Birding, also known as bird watching, is an increasingly popular activity, and the Lake Simcoe watershed is home to many species throughout the year. Our conservation areas provide excellent settings for seeing and listening to birds. Birding is an activity easily combined with hiking, cycling, picnicking, and more.
After the Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe is the largest lake in southern Ontario. Sailboats often line the horizon while motorboats zip by closer to shore. The watershed also contains a network of rivers and tributaries where you can canoe and kayak. Regardless of your activity, you can take measures to ensure your experience is both enjoyable, safe and has minimum impact on the environment.
Group camping is available for Scouts, Guides and other groups at Scanlon Creek. Call 905-895-1281 to make arrangements.
Cross Country Skiing
This challenging activity is a great way to see the countryside and get a workout at the same time. During winter, many of our trails make for excellent cross-country skiing, allowing you to see the Lake Simcoe region in a whole other way than you do when hiking and cycling in warmer months. Many of these are in the Barrie Snowbelt, making them more likely to receive sufficient amounts of snow. Tips: to prevent dehydration and exhaustion, take a snack and water break every hour or two. Put on sunscreen, since snow can reflect as much as 90 percent of the sun's UV rays
Many trails in our conservation areas are maintained for bicycles, and we invite you to explore the watershed this way. In addition to the conservation areas listed below, you can also cycle along the Lake Simcoe Trail, part of the Trans-Canada Trail. Note: please remain on the trails in order to protect sensitive natural areas.
With a surface area of 725 square kilometres, Lake Simcoe is southern Ontario's largest body of water after the Great Lakes. Fishing is a year-round sport: the lake completely freezes over most winters, and has been known as the ice fishing capital of Canada. Further inland, some conservation areas also have their own fishing spots, in various rivers and streams. Tip: walleye, pike, large and small mouth bass, lake trout, yellow perch and whitefish are abundant in Lake Simcoe.
Trails in our conservation areas take you through forests and marshlands. A day on a trail is great for exploring flora and fauna or just to get out and enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of the open air. Hiking is a great way to integrate other activities, such as birding, camping, and picnicking. In addition to the conservation areas listed below, you can also hike along the Lake Simcoe Trail, part of the Trans-Canada Trail. Tips: check to see if the conservation area has linear or looped trails. If they're linear, you may need to arrange for someone to pick you up and take you back to the beginning.
Pack a picnic and throw down a blanket to make any spot your natural lunch spot. You can also find pavilions and picnic tables throughout our conservation areas, where you can set up a barbecue and avoid the rain. Try combining a picnic with a day of birding, hiking, or swimming at the beach. Tips: pack foods that are easy to snack on outdoors and that require the least possible garbage. Handy items include reusable and insulated containers, reusable cutlery, water bottles, napkins or hand wipes, and whatever you need to dispose of trash or remove your leftovers.
Much of the Lake Simcoe shoreline is beach, where you can spend a day swimming, throwing a Frisbee, or building sand castles. Many of our beaches are close to camping facilities and playgrounds, as well. Don't forget the sunscreen!