Explore Our Trails
Hike Our Trails
All of KCCA’s hiking trails are classified as natural surface recreational trails suitable for most users who have some basic trail experience. There are some inclines and you may encounter stumps, uneven ground and wet or slippery conditions. Be prepared for the conditions and any trail closures will be listed on this page. KCCA Trails are open from dawn to dusk, May 1 to November 30.
Remember Trail Etiquette
- Hike only along marked routes. Do not take shortcuts.
- Leave the trail cleaner than you found it; carry out all litter.
- Leave flowers, plants and wildlife for others to enjoy.
- Keep dogs on a leash.
- Leave only your thanks; take nothing but photographs.
Lake Whittaker Trail
Lake Whittaker is an 11 hectare spring-fed kettle lake that formed during the last ice age when a chunk of ice from the retreating glacier broke away to create a depression. It is the most southerly in-land lake in Canada and the headwaters of Kettle Creek. A 4.5 kilometre natural surface hiking trail loops around the lake providing a spectacular view of provincially significant wetlands, plantation, sugar bush and mixed deciduous forest. In the spring the forest is a riot of colour from early blooming flowers such as white and red trilliums, trout lily, may apple, bloodroot and wild geranium. The trail is also a bird watching mecca as migratory birds use the area as a rest stop before continuing their journey north to their breeding grounds. Over 200 bird species have been recorded at Lake Whittaker.
Day-Use/Seasonal Permits are required to access Lake Whittaker Conservation Area. Permits can be obtained at the KCCA Administration Centre, and Lake Whittaker and Dalewood Conservation Area gatehouses. Permits are not trail specific; permits provide access to all of KCCA’s trails and day-use facilities. Permits are provided free of charge to hiking groups and nature groups; ask for details. KCCA Trails are open from dawn to dusk, May 1 to November 30.
Dalewood Reservoir Trail
Dalewood Reservoir Trail is a looped trail that meanders around 25 hectares of Provincially Significant Wetland. As you explore the trail you will be met with views of the Dalewood Reservoir and mixed deciduous forest. Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the many vistas along the trail route which may provide a glimpse of Osprey, Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons. The Least Bittern, a species at risk in Ontario, has also been documented in the area. Located just outside of the City of St. Thomas, the trail is easily incorporated into a day trip or a weekly exercise routine. There are several access points along Dalewood Reservoir Trail making entry easy and the length of your hike variable. No permit is required.
Dan Patterson Trails
Nestled in the Kettle Creek valley, the Dan Patterson Trail provides users with the opportunity to see a variety of different land uses within the Kettle Creek watershed including successional forest, mature forest, pine plantation, a created wetland feature and agricultural fields. The Dan Patterson Trail consists of two distinct loops, the Old Growth Forest Trail and the Wetland Trail. While exploring the Wetland Trail take a moment to stop and enjoy the view of the wetland from one of the lookouts. The Old Growth Forest Trail takes trail users under Highbury Avenue through the Kettle Creek valley.
Kirk Cousins Trail
Kirk-Cousins trail is a bird watcher’s paradise. A’Nowaghi Forest Ponds or, a “place of the turtles,” is an important nesting and migration area for birds and has been designated a Provincially Significant Wetland and an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA). The trail meanders past a wetland feature and through a mixture of forest and meadow habitats which are home to a variety of plants and animals native to the Carolinian Life Zone. Visitors will get a bird’s eye view of the Kirk-Cousins Management Area’s natural beauty from two lookouts along the trail.
Day-Use/Seasonal Permits are required to access Kirk-Cousins Management Area. Permits can be obtained at the KCCA Administration Centre, and Lake Whittaker and Dalewood Conservation Area gatehouses. Permits are not trail specific; permits provide access to all of KCCA’s trails and day-use facilities. Permits are provided free of charge to hiking groups and nature groups; ask for details. KCCA Trails are open from dawn to dusk, May 1 to November 30.
Evans Sisters' Water Trail
The Evans Sisters’ Water Trail was envisioned to provide the community with another way to experience the Dalewood Reservoir and Kettle Creek by kayak, canoe or paddleboard. The Water Trail will provide views of majestic trees, the music of nature created by the array of wildlife that call this area home and the opportunity to teach new generations about nature and outdoor recreation. This 2.8 km water trail leads canoeists and kayakers through 25 hectares of Provincially Significant Wetland. Dalewood Reservoir is one of the few open water bodies within the City of St. Thomas offering spectacular views of Bald Eagles, Osprey, and Great Blue Herons.
Interested in our canoe and kayak rentals? Please call 226-378-7158 for more information.