About 14 km
5 h or more depending on time spent at the Heritage Village.
Rolling hills, wetland areas. Not recommended in mosquito season.
Free parking; entry fee if parking near the Heritage Village.
Washrooms at Heritage Village
At picnic tables near Heritage Village
12 Oct 2004
Not wheelchair accessible except for Heritage Village.
The Wetlands Trail can be omitted.
Backus Heritage Village
The Backus Woods hike combines a hike through the Backus Woods along with a visit to the Heritage Village. At 260 hectares, Backus Woods is one of the largest Carolinian forest areas in Canada with mature forest making up three-quarters of the woods. Backus Woods boasts a variety of tree species including black oak, beech, sugar maple, red maple, silver maple and yellow birch. Samples of American sweet chestnut, black gum and tulip trees can be seen. There is a variety of bird species, snakes (Garter & the rare Eastern Hognose), plus the usual squirrels and chipmunks. More than 15 reconstructed heritage buildings can be seen in Backus Heritage Village.
Adjacent to the Backus Heritage Conservation Area is Backus Woods which is renowned as Canada's largest remaining example of Carolinian Forest. You can hike or ski along the 12 km of self-interpreting trails that wind through these magnificent 280 ha woods. As you walk along the trails, you will learn (by way of display boards) to identify many uncommon, southern hardwoods. You will see the tall Tulip Trees, the beautiful Flowering Dogwood, Sour Gum, Sassafrass and the American Sweet Chestnut along with many ferns and wild flowers. The trails are open to the public all year round. On the 60 ha Charles Sauriol Carolinian Forest Property, the Conservation Authority is attempting to recreate Carolinian Forest habitat. This property provides an important protective buffer strip for Backus Woods.
I had first checked out Backus Woods as a possible hike location in the fall but returned the following June with my friend John to scout out the area in earnest. When we parked in the small woodland parking lot and got out of the car to get our gear for the hike, we were instantly attacked by dozens of mosquitos. I raced to open the trunk and locate the insect repellant and we covered ourselves with the spray. That helped - for a bit. We decided to try the hike anyways and set out on the trail swatting away as we went. After 20 minutes it was just too much and John already had numerous bites on his bare legs. Fortunately I had long pants on. No matter how much you swatted, they kept bazzing all around us. It was unbearable and neither of us had ever seen anything like this before. I could see clouds of mosquitoes buzzing around John's head and legs. It seemed like these mosquitos hadn't fed in years and their day had finally come. We left with a hastry retreat nursing our bites.