What makes a hiking trail special? Quiet retreat? Scenic views? Burbling water? Rolling terrain? Changing scenery throughout the seasons? I recommend hiking the Queen Elizabeth Loop. It ticks the boxes.
Named in honor of our late Queen, this 2.8 km trail was added as a side trail addition this Fall. It is located off Line 35, south of the Perth-Oxford Road, close to km 31 on the main trail.
Queen Elizabeth spent years at her country estate (Balmoral Castle) in Scotland. She loved solitary walks with her dogs on the grounds, far from the media, where she could enjoy a quiet normality. This loop provides much the same for me (mind you, I am not escaping media attention).
To access this trail, park on the west shoulder of Line 35, south from Perth-Oxford Road. Ensure not to block the laneway leading into the field and the trail entrance (refer to photo above).
The Queen Elizabeth Loop runs through the woodlot adjacent to a farm field now planted with soya beans.
From the side of the field on your left, follow the blaze posts leading you off field and into the woods.
Footing is tricky in places, so, a hiking stick is handy. Proceed west through the grove, with a wire fence to your right. The path leads back to the field and then into a larger opening to your right.
This area was once an apple orchard. The fruits from the trees provide a floor cover for sections of the trail.
At this point, the loop heads north in two directions. Both are well blazed with additional pink ribbons to keep you on the trail’s footpath.
A tributary of Trout Creek is crossed twice by the trail. Both Bruce Graham and Terry Aitken have worked with the landowner to get this loop in place. The trail route traversed through this idyllic setting is well planned. At one time the main section of the trail passed through this same area. The trail requires a landowner’s permission to traverse the land. This permission can always be removed.
I went counterclockwise around the loop. No traffic noises are heard. Birds chirp as they move through the trees. The blue side trail markings along with the pink ribbons guide you along the trail.
You will encounter two water crossings: one by a hand-built bridge, the other using a rock crossing. Both are easily managed.
Once across the water follow the blazes as the loop winds through the trees gaining slope and passing through the orchard. You will end where you began, back at the entrance to the field. Retrace your steps through the wooded grove back to the field and out to the laneway.
Many thanks to the many volunteers who helped make Queen Elizabeth Loop a reality.
Both the Avon Trail Guide Edition 9.4 and the ONDAGO app show the location of this side trail.
Tom Kimber – News