Pack a picnic and gear up for an awesome family hiking day-trip! Located about an hour away from Toronto, Credit Valley has a dozen beautiful conservation areas to explore. Today I’m going to mention two of my favourites: Belfountain and Terra Cotta.
It’s hard to believe Belfountain is so close to the city! It’s a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle with many exceptional spots for picture taking. The Conservation Area features a waterfall, a suspension bridge and a historic fountain.
The trails are more rugged than Terra Cotta but can still be traversed easily with running shoes. The main loop can be done in under an hour. I had Elowyn in a back-carry and due to the short length of the trail barely felt the weight of her 25 toddler pounds on my back. We really enjoyed our time by the creek and Elowyn loved running back and forth on the suspension bridge. The video below will give you a good idea of the difficulty of the trail as well as show you the most scenic spots at Belfountain.
Check out our Belfountain Video to see the Waterfall in Action!
If you’re looking for stroller friendly Terra Cotta is the way to go. The terrain is smooth and with wide paths and clearly marked trails the hiking at Terra Cotta is accessible and suitable for younger children.
A variety of birds, frogs, fish and the occasional small snake can all be found while exploring the trails. There are also picnic tables throughout the conservation area for when you’re ready to pause and take in the scenic surroundings.
Funny Terra Cotta Story
We were hiking in Terra Cotta with Fox when I was 8 months pregnant with Elowyn. Half-way through one of the longer trails I realized I needed to use the bathroom… urgently. We were still about 30 minutes away from the closest rest-room. It was fall and there were plenty of leaves around but I really wanted to avoid an emergency forest bathroom stop with my very pregnant belly. The other little issue? We weren’t exactly sure where the washroom was located and as we were getting close to the end of the trail the situation was very dire. Every second mattered! So I sent Dave ahead to scout for the rest-room. Off he went, running as fast as he could. Fox kept me company as I breathed slow deep breaths and tried to pretend I wasn’t having uncomfortable cramps. I knew I wouldn’t last much longer. Luckily this story has a happy ending. Dave came back in record time and I zoned out, grabbed his arm, and made the last 500m trek to the washroom. For once I didn’t mind the fact that public washrooms in conservation areas are often dark and full of spiders. So next time sudden out of nowhere diarrhea strikes be thankful you aren’t very pregnant and in the middle of the woods! =p
Get a better idea of what the trails are like and scope out where to have your picnic at Terra Cotta by watching our video.
While in the Credit Valley area don’t miss the Terra Cotta Country Store! They have the most delicious baked goods and carry a variety of products from local artisans. We make an annual family trip around Christmas time to pick out new ornaments for our Christmas tree. They always have a unique selection of ornaments. Also in the area, Spirit Tree Estate Cidery is home to award-winning apple cider that is by far the tastiest I’ve had! Their wood-oven pizza is delicious and they have a full bistro if you prefer to eat-in. They also serve and sell an assortment of alcoholic ciders perfect for your next summer bbq.
If you like pausing to enjoy the beautiful scenery or stopping to take lots of pictures plan for at least two hours in each conservation area. The parking pass you’ll need to purchase is good at both sites. I guarantee it’ll be a memorable trip for you and your family. If you have any questions about either of the conservation areas, I’ve been to both many times and would be happy to help you prepare for your Credit Valley adventure (=