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Hike Info

N44.06039 W79.30767

15 km

3.5 h


234 m

Sandy relatively flat with some rolling hills.

Free parking


At the pond or between waypoints (006) - (007)

02 May 2006, 11 Jun 2006

Not wheelchair accessible; dogs and horses allowed on the trails


You can omit any of the loops desired.

The pond

X-country skiing; snowshoeing.


The Site

Eldred King Woodlands

This hike takes place in the Eldred King Woodlands consisting of various tracts of land.

West Main Tract: This 84.6 ha tract is located between the 7th Concession and Hwy 48 approximately 2.5 km north of Ballantrae. The tract contains a variety of conifer plantations and natural forest stands. Its varied vegetation and topography, extensive network of roads and trails and the Eldred King Woodlands Pond make it one of the more heavily used tracts by the public. The tract also contains a headwater tributary of the Black River, which originates to the east and upstream of the pond. Access is from an entrance way and parking lot located off of Hwy 48. The majority of the conifer stands were established in the 1920’s as early as 1924, the year the forest was established.

Riders share the trail

Hall Tract: Located to the east off of the 7th Concession, the tract is 84.6 ha in size. The tract contains a variety of conifer plantations and natural forest with some open areas and young plantation on the eastern edge. This tract also has some interesting and steep terrain in portions. The conifer plantations were established in 1934, 1949, and 1951.

Situated in the Oak Ridge moraine, much of the Eldred King Woodland surface consists of hummocky hills along with hollows or kettles. The hills are made up of sandy and gravelly materials with underlying clay which protrudes to form high ridges. There are very few surface streams as any water moves under the surface. Hawks and scarlet tanagers are among the many birds that can be seen in the wooland where sugar maples and beech trees make up most of the hardwood forest while white pines are dominant in sandy areas. Red Oaks are also common in some areas while white birch thrive in some of the newer forests. The moraine is situated just north of the Carolinian life zone.

The Black River in York Regional Municipality, Ontario originates in the Oak Ridges Moraine and flows north to empty into Lake Simcoe. Agriculture is the most important use of the land in this river's watershed. In the spring, the water levels are high enough to allow pleasant canoeing and kayaking trips from Sutton. Bird viewing is excellent in April. However in the Eldred King Woodlands, the Black River (one of 6 rivers with this name in Ontario) is very small and intermittent.

mailHi! I just located your site and it's great! I wish I saw it this time last week as I got seriously lost in the Eldred King Woodlands Trails. I don't have any interest in getting that lost again! 5 hours walking through the forest, starting at the Eldred King Parking and being found 'OFF TRAIL' about 5-10 minute walking south as the crow flies to the back of the homes on Ballantrae Road in February ...at NIGHT...it was kind of cold and certainly terrifying! Any and ALL information would be greatly appreciated! Especially since those trails are very poorly marked. (When you get to a T or Y junction and there is either NO markings on the trees or the same colour markings on ALL 3 choices of routes to take...it gets rather confusing. Plus, there are never any paper maps located at the beginning of the trail.) I was out there for 5 hours-from 2:30pm-about 7:45pm, alone with my dog and my blackberry thankfully able to talk with York Regional Police for the last 2 of those hours and were able to do a triangularation via Telus AND use the helicopters and 3 K9 Units to locate me and my dog.

Fortunately this incident ended well but it points out that some trails are poorly marked and it's easy to get lost in the woods. It's smart to hike with a cell phone although there are areas where there is no signal with some carriers. So don't rely entirely on the phone as batteries can also fade. In woods like these, there should be signs in a number of locations pointing you in the direction of the parking lot. If you have a gps, always set a waypoint at your car before you begin hiking. This will be waypoint (001). So if you do become lost in the woods, your gps will always show you where your car is located -again assuming your batteries last (always carry extra).

commentThis is a relatively easy 15 km hike through mature forest, meadows and horse trails in the Oak Ridges Morraine area. The hills are typically sandy or gravelly and can slow you down a bit while walking them. Walking through this forest, I was impressed and a bit dismayed by the number of side trails making it easy to get lost. Some of these trails should be closed and the site better signed. This is a nice walk through the woods but not the most exciting hike.

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Comments (1)
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Hi There,
Today my wife and I hiked the Eldred King and Hall Tract Side Trail. Your trail map helped a lot. There are no numbered or otherwise signed markings on any of the trails and it is easy to get lost. There are so many unmarked trails...
Hi There,
Today my wife and I hiked the Eldred King and Hall Tract Side Trail. Your trail map helped a lot. There are no numbered or otherwise signed markings on any of the trails and it is easy to get lost. There are so many unmarked trails that criss cross the main trails, making this hike very confusing. A compass is a requirement. I brought and used a GPS to keep track of the location of the car. There is a small lake around your #3 map marker. #4 map marker is an alternative trail entrance from McCowan Avenue. The hike is mostly in sand, which was different. Both loops took us 3.5 hrs at an average walking pace. We saw unleashed dogs and walkers, and a lady on horse but no bikes, all without drama.

Thanks for the info and maps on your site. These are very helpful.

Don Tai
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