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Crawford Lake Conservation Area

Day Trips Southern Ontario Canada, Wildflowers, Walking Trails

Crawford Lake Conservation Area is a great Southern Ontario day trip with walking trails, wildflowers and a rare meromictic lake, and a reconstructed Iroqouian Indian village, and is about 40 km ( 25 miles) west of Mississauga (see note at bottom of this page on how to find it and googlemap).

Part of the Niagara Escarpment (see Niagara Falls and Hamilton), Crawford Lake is connected by a 7.2 km (4.5 miles) walking trail east to Rattlesnake Point. Pick up a map brochure at the entrance to the parks. Entry fee is good all day at all Conservation Halton parks.


Sign at Crawford Lake - Great Place for Parties as well as Day Trips!

Crawford Lake conservation area sign

Outdoor fun for a birthday party or meeting, says the sign up the hill from the park entrance.

There's a well equipped visitors center. Park staff said the best time to visit is during the week in August and early September, before the school field trips begin.

During the school year, Crawford Lake is very busy with school groups.

 

Dragonfly Alights on Reeds at Rare Ontario Meromictic Lake

Dragonfly on reeds at Crawford Lake Ontario Canada

At the end of Crawford Lake, furthest from the start of the trail near the visitors center the water is fairly shallow, and I spotted this little dragonfly on the reeds.

Crawford Lake is 24 meters (79 feet) deep, and, says my brochure, there is little oxygen below 15 meters (50 feet).

We walked the gentle boardwalk around the entire lake in about 20 minutes, stopping to read interpretive signs along the way and take pictures.

Boardwalk Views Reflections of Crawford Lake

Shoreline trees reflecting in Crawford Lake ontario

 

Most of the boardwalk is shaded by overhanging trees. From this calm surface, you'd never guess how deep this lake actually is!

Sediment deposits (called varves) on the bottom can, like rings of a tree trunk, be accurately dated.

The lake is south of the visitors center, about a 2 minute walk.

Old Growth Cedars Frame Crawford Lake Views

Forest around Crawford Lake Ontario conservation area Halton Region.

 

Along the boardwalk, old growth cedars framed the views of Crawford Lake, while providing cool shade on a sunny afternoon.

We'd brought a picnic lunch and made use of the tables on the lower level of the visitors center.

The circular trail and boardwalk around Crawford Lake itself is 1.4 km (just under one mile), and usually takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Jewel Weed - Spotted Jewel Weed - Touch-Me-Not

Orange fluted jewelweed Ontario wildflower also known as Impatiens capensis, and Orange Balsam.

Impatiens capensis, also known as Orange Jewelweed, or Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, or Orange Balsam is a native North American wildflower.

Its other common name is Touch-Me-Not, for its seed pods that explode when touched.

Jewelweed grows along creeks and lakefronts in low lying areas, and blooms from about July until October.

Crawford Lake Shoreline - Pollen, Leaf Debris, Algae Meramictic Meromictic Crawford Lake Ontario

Meromictic lakes waters do not circulate from top to bottom, and from the looks of this picture, there is also little circulation in any other direction.

This photo is taken at the start of the boardwalk trail, closest to the visitors center, and a few feet from the little beach area seen earlier on this page.

Here, in a little bay area, the water surface was covered with pollen grains that well may find their way to becoming sediment layers on the bottom, and should the lake survive long enough, will serve future scientists with accurate dating of this day in Ontario.

On the Lake Trail, North Side of Crawford LakeCrawford Lake trail hikers at Conservation Halton Ontario

Though still shaded, the trail opens up to allow views of the surrounding forest.

The trail is mostly gravel limestone screenings at the end of the board walk.

Notice the rock formations and piles alongside the trails, and remember this area of southern Ontario has all been shaped, molded, fashioned and formed by Ice Age glaciers.

The hikers in this photo are friends who were traveling across Canada in their RV - and writing about it on their RV blog.

Wild Aster in Bloom ~ Crawford Lake Ontario Wildflowers

Wild asters flowering in blue at Crawford Lake

 

Wild asters - the little blue daisy like flower in the center of the photo - are in bloom across southern Ontario all summer long.

Dragonflies were thick in the air, butterflies did their thing, too, and birds could be heard and seen in the tree tops.

The midday sunlight tended to fade the color from the Asters.

My Favourite Picture! Red Baneberry in Woodlands Forest Red Baneberry wildflower on stalk

 

Along the walking trails, the flash of red baneberry (Actaea rubra) would catch your eye in the shaded forest.

The fallen gnarled branches added such visual interest to the picture / scene.

I took all these photos with my little Canon A530, turning off the flash to catch the natural light.

I just love how this photo turned out. Thanks, little Canon!

TIP The road off Guelph Line to Crawford Lake is difficult to spot. It is located east of Guelph Line on Conservation Road between Derry Road and Campbellville Road. Technically it's on Steeles Avenue, though this is very vague.

If you are coming from the north (Hwy 401, Exit Guelph LIne - Mohawk Raceway exit) go south on Guelph Line through the village of Campbellville and continue south for a few kilometers. If you come to Stone Haven Farms you've passed it. One sign for Crawford Lake is on your right pointing left, and the main sign is on the east - your left.

If you are coming from the south on Guelph Line, go a few kilometers north of Derry Road past Stone Haven Farms (large sign on west side of road) and look for Crawford Lake / Conservation Road sign on the right.

See More : Elora via Guelph

From Crawford Lake, continue north on Guelph Line to Hwy 401 and go west (London), to the next two exits for Guelph (googlemap) and go north through Guelph (pretty in its own right!) to explore the heritage village of Elora and the Grand River and Irvine River gorges.

 


 

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