The Somerville Tract Forest is a lovely 8.5 km journey consisting of three loops through the woods west of Kinmount. We did two of them on a sunny afternoon and were delighted at our find.
This is a quiet, natural, rustic location, meaning there are marked trails and parking; that’s it. This is a little-known forest reserve that locals enjoy and you can too.
The parking lot gets plowed, but it wasn’t done the day we arrived. No matter, AWD was employed and we decided to snowshoe rather than cross country ski this time.
New snow from the night before had not been ski tracked by anyone and it was icy underneath. Perfect for snowshoes that have metal teeth to grip that slippery ice.
We stomped in to find an old map board and decided to do only Loops 1 & 2 for a total of 4.6 km. You cannot go as far on snowshoes as you can on Nordic skis. There is a shortcut to reduce this length but actually, Loop 2 was the most scenic.
As we got to the far end of this loop, we had a chance to walk down to an opening in the trees. An expansive clearing suggested this is a soggy, marshy area in the summer. From unpleasant reviews I read from hikers and MTB riders, it seems these trails are best used in the winter.
After crossing a small bridge, we came to the junction with a map, where the shortcut meets and Loop 3 starts. This 3.4 km blue loop is a harder path to follow and has a few steep inclines, making it a better choice for more adventurous skiers than beginners.
On our return, we encountered a few two-metre hills and quick turns. I could see why beginner skiers should do it in this direction (counterclockwise). The paths are narrow for skiing, and ungroomed, but it’s a relatively easy level trek.
I think the last stretch was an old dirt road, but you can’t always tell when there is half a metre of snow cover.
Signage was adequate; markers are small, but in the winter it seems more obvious where others have trodden. The Ganaraska trail passes through here as well.
Much of the forest was evergreens, cedar, hemlock, and pines that gave the trek a more enclosed feel, with occasional moments when the path opened up to blue sky. I hope your visit is as magical as ours was.
In the village of Kinmount six km east, you can find a hot meal, otherwise expect to drive much farther.