Nature Trails There are more than eight kilometers of self guided hiking trails, and close to 150 different bird species to watch for. Access to all trails whether in summer or winter is of no cost to visitors. There are no restrictions to the time of day that you may enjoy the Sanctuary. Come at dusk to watch grazing deer or come in the wee early morning hours to bird watch; it doesn't matter. The Sanctuary is there for all to enjoy. The Friends of the Sanctuary work to keep it that way; working to conserve and preserve today, for tomorrow.
Heron Trail Wetlands, such as those along this trail, are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. Wetlands are especially important to nesting waterfowl. While walking down the board walks you can observe artificial nesting structures (wood duck boxes) placed to enhance waterfowl nesting during April and early May.
Cedar Trail This trail will lead you through some important deer habitat. The cedar that you see here not only provides good shelter for the deer during winter but it is also an important food source. A good example of succession is evident along this trail where a field is slowly returning to a forest.
Maple Trail The Maple Trail will lead you to an old sugar bush, where you will find the ruins of a sugar shanty. You will also see a variety of trees such as nanny berry, oak, hickory and cherry trees that provide food for songbirds, game birds, small mammals and deer. An off shoot of this trail leads to a covered viewing blind where you can observe migrating ducks, geese and shore birds.
Red-wing Trail The Red-wing Trail is a good example of mixed forest species. In the lowland area, you will see alder, willow and cedar. In the upland areas, you will see hickory, oak, beech and hard maple. Small mammals, deer and reptiles are often observed on this trail.
Skiing and Snowshoeing X-country skiing and snowshoeing are extremely popular outdoor activities during the winter months at the sanctuary. It's not surprising that snowshoeing has been gaining in popularity in Ontario as it takes minimal equipment, it's easy to learn for the whole family and delivers an incredible physical workout. On a pair of snowshoes you can walk through even the deepest snow, head into the back country, go camping and just get away to recharge yourself. It's just you and the soft crunch of the snow under your shoes.
At Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary there are about 8 km of easy trails groomed for cross-country skiing. After 15 years operating a Ski and Snowshoe program using community donations of used ski and snowshoe equipment the Friends were able to purchase all new equipment in 2015 thanks to the generous financial support of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. The Friends are now able to offer a wider selection of cross-country skis (including boots and poles) and snowshoes, in child, youth and adult sizes. Proceeds from this endeavor are used to improve and expand our programs and events throughout the year.
The Friends of the Sanctuary operate the Visitor (Interpretive) Centre each weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon until 4:00 p.m. from early January to late March.
Guided Moonlight ski tours are offered one Saturday evening each month from January to March at 7:00 p.m., weather and trail conditions permitting. A small donation of $5.00 per person to the Friends of the Sanctuary is greatly appreciated. To inquire more about the dates for the Moonlight ski events or for any other information regarding the Winter Program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Biking One of the nicest sections of Ontario's Waterfront Trail can be found between Upper Canada Village and Cornwall. This 30 kilometer route will come as a surprise to cyclists who believe that there isn't all that much of interest along the St-Lawrence River east of the Thousand Islands. Much of this route follows a paved multi-use pathway which winds its way through a migratory bird sanctuary, several waterfront parks, and even an open air museum. At one point it turns onto a parkway which passes through a series of islands which are connected by causeways. In about 5 to 6 kilometers you come to the 9,000 hectares Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, where it is possible to see close to 200 bird species.
Here you will find a Visitor (interpretive) center and an elevated observation platform which you will be able to climb to get a good view of the surrounding landscape. There is also a parking lot for people arriving in this area by car. The path through the sanctuary is reasonably wide, has a good paved surface, and provides a front row seat to the area's habitat for a variety of plants and animals. At one point there are wetlands on both sides of the path, and it doesn't take much looking to spot plenty of wildlife.
Bird Watching A visit to the Visitor (Interpretive) Center, bird watching and wildlife study are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Imagine thousands of Canada Geese anxiously awaiting their feed; that's what you will see during the fall at the sanctuary. Visitors are always welcome to stop in at the Center for a free sample bag of bird seed and hand feed the chickadees while on your leisurely walk through the trails.