Baxter Conservation Area in Kars: Trail Report

Baxter Conservation Area is the kind of trail you can keep on repeat if you’re looking for an easy hike that’s family friendly! It does get busy, so weekdays are best. The because of the flat terrain and boardwalks, the trails are great for strollers/mild mobility issues. There are multiple lookout points. Aaaaaaand I heard that they are going to launch a forest school! #wootwoot

Ummm, I couldn’t resist this pic, literally a faviourite of my niece and I while exploring Baxter Conservation Area on a rainy day. #meanmuggin’

Baxter Conservation Area

All the Trail Details

  • Distance from Ottawa: within the City of Ottawa
  • GPS Coordinates: 45.10024328018304, -75.6237369212008
  • Address: 7498 Carter Rd, Kars, Ontario
  • Directions: From Manotick, take Rideau Valley Drive South. The entrance to Carter Rd in on a bend. Drive slowly #kidsatplay.
  • Entrance Fee: 7$/vehicle which can be paid at entrance (machine only).
  • Parking: Large parking area at both the beach and the nature centre. Park at the anture centre to access trails.
  • Trailhead: Well marked and starts at the nature centre.
  • Number of Trails: 7.
  • Total Distance of Trails: up to 5kms.
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal.
  • Washrooms: Outhouse on site at the nature centre.
  • Cell Reception: Yes.
  • Season: All seasons. Open 7:30 a.m. to dusk daily.
  • Features: Several lookouts, beach, boardwalks, interpretive trail.
  • Activities:Hiking, snowshoeing.
  • Dogs: Permitted on-leash on trails. Absolutely no dogs permitted on the beach.
  • Suggested Stops: 692 Coffee and Bar or Morning Owl in Manotick.
  • Nearby HikesFerguson Forest in Kemptville.
  • More Information: Visit Rideau Valley Conservation Authority for more information and trail map.

Land Acknowledgement

These are the lands of the Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee,  Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin), and Wendake-Nionwentsïo people.⁠ It is important as avid hikers and stewards of the land, to acknowledge and understand the full story our surroundings along with the people that care for her, both past and present. As sourced from native-land.ca, if there are corrections please send to victoria@girlgonegood.com

Land Management

This property is within the City of Ottawa and managed by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.  RVCA has 11 conservation areas open to the public within it’s watershed area. You can purchase an annual pass to these properties online. Some of the CA’s do not require payment, although kindly consider donating if you can to help support their ecological efforts. Baxter CA is on 80 hectares and a great example of a river floodplan. When open, venture over to Filmore Park Nut Grove trail to observe the diverse species of nut and bean trees/shrubs.

Baxter Conservation Area Trails

Recommended loop is to start at the nature centre and hike counter clockwise around to nut grove, the beach, and then back to the parking area. The trails are flat, wide, and very well marked. Some sections are boardwalks. There is a lookout tower and a few viewing platforms along the trail. A very easy trail that’s especially pretty in the fall.

Baxter Conservation Area

Shops and Stops

I’ll tend to drive the long way there just so that I can stop and get coffee (and maybe breakfast to go) in Manotick from our friends at 692 Coffee and Bar or Morning Owl. Afterwards, if you still felt like explore, you can take a quick drive over to Kemptville and hike Ferguson Forest (family friendly, flat, dog friendly).

Wrapping Up

What is your favourite aspect about this conservation area? I think mostly, I enjoy the boardwalks and marsh views while hiking over to nut grove. Kindly respect the trail and community by staying on trail, picking up trash, leaving no trash, following Leave No Trace guidelines, and any rules posted by the trail managers.

Did you hike this trail recently? If so, comment on conditions below!