Another week, another trail! We stuck close to home again and explored the Voyageur Hiking and Cross-Country Ski Trail near Azilda. The Ontario Trails Council (OTC) website states this trail is part of the Rainbow Routes trail system, but it is actually run by the Walden Cross Country Fitness Club (WCCFC) now. Despite being only a short jaunt (yes, I’m going to try to use that word in every post) off of Hwy 35, the Voyageur trail is kind of hidden away and we didn’t even know it existed before searching the OTC website. This trail, which is situated on Sudbury’s original railway bed, has options to do a 1, 5, or 8 km loop. Due to poor conditions, the trail was not groomed for skiing when we went and would have been unsuitable for hiking and dogs had it been groomed (i.e. the tracks would get damaged). The sign at the trailhead gave a fair warning that the 5 and 8 km loops were not for novice skiers due to “hilly terrain”- the riskiest part probably being a steep downhill portion which crossed the snowmobile trail at the bottom. Based on how I fared on “Sling Shot” a few weeks ago, I don’t think that would end well for me. The 1 km trail; however, appeared to be more tame and novice-friendly.
There were a few cars in the parking lot when we arrived and we were following some fresh foot/paw prints on our hike, but never encountered anyone on the trail. Nice. Since it had gotten colder again after a few days of temperatures hovering around freezing, the snow was fairly packed down but still a bit icy with some potential ankle-twisting areas. It was clear that somebody had attempted this hike probably a few days before us and appeared to have gone through the snow up to at least mid-calf every other step. Eric imitated the strides and we concluded that it might even have been every step…maybe this person just had extremely long legs. Either way, it didn’t look like the easiest way to go about walking.
We ended up doing the 5 km loop and I’d say it was easy-moderate difficulty. We were surrounded by nice scenery (lots of birch trees, water and a view of the Superstack – enjoy it while it lasts?) and it was really quiet once we distanced ourselves from the snowmobile trail. I would definitely hike this trail again; I’m sure it’s particularly pretty in the fall. I personally would not attempt the 5 or 8 km groomed trail on skis (see my previous post and you will understand why), but would consider the 1 km loop. I’m sure more seasoned skiers enjoy the other trails when the conditions are better. I should probably also mention that there is a $10 pass for ski trail use available at the Azilda Rexall. Overall, the Voyageur trail was a pleasant surprise so make sure to check it out! If you go in winter, take a peek at the WCCFC website first to check trail conditions and if the trails are open/groomed for skiing then pick another hike or get the skis out 🙂
Also thanks Tanya and Tika for joining us this week!