I have a soft spot for old railroads converted into recreational trails. My sister-in-law Mireille and I took advantage of a recent visit to the Midland region to walk part of the Tiny Rail Trail, a 23-kilometre linear trail that goes through the Township of Tiny, in Simcoe County, Ontario.
Trails built on old railroads often seem better suited to biking escapades, but since walking the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail last year I have realized that they can also be a great option for long walks. Without being highly thrilling, hiking on these long linear trails often allows you to better discover a region and appreciate its many landscapes.
The Tiny Rail Trail is built on an old CN railroad that was abandoned in 1969. It crosses the Township of Tiny from south to north and connects the North Simcoe Rail Trail to the Penetanguishene Trail. It is also part of the Trans Canada Trail, a vast network of trails that connects Canada from coast to coast to coast.
Due to time constraints, we only hiked 13 kilometres on the trail from Perkinsfield to the southern terminus of the trail on Tiny Flos Townline. In Perkinsfield, there is a replica of the old station, which is now used as a shelter, and that is the point where we started our walk, going south.
The trail is straight, flat and mostly covered with trees. As we walked in a straight line, our pace seemed slower, but this is what often allows one to appreciate even more the tranquil beauty of the landscape that we cross. Walking on linear paths like this one is so relaxing!
There are several interpretive signs along the trail, highlighting the First Nations who previously lived in the area. The trail even passes near the site of the Ossonane Huron-Wendat ossuary, located in the former capital of the Huron confederation, a site recognized for its historical and archaeological importance.
After passing through the village of Wyevale, we walked over some of the 13 historic railway bridges found on the trail, dating back to the days when trains carried passengers, livestock and Christmas trees destined for the American market. Each bridge was also accompanied by an interpretive sign giving details on its history, a little detail that I really appreciated.
Our long walk ended at Tiny Flos Townline Road. On the other side of the road, we could see the North Simcoe Rail Trail continuing its long linear path on the old railway. For us, it will be a project for another time!