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Top 5 Hiking Trails in Windsor-Essex

Author: Layan Barakat
1 month ago
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When most people think of Windsor-Essex, a few things come to mind: the automotive capital of Canada, our sprawling waterfront, and, of course, Windsor pizza. One of the things I love about the Windsor-Essex region is the abundance of greenscapes to explore. According to the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), “Essex Region Conservation owns or manages 17 publicly accessible properties totalling more than 1000 hectares (4000 acres) of land, as well as nearly 100 kilometres of trail.” 

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, the Windsor-Essex region offers a diverse selection of natural landscapes. The following are my favourite hiking trails in the area, and I hope you like them too.  



1. Holiday Beach Conservation Area

Situated along the shores of Lake Erie, the Holiday Beach Conservation Area offers a loop trail that spans approximately 3 km. The trail winds through a natural landscape, including woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. Hikers can expect a mix of flat sections and gentle slopes, making it the perfect destination for families with young children and/or pets looking to enjoy scenic views of Lake Erie and catch a glimpse of our local wildlife. 

Holiday Beach Conservation Area is renowned as a prime birdwatching destination, particularly during the spring and fall migration seasons. The trail is open year-round, with each season offering opportunities for outdoor recreation. Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along the trail in the winter.

2. Lighthouse Point Provincial Nature Reserve

Speaking of Lake Erie, let me welcome you all to an island in mainland Canada’s southernmost point. Pelee Island (which is accessible by ferry) is known for its gorgeous marshlands, forests, and beaches. If you want to get a hike in, visit Lighthouse Point Provincial Nature Reserve. This 5km trail features coastal wetlands, sand dunes, and the Carolinian forests. As you hike, watch for the unique wildlife native to the region! This gorgeous trail is named after the remains of a lighthouse built in 1833. According to their website, “the lighthouse operated for 75 years before its’ light went out in 1909, became abandoned and fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the Pelee Lighthouse went through a beautiful restoration and received the designation of a historical landmark.” When you’re done hiking, stop by Vin Villa winery to check out their historic ruins and refreshing wine.

3. Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve

Wildlife lovers are encouraged to visit The Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex (which also houses Ojibway ParkTallgrass Prairie Heritage ParkBlack Oak Heritage ParkSpring Garden Natural Area, and Oakwood Natural Area), a prime destination for hiking and nature exploration. The reserve features a 7km trail, including dirt paths and grassy areas typical of prairie and savannah ecosystems. My personal favourite is the Black Oak Heritage Trail with its sprawling Black Oak trees. Located in the heart of Essex County, this trail feels like a hidden gem; according to the City of Windsor Website, “Black Oak Heritage Park’s Black Oak savanna is one of the largest stands in Ontario. It is also one of the most endangered habitats in Canada. This unique natural area in the City of Windsor includes large, often old-growth trees – some 150 to 200 years old.”

4. Ganatchio Trail

Looking for a trail that allows visitors to enjoy a leisurely stroll while taking in some of Windsor’s scenic views (including the Detroit River)? Look no further than the Ganatchio Trail. 

This popular multi-use trail offers an experience for hikers, cyclists, rollerblades, and outdoor enthusiasts. The 8km trail runs through the eastern part of Windsor, stretching from Riverside to Tecumseh. This trail passes through several parks, including Sandpoint Beach, and continues through the Little River Corridor, where visitors can discover smaller trails through the area’s forested parks. Make sure to visit “Stop 26 Ice Cream and More” for a frozen treat! The shop’s name comes from the historical streetcar stop number when electric streetcars ran through the city in 1886. Fun fact: Windsor was among the first cities in Canada to adopt electric streetcars to replace horse-drawn carriages!

5. Malden Hill Trail

Located within Malden Park, one of the city’s largest and most popular green spaces, Malden Trail runs approximately 3 km. The trail leads visitors to the top of Malden Hill, offering panoramic views of the Windsor-Detroit skyline (it’s also a great spot to catch a glimpse of the new Gordie Howe Bridge construction project). Walk through the forested areas, take a rest near the pond, and enjoy a natural landscape located at the heart of Windsor-Ontario.


Get outside this summer, Windsor-Essex! Enjoy the trails and the natural beauty our region has to offer! 

Remember to tag @TheDRIVEmag on social media in your hiking pics, and let us know which trail is your favourite!

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