Woodlands Arboretum Trail is a 1.6 mile trail located near Central Huron, ON. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round.
Huron Tourism Association , Admin PHONE: 800-280-7637
This is a arboretum and nature trail located on a private golf course. Admission is free and there's lots of parking. The trail is poorly marked and is obscure in many places. The 'trail' begins by passing through a wide "avenue" with young specimen trees (this is the main part of the "arboretum" and contains perhaps 30 or 40) dotted apparently randomly here and there, identified with wooden species signs under each tree.
At the end of the "avenue", a picturesque arch bridge and trout pond is visible. Cross the bridge and pick up the trail which continues to the left just beyond the bridge. Pass a massive maple, through a plantation of large pines, pass an old A-frame cabin, (move off trail to the right to see some specimen trees), and reach an old rusty fence along a shaded, boggy bottom. The trail continues to the right, through some mature Maple/Beech/Hemlock forest. Keep your eyes peeled for more specimen trees here and there. The 'trail' passes an exceptionally tall Eastern White Cedar. (probably among the tallest specimens in the province, if the current record can be believed) Not far beyond the cedar, the trail reaches a wide fairway. The trail continues through a mature Maple/Beech forest on the other side, and (apparently) comes to and end after about 200 metres.
The Arboretum is interesting, containing lots of native tree species and several exotics, including (among many others), a thriving Douglas-fir and even a Frazer Fir (unusual!) which is alive, but not doing as well as the native Balsam Fir beside it. It is undoubtedly a good local educational resource for schools and families. But it suffers from neglect. Many signs are (apparently) missing, and at least two trees are apparently misidentified. Moreover, a few signs make identification difficult because sometimes a cultivar/variety name is given without the name of a species, and in at least one case a genus name is given without a species. Sometimes the popular name given on the sign differs from most book references. And sometimes there is no Latin genus and species name given. The arboretum includes a columnar English Oak, but no variety name was given, which could confuse beginners, who might wonder about its tall, skinny non-oaklike form.
Despite my criticisms, this is an interesting and enjoyable trail, it was very worthwhile to visit in late October, and I would love to visit again in late spring when new leaves are on most of the trees. Its rich, varied landscapes should be good for birdwatching. I'm thankful it's close to my home, and thankful that it's owner generously encourages people to visit.