It’s Worth the Drive to Stouffville
Hi pup friends, I want to let you all in on my secret party place, Eldred King Woodlands.
Did any of you grow up having “barn parties”, where pretty much anything could happen…well, that’s what this place is like. For pups, that means there are very few rules. There are trails to explore, forests to run through, chipmunks to chase and even a pond to swim in. But I am getting ahead of myself.
On Leash, Off Leash, What’s Your Pleasure
Eldred King Woodlands is part of the Oak Ridges Moraine and located about 10 minutes north of the town of Stouffville. From Downtown Toronto, it is about a 50 minute drive. My hooman friends, it is well worth the drive!
The main entrance to the Woodlands is on the west side of Hwy 48. about 2 km north of Aurora Rd. You will need to keep your eyes open, because the entrance is not really well marked. Me and my sister, Chili, know exactly when we turn on to the roadway to the parking lot. That is our cue to rev up the whining machine.
There is a large parking lot and the trails all start at the west end it.
With over 7km of trails within the Eldred King Woodlands, you have lots of routes to choose from. There are many loops and if it wasn’t for my nose being able to guide us sometimes, I am pretty sure we could get lost. So, you need to be careful when you set out and make sure your hoomans know where they are going.
From the main trail entrance, you will see the sign above. The best is to start with the trail heading to the right from the sign.
It is ok to be off-leash on these trails, as long as you keep your listening ears on and come when you are called. Sometimes that is really hard when you see a chipmunk go scampering by. Technically, this is NOT an off-leash park, but since my sister and I are so well trained dogs, super friendly, have strong recall, and our pawrents are respectful of others they come across on the trails, we are allowed to be off-leash. This happens on many of the trails in and around Toronto.
The trails are generally very sandy, so the traction is great for running around. You may want to be aware of how much rain has fallen before heading up, because with the sand, there is also the potential for mud. Now I really love the mud, but my dad hates it!
If you follow along that first trail, in about 800m you will come to trail intersection, going to the left brings you further into Eldred King Woodlands, turing right will bring you on a short loop back to the parking lot. Go left my people!
The payoff is a great swimming hole
If you follow that new trail for about another 1.5km you will find yourself at a really nice pond. My big sisters is a natural swimmer, but not me so much. Last time I was there, I was so excited that when my dad through a stick in the pond for Chilit retrieve, I also jumped in the pond. I know, look at me, do I look like a swimmer???
I got my little egg-beater legs going and made it back to terrafirma pretty quickly. You should have seen the look of surprise on my dad’s face. Idiot, of course I can swim!
After a good swim, you can either head back out the way you came in, or you can take a path along the edge of the pond, which will eventually bring you back to just below the parking lot.
If your hooman isn’t too tired, then drag them up the trail to the west end of the pond. This trail will take you up to McCowen Rd. Once you have made that climb, you can make a hard left and begin walking back toward the parking lot on a new trail way above the pond. This loop will take about 35 minutes to complete, if you do not stop for a swim.
Words of Caution
Did I mention this was off-leash?
So, there are definitely some thing you an your hoomans need to keep in mind if you come to this trail.
- The terrain is fairly flat, but there are a few gradual hill climbs..nothing 4-paw drive can’t handle
- There are not washroom facilities for hoomans. Plenty for us pups.
- Many dogs are off-leash up here. So far, all the ones I have met have been super friendly. If you are easily distracted by small critters, you may want to have you hoomans keep you on leash. The woods can be a scary place for a lost pup!
- The trails close at dusk, so plan your day accordingly.
- These trails are shared with horses, so sometimes I find some of my favourite treats just sitting in the middle of the trail. My dad really hates me eating it, but honestly, how can you help yourself.
- There can be ticks, so make sure your hooman brings a tick comb for post-walk festivities.
My sister and I always enjoyer time up in Eldred King Woodlands. We are up there at least 2 times a week for exercise. We have such a great time up on these trails and if we get a winter with snow, we will even go snowshoeing. It really is an all-seasons location, but summer probably is the best.
If you have been to this great place, let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
If you haven’t been, I know you will love it once you get a chance to check it out.
Hopefully I will see you one day on this trail. If you do see me and my sister, please stop and say hi. We always love when people make a fuss over us. And Chili will NEVER refuse a stick to be thrown for her. She is very funny that way.
If you are interested in some other great hikes and dog-friendly places for you and your pup, check out some of the reviews by my friend Blue.