24 Jul 2021

Many London locals choose to take up hiking as their favourite hobby, and it’s clear to see why! There are many great parks, conservation areas, and natural environmental areas in and around the city that offer terrific hiking opportunities. The region is home to some of Ontario’s most scenic trails, featuring mature woods, tranquil ponds and streams, well-maintained paths, and as much flora and fauna as that will fit in the space!

Whether you’re looking to spend a quiet day surrounded by nature, take the little ones out to get a dose of fresh air and exercise, or hoping for a romantic stroll with a special someone, London and the surrounding area can provide a myriad of trails on various terrain, perfectly suited for all ages and skill levels!

The following list features ten of the very best hikes in the London area including:

  1. Medway Valley Heritage Forest
  2. Warbler Woods
  3. Kains Woods
  4. Komoka Provincial Park
  5. Fanshawe Conservation Area
  6. Meadowlily Woods Trail
  7. Sharon Creek Conservation Area
  8. Kilally Meadows and Valley Park
  9. Westminster Ponds Loop
  10. Thames Valley Trails Loop

Read on to discover more about this beautiful region of Southwestern Ontario and the fabulous hiking trails hidden throughout the city and neighbouring towns!

Medway Valley Heritage Forest

Length: 3 kilometres
Time Spent: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Features: Forest, hiking trails, ponds, stream

Medway Valley Heritage Forest is a popular attraction for couples and families in London, Ontario. The park features a variety of trees, trails, and wildlife right in the middle of the city!

It’s incredibly easy to access as it is located just north of the 401, off Medway Drive. Locals and visitors alike love this trail because of its proximity to the city as well as it’s diversity. There are many different trails that branch off from the main path for longer adventures, but there is no need to venture too far!

The park features a large pond, as well as several smaller ponds (all of which have small docks to take in the scenery) and a stream-fed pond. The park has a number of bridges that cross over the small streams, and many people enjoy taking an afternoon to walk around the forest and stop at all of them. There are benches located along the way so you can sit down if you’d like to have a snack or just need a break!

The trails are wide enough for strollers, as well as wheelchairs for those looking to enjoy the sight of nature but not have a lot of mobility. You’ll see plenty of wildlife here, including birds, snakes, and other woodland creatures!

Kains Woods

Length: 10 kilometres
Time Spent: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Features: Forest, hiking trails, hills

Located right off of Fanshawe Park Road West, Kains Woods is an excellent place to get in some exercise. This beautiful forest contains a variety of trails through the trees, including hills for those looking to really burn some calories.

There are a number of different paths in this area that are great for all kinds of hikers, including those looking for something longer. There is one trail located here that is about 10 kilometres long!

Kains Woods has been around since the 1960s and was named after Adam Kains, who spearheaded a movement to develop the forest as an outdoor recreational area for the community. There is plenty of wildlife to see here as well, so be on the lookout!

There are ample parking spaces located just off of Fanshawe Park Road West where you can park your car and head off into the woods. For those not driving, there is a bus stop right beside the entrance with buses that travel to and from Kains Woods every half an hour on weekdays, Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm and Sundays and Holidays from 10 am to 5pm.

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Komoka Provincial Park

Length: 2-5 kilometres
Time Spent: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Features: Forest, hiking trails, streams, lake

Komoka Provincial Park is one of the most popular destinations for those who live in the Komoka area, just outside of London. This fabulous park is a great option for hikers who are looking to get out and explore the “wilderness” without delving too deep into unknown territory.

There are a number of different trails that branch off from the main path. The park features two main loops, one of which is about 5 kilometres in length and the other around 2-3 kilometres (you can do both if you prefer). The side trails range from 1 kilometre to 2 kilometres in length.

There is also a small lake located in the park that you can walk around or sit and enjoy the scenery! Komoka Provincial Park contains plenty of bridges over streams and a large bridge to cross over the lake itself. There are benches located throughout, as well as a campground and a few picnic spots.

Fanshawe Conservation Area

Length: 12 kilometres
Time Spent: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Features: Forest, hills, nature trails

Fanshawe Conservation Area is a large area in South London, Ontario, and is probably one of the most well-known nature destinations in the city. It features over 21 km of combined hiking trails through winding forests as well as scenic lookouts of the Thames River. The main path is a 12 kilometre loop that winds through the park, although there are plenty of side trails for those looking to venture out!

Fanshawe Conservation Area offers a variety of trails and paths to accommodate all hikers, as well as those who would just like to leisurely take in the sights.

There is also an abundance of bridges located throughout the park. These allow you to take in views of the Thames River below, as well as have a place to sit down and enjoy your surroundings!

Fanshawe Conservation Area is also known for it’s beautiful wildflowers that bloom from July until August. There are plenty of other trees and shrubbery scattered throughout as well, making Fanshawe a sight to see.

Meadowlily Woods Trail

Length: 7 kilometres
Time Spent: 3-5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Features: Forest, hills, nature trails, river

Meadowlily Woods Trail is a scenic hiking trail that runs through beautiful Medowlily Woods. It’s such an undiscovered place and yet it has so much to offer!

The trail is gaining in popularity as a great hiking spot in London. Located on the outskirts of the Medway Valley Heritage Forest, you get a chance to hike through some pretty thick forest areas that will take you into some unique terrain.

Meadowlily Woods Trail offers a few different loops for your enjoyment. There is the beginner loop, which is only 2 kilometres and easy to moderate in terms of difficulty. There is the intermediate loop, 5 kilometres long and moderately difficult with some hills. And then finally, there’s the 6 kilometre advanced loop that starts out easy but gets pretty strenuous and has a few more hills than the other loops.

Sharon Creek Conservation Area

Length: 5 kilometres
Time Spent: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Features: Forest, hills, nature trails, river

Sharon Creek Conservation Area is another popular hiking spot for those who live in the London area. It features an easy trail system that anyone can follow. It’s a picturesque setting, completely filled with a variety of wildlife. The scenery is stunning and in the fall, Sharon Creek Conservation Area is full of different coloured leaves that shed off the trees, creating a colourful and vibrant walking path to enjoy!

Sharon Creek Conservation Area offers a whole new adventure for London hikers! There’s not too much elevation gain or loss but certainly some hills. Sharon Creek is made up of several trails of various challenge levels that run along a river, through forest and over small hills.

There are also multiple trails that branch off from the main path. These vary in length and skill level as well.

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Kilally Meadows and Valley Park

Length: 3 kilometres
Time Spent: 2 hour
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Features: Forest, nature trails, river, woods

Kilally Meadows and Valley Park is a great place to enjoy a walk or hike in the woods. It features some nice looping trails that run around two ponds. It’s an easy hike, although there are a few hills to climb.

Kilally Meadows and Valley Park is a great place for all hikers, beginners and experts alike, to enjoy. There’s tons of space and the trails are pretty straightforward without too much elevation gain or loss.

There are plenty of animal sightings to be had here! So if you love bird-watching, deer-spotting, and butterfly observations, this is the hike for you! You will definitely get your fill of different flora and fauna within Kilally Meadows and Valley Park.

Westminster Ponds Loop

Length: 1.5 kilometres
Time Spent: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Features: Forest, nature trails, river (in the summer)

Westminster Ponds Loop is an easy yet scenic walk that takes you through three ponds on the outskirts of downtown London. You get a chance to see geese, ducks, herons, and many other bird species. There are also fish in the ponds that you can see through the clear water’s surface!

Westminster Ponds Loop is a great place for picnics or to take your lunch if you’re going on a long hike. This makes this scenic trail ideal for taking the family out for a relaxing afternoon or spending some extra time with a loved one.

Located right in the heart of Westminster Woods (near Kains Park), there’s an entrance off of Westminster Drive into the parking lot. This trail is great for running, walking, or just about any outdoor activity. It’s a relatively easy trail with very little elevation change.

Thames Valley Trails Loop

Length: 4 kilometres
Time Spent: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Features: Forest, nature trails, river, woods

Thames Valley Trail is one of the most popular hiking spots in the city of London, Ontario. It features 4 km of hiking trails that run along two rivers. There are three loops that run through the trail system. The short loop runs for about 1 km and is ideal for beginners and those who don’t want a really long hike.

The middle loop is 2 kilometres and runs along two rivers, with the Thames River at the front of the path and Laurel Creek running in the background. This one is pretty average in terms of difficulty and distance.

The third trail runs for about 5 kilometres. It follows Laurel Creek, which is a secluded river that runs through the forest. There are some pretty steep hills that you walk up and down but it’s not a difficult trail to follow at all as long as you pay attention!

Thames Valley Trail is also a fantastic spot to go on a bike ride! You can easily rent bikes from local stores around London if you don’t have one to bring with you. Make sure to bring a water bottle as there’s hardly any shade on this trail.

Also, if you’re into geocaching, be sure to check out Thames Valley Trail! There are about 50 caches placed around the trails. You probably won’t find all of them in one day but it’s fun to try!

The trails in and around London, Ontario, offer a variety of different terrains for all skill levels. Whether you’re looking to take your family out on a relaxing afternoon outing or tackle an epic hike by yourself, one of these top 10 hikes near London is perfect!

 

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