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Kelso Conservation Area
Driving time from Burlington
Trails to explore
Once you get into Kelso Conservation Area, head to the parking lot by the beach and the visitor’s centre for easy access to the trails and washroom facilities. Prepare your daypack with the essentials, including sunscreen, bug spray, plenty of water and a map of the trails. Since the terrain can be a little rough, you’ll need a good sturdy pair of hiking shoes or some light hiking boots, and don’t forget a swimsuit if you want to spend some time at the beach later on.
Once you’re ready to go, head towards the bridge, climb up the stairs and cross over to where the majority of the trails start. Note: like some other conservation areas around Toronto, there’s a small fee to access the park.
Most of Kelso’s trails are shared with mountain bikers, but the Escarpment Trail is for foot traffic only. This beautiful forested trail takes you along the escarpment where you can steal glances of stunning views all along the way. Try not to get too distracted as the ground has roots and rocks to trip you up. The trail also has a beautiful lookout point, where you can take in the view by the cliff and snap a photo. The cliffs can be slippery when they’re wet, so play it safe while you’re soaking in the scenery.
Exploring the high trails
Feeling adventurous? Follow the gray rocky trail all the way up the hill. This climb is pretty exposed, so make sure to sunscreen up before you escape the trees’ cover. Once at the top, you’ll be faced with plenty of trails to choose from. Hop on Rock Garden and scope out your options as you meander by criss-crossing trails. A left turn will take you up easy Farmer Peter’s Field, right will lead you on Ascension while straight will bring you to B.T. Connector. Some trails, especially the black and double black diamond ones, are for bikes only – so pull out your trail map and double check before starting on one of them.
Cool off at the beach
After a long day of exploring the trails, head over to the beach and unlace your hiking boots to soak your feet in the water (pro tip: pack an extra pair of socks or sandals to change into after your hike). Now’s also a great time to pull out some snacks, a cold drink and enjoy a relaxing lunch outside. A number of picnic tables are available, but a blanket in the field or on the beach is a nice option too. Feel like a swim? Add another layer of sunscreen and hop in the water.