Attractions / The Wedge / Tourism / What To Do

Free and Fabulous : Seven 2-Hour Treks Close To Home

By MAGGIE M, Editor, Wedgee-in-Chief, and East Ontario Trekker 🚘 SHARE buttons at story’s end

O! the darling buds of May. Wait, it’s still April. Beat the overcast-cool-weather-blues, throw on your jackets and pile in the car. Go!

You may still require a pair of mucky-muck boots or shoes to explore our region. It’s epic as waters surge and creatures re-emerge. Here are some trek suggestions perfect for the season. You can do them in under two hours or soak them in and linger.

Let the birds chirp in your heart and the breeze tickle your face!

Swinging pedestrian bridge (Mayor and Deputy Clerk shown) in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

1. The Ottawa Valley WOW! Trek : Arnprior, Renfrew and Pembroke

FIRST STOP : Locate the Tallest Tree in Ontario in Gillies Grove, Arnprior. It’s thirteen stories high! Start your trek here. And build to the next on our checklist.

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SECOND STOP : Swing over to raging water under Renfrew’s swinging walking bridge–one of two in Canada. Then move on to the next town. Check!

p.s. take the fam to Tracey’s Ice Cream bar three minutes away. This is where they make the ice cream. Unique flavors are here.

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THIRD STOP : The Boardwalk along Ottawa River in Pembroke is simply stunning, beautiful. You will notice an extraordinary mural as you enter–the town features thirty-two more! This is a nice finish. Check!

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Canon overlloking the St. Lawrence River at XXX PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

Cannon high up on a hill, site of Crysler’s battefield, near Upper Canada Village, looking over the St. Lawrence. PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

2. The “St. Lawrence River Triangle” Trek : West of Cornwall

The Lost Villages of the St. Lawrence can be captured in three astounding, closely located places. Long Sault has a road that goes into the river. It marks the lost villages’ (when the St. Lawrence was flooded to make way for large ships) main road.

FIRST STOP : Start at The Lost Villages outdoor-indoor exhibit eastward and make your way west from there. Check!

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SECOND STOP : Drive through The Islands of the Long Sault Parkway–eleven tiny islands I call a necklace of pearls. Check!

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THIRD STOP : Finish at the incredible Upper Canada Village. To keep it “free,” see the battlefield sites on its West side. Climb up to the cannon and look below at the St. Lawrence at Crysler’s battlefield.

There is also a mock soldier camp your kids will love and a miniature train that can take you along the river to the battlefield.

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Cargo ship viewed from Hardy Park, Brockville, Ontario, Canada PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

3. The Cargo Ships Show, Train Tunnel and Ducklings : Brockville

FIRST STOP : Children just love cargo ships–especially when they honk their horns. There is no better front-row seat than Brockville–on Block House Island or in Hardy Park. I just can’t decide which is better. Check!

SECOND STOP : You might also want to feed the ducklings floating at your feet on the east side of the park. Oops that’s not allowed! The kids will squeal though! Check!

THIRD STOP : Another free highlight is the renown train tunnel, steps from the above. Great visual and spatial experience. Not to be missed!

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The Waterfront Trail passes under the international bridge in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

4. The Waterfront Trail To Hail : Cornwall

The waterfront trail stretches across Ontario but in Cornwall it is most captivating with sites, twists and surprises. Start in Lamoureux Park and follow westward. Bring your bikes and trikes but you can travel on foot with ease. Stop under the international bridge–a very unusual dramatic spot among many.

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Picnic area at Anniversary Park on the edge of Ferguson Forest, Kemptville, Ontario, Canada PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

5. The “Most Enchanting” Ferguson Forest : Kemptville

Kemptville’s Ferguson Forest is replete with trails and a cupola for picnicking on river’s edge. It’s a destination in itself.

Stick your socks over your pants, bring some rubber boots and have a ball. You will never spot and hear creatures better than in Spring–when they are not hiding under foliage.

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Battle of the Windmill, Prescott, Ontario, Canada PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

6. The Fort of Forts, a Windmill and Shakespeare : Prescott

FIRST STOP : Wellington Fort alone is cause to drop into downtown Prescott. The kids will love to climb the moats and sit on the cannons. Canada would not exist without this battlefront pushing back the Yanks. Check!

SECOND STOP : The windmill nearby is another battle site to pop into–absolutely stunning camera moments. Check!

THIRD STOP : Your kids will love Shakespeare’s stage, climbing up and having their voices echo under its roof. Yep, I did it–on video.  “To do or not to do it, that is the question!” The ice cream lighthouse might be open.

All of these spots are on the St. Lawrence making them all the more experiential.

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Beautiful Downtown Almonte features cascading waterfalls, Almonte, Ontario, Canada PHOTO BY theWedge.LIVE

7. Dynamic Trio : Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and Almonte

FIRST STOP : Smiths Falls offer a dizzying look down into Ontario’s deepest lock. You can walk over it and test your vertigo while the Rideau River puddles deep below. Check!

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SECOND STOP : Thirty minutes north, Carleton Place’s recently opened trail is a stunning one to travel, on foot or bike. You will stand hundreds of feet above the Mississippi River. Check!

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THIRD STOP : You could literally bike to Almonte in 30+ minutes on this trail. With kiddies, I’d take the car. Almonte is fifteen minutes away by car. It’s cascading waterfalls are a site to behold. Literally, rushing behind its famous shops on Mill Street. Follow the paths along the water. Tweeners and teenagers will want to climb down onto the rocks–it’s a thing.

Maybe that famous donut factory will be open uptown (it backs on Your Independent Grocer.)

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Have a great trek and tell us about it below when you return. Or post any questions you have for us to guide your trek.

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