Burnt Lands Provincial Park in Almonte: Trail Guide

Just another flat, boring, and short trail. But is it? What we foster curiousity in nature to open up opportunities for learning, connection, and well-being. What if we became citizen scientists, detectives, researchers?⁠ Immersed in each trail like turning the page of a mystery novel…⁠

https://www.inaturalist.org/

The Low Down

  • Distance from Ottawa: 25 kms (20mins) from downtown.
  • GPS Coordinates: 45.26261593, -76.16132843 
  • Address: March Rd, Mississippi Mills. 5kms east of Almonte.
  • Directions: Take the 417W and exit at March Rd. Turn right on March Rd and you’ll notice the small trailhead sign and parking on the right side about 5kms before entering Almonte.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • Parking: 2-4 vehicles max at trailhead.
  • Trailhead: Located at parking.
  • Number of Trails: 1 trail (out and back)
  • Total Distance of Trails: 2kms
  • Elevation Gain: None
  • Washrooms: None.
  • Cell Reception: Yes.
  • Season: All seasons. Best in summer with wildflowers.
  • Features: The winding Carp River, bridge.
  • Activities: Walking, birding.
  • Dogs: Permitted on leash. This is an ecologically significant land, please respect and keep pups on a leash.
  • Suggested Stops: Almonte of course! Walk downtown Mill St to enjoy shops, cafes, and the riverwalk pathway.
  • Nearby Hikes: You can combine this hike with other trails like Gemmil Park, Almonte Lagoon, Mill of Kintail, and Blakeney Rapids.
  • More Information: Visit Ontario Parks. No trail map is available

Land Acknowledgement

These are the ancestral lands of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin) 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

A Little Background

What is an Alvar?⁠ Alvars “are globally rare, naturally open habitats with either a thin covering of soil or no soil over a base of limestone or dolostone. Their unique features are the result of seasonal extremes from spring and fall flooding to summer drought”. (sourced from @ncc_cnc)⁠

Why are they important?⁠ Alvars “can be among the most species-rich communities in the world. (…) Some plant, moss and lichen species are specifically adapted to alvar conditions and are found on no other habitat in the world. In fact, 54 plant species in Ontario were found mainly on alvar habitat.” (sourced from @ncc_cnc)⁠

About Ontario Parks⁠! There are over 330 provincial parks in Ontario. To learn more on each, along with rules and guidelines, check on ontarioparks.com before you go. A few quick tidbits sourced from @ontarioparks…⁠

  • drones “cannot be taken into or operated in a provincial park without authorization from the park superintendent”⁠
  • dogs are permitted on leash with restrictions⁠
  • in the winter months, skiing trails are available at Frontenac PP, Murphy’s Point PP, Voyageur PP, and Algonquin PP⁠. There are 28 provincial parks that offer snowshoeing (and rentals)⁠

What to Bring

Besides the 10 essentials and what I would normally suggest for hikes, here are the highlights for this particular hike:

  • Camera and binos: To catch the sunset and birds. 
  • Waste bag: What you hike in with, you hike out with. That’s the golden rule, and if you see anything that’s not part of nature (like food wrappers) kindly pick it up to throw out later.

Burnt Lands Provincial Park Trail

Popular local trail for dog walking. This is a 2km out and back straight, flat trail. No trail marking however the pathways is clearly defined. Avoid walking off trail in this ecologically significant and sensitive area. This park is classified as a Nature Reserve.

Burnt Lands Provincial Park Features

There are a few points to this park that are interesting, mostly being that it is a fantastic spot to watch the sun set on a clear evening. There’s an abandoned out building along the pathway that is welded close for everyone’s safety. Further along the path, within the treed section, there are two small ponds to observe.

Flora and Fauna

Certainly a park that appears barren but is anything but with all-the-juniper-bushes, mosses, and wildflowers.  Wildflowers include wild lady slipper orchids, seneca snakeroot, small skullcap, hairy beardtongue, red bearberry, upright bindweed, and more! There have been over 90 species of birds recorded at Burnt Lands Provincial Park.

Suggested Stops

It’s easy to recommend Almonte for shops and stops if you’d like to make this a day trip. In Carp there’s the Crooked Mile Brewing Company, Vodcow Distillery, Equator Coffee,  Bob’s Bakery and all our favourite shops down Mill St.

You can combine this hike with other trails like Gemmil Park, Almonte Lagoon, Mill of Kintail, and Blakeney Rapids.

Wrapping Up

There’s something to be said for becoming a ‘citizen scientist’ and taking a closer look at our flora and fauna while hiking local trails. Apps like iNaturalist help with identification and organizations like #NatureForAll have an abundance of resources in wide selection of languages to encourage outdoor engagement.

If you’re enjoying hiking local, try taking on a challenge from The Challenge Series and use those to discover new trails, new insights, and to add a little more joy to the year!

Have you walked Burnt Lands PP lately? Share your insights below à la AllTrails style to keep everyone up to date on trail conditions, changes, and your feedback.