Exploring Family-Friendly Trails Near London
London, Ontario boasts more than 350 forests, parks and other environmentally significant areas. No wonder it is affectionately called the Forest City. For those visiting the city or exploring southwestern Ontario, we’ve rounded up some of the best family-friendly trails in London to help you enjoy a nature-filled family outing.
Westminster Ponds/Pond Mills
Located in the southern part of London, tucked neatly around residential areas, is Wesminster Ponds and Pond Mills Conservation Area. Featuring 11 km of trails, there are plenty of walks that are easy for the whole family to follow. Most of the trails lead around the ponds, offering lovely waterfront views with beautiful sunsets and an opportunity to spot birds. One ideal place to pause and reflect on your beautiful surroundings is on the viewing platforms over Saunders Pond.
There are also some picnic tables along the main trail where you and your family can stop to take in the beautiful sounds of nature. The trails can become muddy as they are mostly on clay or muck soils, but some of the lowland areas are covered in boardwalks to make the trek cleaner and protect the fragile biodiversity of the area.
The Sifton Bog Environmentally Significant Area sits on the south side of Oxford Street, west of Hyde Park Road in London. Covering almost 42 hectares, Sifton Bog has 2.8 km of managed trails. The boardwalk trail, which leads from the parking lot to a lookout at the centre of the Bog is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Due to the sensitive ecosystem of the area (it is a floating acid peat bog), visitors are encouraged to stay on the designated routes to avoid disrupting the local flora and fauna.
Don’t let the word “bog” fool you, the boardwalk stroll into the heart of this significant area is nothing short of magical. In the summer, you can enjoy breathtaking views of wildflowers in full bloom and during the year, you can spot an array of wildlife, including birds, frogs, turtles and, if you get lucky, perhaps even a white-tailed deer.
Step into a world of swamps, forests and open meadows as you walk along the trails of Kilally Meadows. Situated along the banks of the Thames River in the north end of London, Kilally Meadows has 10 kilometres of managed trails and a loop hike that takes you along both banks of the river.
The river corridor and diverse habitats of this park make it an excellent place to spot wildlife. Birds are aplenty, including the belted kingfisher, mallard and yellow warbler. Other creatures to look for include frogs, turtles and beavers. The meadows attract many species of butterflies.
The largest park in London — 300 acres that stretch along the Thames River — is also one of the most family-friendly. At Springbank Park you’ll find 30 km of trails, including stroller-friendly hard surfaces, that make their way through the leafy trees with views of the meandering river. This park gets busy as it is a local favourite, but there is lots of fun to be had for kids. If you’re looking for a break to let the kids run off some energy while you are exploring the London area, you’ll love this park.
In addition to the trails, the park also has playgrounds, a soccer field, and splash pad — and it is home to Storybook Gardens (a small theme park).
Komoka Provincial Park
A day-use-only park, Komoka Provincial Park is located just outside London, south of Kilworth. Here you will find trails for activities of all kinds, including specially designated trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. The Thames River snakes its way through this park as well, and you’ll find a variety of scenery as you walk the trails, from mature forests with stunning river views from atop cliffs to wide meadows and floodplains. The park is home to more than 100 species that are considered rare in the area and some of these are considered endangered or threatened. If you are lucky during your exploration, your family might come across the endangered American badger or eastern hog-nosed snake (which likes to imitate a cobra but is harmless).
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