Mill Pond Conservation Area in Portland: Hiking Guide

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  • Post category:Ontario
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Mill Pond Conservation Area was found after taking a look at trails in and around the area of Perth. How was this one missed? Especially since I’m a frequent flyer in Perth #cutesttownever and they have some fantastic local hikes. It was a last minute decision, like almost always, to drive down and check it out. And I’m glad I did. With 6kms of trails through forestlands and multiple view points of the ponds, this was a great spot to trail run.

The Low Down

  • Distance from Ottawa: 100kms (1hr 15 mins).
  • GPS Coordinates: Unknown.
  • Address: 4774 Briton-Houghton Bay Road, Rideau Lakes, ON, K0G 1V0.
  • Directions: Hwy 417 West. Exit at Hwy 7 (South) towards Carleton Place. Follow Hwy 7 into Carlton Place, then take Hwy 15 (South) towards SmithFalls/Kingston. After passing Lombardy then Otter Lake, take County Rd 38 (on right) to destination. Parking lot clearly marked on right.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • Parking: Large parking lot.
  • Trailhead: The blue trail trailhead in located 100m up from the parking lot on right and indicated by two bolders.
  • Number of Trails: 3 hiking trails and 1 access road (hiking).
  • Total Distance of Trails: 6kms
  • Elevation Gain: 10-30m in short sections.
  • Washrooms: Outhouse onsite at parking lot.
  • Cell Reception: Yes.
  • Season: All seasons. Dusk to Dawn.
  • Features: Lime kiln, boat launch (car top only), fishing, sugar bush, ponds, heritage buildings.
  • Activities: Hiking, kayak/canoe/SUP, fishing, snowshoeing.
  • Dogs: Permitted on leash.
  • Suggested Stops: North Folk cafe in Perth, Cottage Coffee in Westport.
  • Nearby Hikes: Foley Mountain in Westport, Perth Wildlife Reserve.
  • More Information: Visit the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.

What to Bring

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

  • Canoe/Kayak/SUP: With a car top only boat launch you can enjoy the tranquility and rich flora/fauna that Mill Pond has to offer.

In Good Company

It was a solo hike to check this one out, and a last minute decision at that. So off to woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. Or something like that. Isn’t there a famous quote?! No matter. It was a fantastic hike. The first day of a week long vacation from work and a little wandering through the woods was needed to create that distance between hectic work life and healing vacation mode.

Mill Pond Trails

Within the 537-hectare forested property, the Mill Pond Conservation Area trails are well maintained and well marked with coloured plastic arrows. Trail map handouts are available at the parking lot, and there are trail map signs are the major intersections throughout the hike.

Hiking counter clockwise I took the blue-orange-red-orange route saving the pond views for last. The trailhead for the blue trail start point is past the outhouses on the right and indicated but two boulders.

The orange trail (and the shorter yellow trail by the sugar bush) are access roads whereas the blue and red trails are foot paths.

Mill Pond Features

The Mill Pond Conservation Area features include heritage cabins, a covered picnic area, working sugar bush, an old lime kiln ruin, and wild mushrooms.

Note: Foraging is not permitted in Ontario conservations areas.

Mill Pond ViewPoints

At the halfway point of the red trail there is a log bench and view of Mille Pond itself. There is a boat launch (for canoe/kayak/sup) closer to the parking lot so you might see a few people out enjoying the pond. Besides that, it’s all lily pads and calm waters.

The blue trail also offers a few partially obstructed view points of the smaller pond/marsh areas.

Wildlife

If you’re quiet enough during your hike and had an early start, you might witness some wildlife that the forest and pond have to offer! There are deer, raccoon, turtles, and an abundance of bird species.

Accommodations

Plenty of camping and cabins nearby to rent like Moonlight Bay or Sandy Beach on Otter lake.

Nourish Thy Self

There are a few different routes to get to Mill Pond from Ottawa but if you are making a day or it I would suggestion a post hike stop in either Westport or Perth.

In Westport there’s plenty of spots to shop/eat including The Cottage Coffee House. They have delicious maple lattes, hearty lunches, and my fave Foley Trail Bars. And while there, a hike through Foley Mountain.

If you’re venturing to Perth, which also has plenty of spots to shop/eat. Then I’d suggest checking out Perth’s newest cafe, NorthFolk for a latte or maybe kombucha on tap? In true community spirit, they also feature products from local artisans for you to shop and enjoy.

Wrapping Up

All in all the perfect day for a hike, and a great strat to a week long vacation that being taken to relax…but also update GirlGoneGood and create new content. So kinda a vacation?!? I mean…work with spa treatments in between is more kinda the deal. Cheers to a summer worth hiking our hearts out for, amazing trails, and supporting local.

Victoria xo