Award: Best Workout!
When it comes to scenic, secluded places to burn a few calories, Meisel Woods Conservation Area is a true unicorn: no crowds, free parking, vista views, and more than its fair share of tough trails to get your heart pumping. Hard to believe, right?!
If you're searching for an exceptional spot for trail running or hiking, this is it. The trails command respect: good shoes, lots of water and a buddy to keep you company are a must! Since the trails aren't loops, you've got to come back the way you came, adding time and energy to your workout. Your step tracker will blow past 10,000 in no time!
As you get your heart pumping, rest assured there are plenty of reasons to slow down and enjoy your surroundings. Whether it's a migrating warbler singing from the trees, the sweeping views of Precambrian shield or a moose cooling off in the lake, you'll have plenty of sights and sounds to keep you motivated.
As with any unicorn, you must be willing to chase it the extra mile. Meisel Woods is located just south of Sharbot Lake near the village of Crow Lake, about an hour and a half from downtown Ottawa (and only 35 minutes from Perth, or 20 minutes from Westport – perfect for cottagers and campers this summer).
It's well worth the drive, offering five kilometres of trails winding through lush forests around Beaver (or Bass) Lake, with a view of Crow Lake, to boot. In one direction, steep hills to get your heart pumping. In the other, a close-up view of Beaver Lake, with a small public dock for a new perspective.
If you can't get there this weekend, don't despair: Meisel Woods is a four-season workout. It's magical in the fall, so if you prefer to sweat it out under a gentler sun, plan to come back once the leaves start turning. And once the snow arrives, bust out your cross-country skis to try the trails in a whole new way. Of course, don't forget to come back in the spring to hunt for those delicate spring ephemerals.
For full details, directions and trail maps, visit https://www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas/no-fee-required/meisel-woods-ca.
See you on the trail!