Summer is in full swing and you know what that means – everyone wants to get outside! We want you to get outside too and enjoy all the natural beauty that Grey County has to offer. We also know that our popular natural areas can be busy and sometimes even overcrowded.
So we’re going to let you in on some secrets. Places the locals know and go to when other spots get busy. We’re nice that way!
These are some of our favourite local hiking spots that are ‘off the beaten path’. *But please remember to actually stay ON the beaten path while you’re hiking. And before you head out, make sure you review our Trail Etiquette Guidelines.
Most of these locations are indeed ‘off the beaten path’, so they don’t all have amenities like washroom facilities. We highly recommend you avoid the Timmies bathroom lineup. Stop by a locally-owned coffee shop or restaurant for a snack or beverage before or after your hike and chat with locals about their favourite spots while you’re there.
Grey County Managed Forests
Did you know that the County of Grey owns over 8,500 hectares of forest, including 45 individual properties? Several of our forest properties have hiking trails within them, and some are accessible all year round. Three of our forests have recently had trail maintenance and marking completed, and they all offer something a little different.
This Grey County Managed Forest is located just east of Meaford and accessed by hiking a short distance down the Georgian Trail, and then connecting to the Grey County Forest Trail. Parking is located off of Swathmore Drive in Meaford, which is accessed off Highway 26 just outside of Meaford. Within the County Forest, the trail traverses a forest of lowland hardwoods and an old conifer plantation. The kilometre-long trail is suitable for hiking, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. There’s a beautiful lookout point and view of Georgian Bay once you get to the end. At just two kilometres round trip, plus a short walk down the Georgian Trail to/from the car, it’s a perfect hike for the whole family. View the trail map on Trail Forks.
Stop in at Grandma Lambe’s before or after your hike for home baked snacks, fresh local produce, grocery items and more.
One of Grey County's largest forests, Lily Oak consists of a mixture of hardwood and conifer plantations. This property, located not far from the Village of Chatsworth, features a 2.2 kilometres of logging trail, 9 kilometres of marked hiking trails and an old building foundation. In addition to hiking, other permitted uses include cross country skiing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, hunting, and fishing. Parking is available off Concession 10 Road between 30 Sideroad and Robson Road. View the trail map on Trail Forks.
While you’re on your way to or from Lily Oak, pop into Great Books and Café in Williamsford (about 15 mins west) for homemade meals, fresh baked goods and quality coffee & tea.
This forest property offers 6 kilometres of hiking trails within an extensive natural area just outside of Durham. This County managed forest is a mix of sugar maple, pine, spruce, and cedar trees. Various wetlands add to the diversity, and the picturesque Black Lake offers excellent bass fishing opportunities. Permitted forest trail activities include hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and horseback riding.
There are two parking options to access this property. There is one parking lot for the Main entrance (west of Camp Oliver Road) and one for the East entrance (east of Camp Oliver Road), both off Southline Road. View the trail map on Trail Forks.
Chicory Common on the north-west corner at the lights in Durham is an excellent stop before or after your adventure for fresh baked goods, natural foods and organic produce (ample parking behind the store).
While many people know about Hibou Conservation Area, a property managed by Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, not many are familiar with the trail system that winds through the property. Hibou has a total of 133 hectares including over 2 kilometres of Georgian Bay shoreline. The sandy beach is at the north end of the property, while the 4 kilometres of trails are in the south, across the road. A group called The Friends of Hibou maintains the trails and make the area fun for the entire family to explore. The trails are excellent for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, but at times can be rather wet. Thankfully, a number of newly-built boardwalks cross the wet portions of the trail. Don’t forget to take along the Interpretive Brochure for your self-guided hike. You can download it before you head out, or pick one up at the Interpretive Sign located at the 2 RED trail entrances at Grey Road 15. Please note that there is paid parking at the main Hibou parking lot, with a few smaller lots along Grey Road 15 that offer free parking.
The European Bakery is a great spot to grab a bite to eat before you head to Hibou. They have a large selection of breakfasts and sandwiches, fresh baked goods and specialty coffees.
Located just west of the Village of Feversham, this 35 acre Grey Sauble Conversation Area has some pretty cool geological and biological features. The gorge itself actually begins on private property at an old mill dam in Feversham and extends downstream along the Beaver River into the conservation lands. The vertical limestone walls towering 80 feet over the river are cloaked with conifer and ferns. The land above the gorge has a 1.5 kilometre hiking trail with stunning views of the gorge below. The parking lot just off Grey Road 2 is spacious, with free parking and right next to a picnic area.
Stop at Feversham’s Heritage General Store. It’s like going back in time with an old fashioned general store offering everything from fresh baked pies, snacks, groceries and ice cream.