Kimberley Forest is a much-needed trail injection in the heart of Ontario’s Beaver Valley. Words & photos :: Colin Field.
With the growing popularity of going outside (Mountain Life made it trendy!) many trail systems are getting overrun. The parking lots are full, the trails are widening due to overuse and getting away from it all seems more difficult than ever. So the introduction of a new multi-use trail system is a pretty big deal. And that’s (sorta) what’s going on with the trails at Kimberley Forest. The trails aren’t really new; they’ve been there for more than 40 years, but they haven’t been maintained or mapped.
That changed with the formation of the Friends of the Kimberley Forest Committee in 2013. Following a formal agreement with the MNR, the group has permission to maintain the trails in this nearly 1000 acres of public land. They can’t build new trails, but they can maintain the old ones and reroute them where necessary in an ecologically sound way. Representing users as varied as mountain bikers, hikers, horseback riders and hunters, the committee has its challenges ahead, but the fact it exists is a huge step forward.
So where are these trails? The Kimberley Forest is between Grey County Road 30, Beaver Valley Ski Club, 7th Line and Sideroad 7A. There are several trailheads: Pioneer Drive at Kimberley Forest Side Trail; Sideroad 7A and 7th Line at Wodehouse Karst Side Trail (all Bruce Trail access points); at the north end of Windy Lane Drive just north of the top of Beaver Valley Ski Club; and Grey Road 30 at Sideroad 4A.
It’s a beautiful section of the Beaver Valley and only minutes away from some of the best sourdough in the land at the Kimberley General Store.
If you want to help out with trail-build days, get involved, donate or become a sponsor, check kimberleyforest.ca. There is no designated parking area on the property yet, though the Friends are in discussion with landowners to establish one. Please do not park on private property or block private driveways at any of the trailheads.
Committee member Jason Petznick has loaded the trails onto the Trailforks app and provided us with some routes to check out. If you don’t have the app, maps are installed at some of the main intersections, or check the Trails page of the Kimberley Forest website.
7-km Biking Loop
For this loop, start at the north end of Windy Lane Drive. Start on the Windy Lane Extension, then take Passageway ▶ Skyview ▶ Larch Loop East ▶ Ups and Down ▶ Miikana ▶ Eezy Way ▶ The Bench ▶ Drop Down Upper ▶ Midway South ▶ Zig Zag ▶ Miikana ▶ Ups and Downs ▶ Larch Loop West ▶ Little Larch ▶ Sidehill ▶ Upper Connector South ▶ Windy Lane Extension.
4-km Hiking Loop
Start by heading north on the Bruce Trail which runs just below the top of Beaver Valley Ski Club, then take Cider Run ▶ Fall Line ▶ The Bench ▶ Drop Down Upper ▶ Midway South ▶ Zig Zag ▶ Miikana ▶ Bruce Trail heading south.
From ML Blue Mountains, spring ’21. Looking for a print copy? Subscribe!