Ferguson Forest in Kemptville: Hiking Guide

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Only a few steps in on the path this morning and the world disappeared. The tall trees commanded solitude as the snow fell softly giving the evergreens a left dusting.

There is something incredibly soothing about letting the noise of a busy life slip away as you immerse yourself completely in nature and her joys. And since we’ve been having a ridiculously mild winter, why not get outside more often? So here we are, a Sunday morning indulgence in Ferguson Forest.

The Low Down

  • Distance: An easy 58 km (roughly 40 min drive from Ottawa).
  • Address: County Road 44, Kemptville, ON K0G 1J0
  • Directions: Hwy 417 West, then take the split for Hwy 416 South. Continue on Hwy 416. Exit at Kemptville (County Road 43), turn right (west) on the 43. Drive through two roundabouts. Turn right (north) on County Road 44. There are multiple entry points to Ferguson Forest. the first parking lot is across from the OPP station.
  • Cellphone Range: Yes.
  • Number of hiking trails: 10 trails.
  • Trail Distance: 0.16 (kids trial) to 3.9 kms.
  • Elevation Gain: None.
  • Dogs: Yes (and the added bonus of a fenced dog park).
  • Crowds: Low to moderate.
  • Washrooms: None.
  • Entrance fee: Free.
  • Season: All year. Closed between 11pm and 6am daily.
  • More information: Visit the North Grenville website for more info.

In Good Company

Ended up spending the morning wandering the forest by myself mostly. At the end, a local trail lover and her dog stopped for a little conversation. She was wonderful in sharing insights like how the local highschool track and field team uses the trails from time to time (go mustangs!). Oh, there were the crafty evergreen gnomes that were set up at christmas time with bright red hat and mitts by an anonymous soul. She also mentioned the best place in town for coffee and went over the trail system in detail. This, this is part of the magic of getting outdoors!

Tip: Did you know that locals have noticed that owls are returning to Ferguson Forest? Keep an eye out for these fine feathered friends.

What to bring

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

  • An appetite: See the ‘nourish thy self’ section below.
  • Tip #1: turn your cellphone on ‘airplane mode’ during the hike to save battery power, that way you won’t run out for a) emergencies and b) all-the-pics.
  • Tip #2: In the winter, either put your keys between your base and insulating layer, or warm them up in your mitt on the hike out. The batteries in newer key fobs tend to not work when cold…and you have issues starting the car. Warm the key fob, and place in directly against the push start button to start.

Ferguson Forest Trails

The best part about having a day with out a schedule is being able to take your time hiking and really appreciate the outdoors. Plus, it meant that I was able to hike the bulk of this trail system. Woot woot!

The trails are well maintained, about 1-2 person wide for the most part, and clearly marked.

That said, it is a very interwoven system so it’s still best to have a trail map on hand.

There are mature trees lining the trails, with a few creek crossing and wooden bridges.

Ferguson Forest is a great spot for trail runners. And in the winter there are cross country skiers and snowshoers when the weather brings enough snow.

Tip: There are also plenty of snowmobile routes in and around Ferguson Forest. Keep an eye out when crossing intersections.

Turtle Trail and Kinderwood Trail

Turtle trail is a well maintained and clearly marked popular path along the river. It has a few wooden bridges and entry points into open park space.

Kinderwood trail is a 160m path through a wooded area designed for kids with interpretive signs along the way.

Parking for both these trails is found at the south end of Honour Way Rd.

Nourish Thy Self

Following my lovely new forest friend’s advice, I headed on over to Brewed Awakenings for all-the-coffee. It’s a great cafe located straight off the main road (43) in a mini mall of sorts.

Brewed Awakenings instantly gives you that community vibe. The staff are incredibly nice and approachable, and their eclectic assortment of mugs will make you smile. The crowd is mixed and everyone seems to know each other. 🙂

Two thumbs up for both the dirty chai latte and the homemade split pea and ham soup. Actually stayed for hours finishing up business and writing up content!

Wrapping It Up

Another trail in the books! I’ll be counting this one towards The Wilderness Series hiking challenge. Are you in? County Proud or City Slicker? You’ll have to go check it out! GirlGoneGood © is encouraging everyone to get outdoors more often with this 20 hike challenge for 2020!

Victoria xo