Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area
|Location:||Kawartha Lakes, Ontario|
Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area by Trails and Tamaracks
By David Richardson
Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area is another one of Kawartha Conservation's hidden gems. Well off the beaten path and far from the noise of any highway or road traffic, the area is a paradise for wildlife and a sanctuary for nature. Whether you simply want to take the dog for a walk, do some bird watching or just spend some time among nature, this 308 acre property is never disappointing.
The land was donated to Kawartha Conservation in 1987 by a Mr. Ross Davidson of Toronto. Situated in the Oak Ridges Moraine this area is environmentally significant because of the many fresh water springs and seeps that flow out of the sand and gravel hills of the moraine and create the headwaters of the Pigeon River. This conservation area is easily found but not always easily reached. From highway 35 head west on highway 7A and south on Century Farm Road. From here head east on Gray Road which is an unassumed road and is only maintained as a snowmobile trail in the winter. The conservation area is on the north side of the road. Gray Road can also be reached from highway 35 but this direction is generally harder to travel.
Pigeon River Headwaters has all the necessary amenities. At the parking lot stands a map of the area with the trails marked out on it. Beside the parking lot you will find a nice picnic shelter with tables and garbage cans within it and a portable washroom which in our experience is usually well maintained. Deeper into the area and spread out along the trails you can find a second washroom, two scenic lookouts and four shelter and rest areas to avoid the weather or get out of the hot sun for awhile.
The landscape of the conservation area varies quite a bit from beaver ponds and marsh to meadows and mixed forests. With such diversity in the land comes the possibility of diversity in activities. For bird watchers the area is home to warblers, finches, sparrows, hermit thrush, woodcock, wood peckers, ruffled grouse and many more. Wildlife sightings can include white tailed deer, muskrat, mink, beaver and several amphibians. The meadow area is home to an abundance of wildflowers and the marsh boardwalk offers views of a large variety of wetland plants. Hiding under the small bridges along the trail you can find minnows, creek chub and many little brook trout. This area is also popular with the local geocachers and is open for snowshoeing even though the road may be closed to car traffic. At certain times of the year some parts of the trails can be muddy so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area is a small piece of heaven for nature lovers, not well know but certainly worth finding. Enjoy the peace and enjoy the view but leave it as you found it so others can do the same.
Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area
By Kawartha Conservation
Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area is a valuable natural resource and a beautiful place to explore. This 125 hectare (308 acre) property was acquired in 1987 by Kawartha Conservation through a generous donation from Mr. Ross Davidson of Toronto. The trails here are especially appealing to experienced hikers and nature lovers.
Situated on the Pigeon River partially within the Oak Ridges Moraine, this area is important for the many cold water seeps and springs that exist here. Water from the seeps and springs comes from the high grounds of the Moraine and forms the headwaters of the Pigeon River. Headwaters are an essential part of the water cycle and are critical to our water supply.
The cold clean waters of the river within the Conservation Area support sensitive brook trout. Minnows and creek chub also inhabit the waters, and white tailed deer, mink, muskrat, and beaver share the land.
Birders will enjoy woodcock, hermit thrush and warbler sightings, and the ruffed grouse can be heard drumming through the dense forests.
The marsh boardwalk is a highlight of the park. Water milfoil, turtlehead, asters, cattails and arrowhead all thrive along the length of the walkway. Frogs, salamanders, turtles and other water loving creatures also enjoy the marsh.
A parking lot, picnic shelter and portable washroom are located near the entrance to the Conservation Area. Visitors will also find a second privy, two scenic lookouts and four warm-up shelters along the trails.
Hours of Operation
May-October 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
November-April 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
No access is permitted outside of posted hours.
1.From Highway 35, turn west onto Highway 7A for 3 km
2.Turn left at Century Farm Road for 2.8 km
3.Turn left at Gray Road for 800 m
4.Destination will be on the left at 445 Gray Road, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario
The parking area is not maintained from October 31 to May 1, and is most accessible by vehicle mainly from early June to late October.
Gray Road from Century Farm Road over to Hwy 35 is classified as an unassumed municipal road.
It is maintained as an Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trail in the winter.