valley.
Park admission is $7.25 (with HST included) for adults.
Margaret Antkowski is a Toronto-based blogger and writes the awesome outdoorsy blog, (Sub)urban Tourist. Check it out!