Walker Woods is one of a number of large accessible woodlots south of Uxbridge. In this natural, rustic setting there are about 22 km of trail to enjoy on your classic x-country skis or on a pair of snowshoes after a snowfall.
Recently I was given a tour of the best trails by Rob Ferguson, a frequent Nordic skier at Walker Woods (and a Green Durham volunteer).
Although I have mountain biked here for years and know the area quite well, I had not considered trying the trails in the winter. Durham Forest, NE across the road, is the more popular, well-travelled recreational area that everyone uses.
Well, not only was it a fine sunny day, with plenty of snow (maybe too much), but the trekking was splendid: plenty of variety, not too many hills, no crowds, and free to try.
Because the loops are not groomed and there are a few tricky turns on the hills if the snow is fast, I rate the skill level of this area as Intermediate. As always, this will depend on the snow conditions. You may wish to walk the inclines.
There will be enough ski traffic to follow tracks cut previously. That said, I also saw hikers, snowshoers, people on fat bikes, and horseback riders using these trails. Signs are posted to encourage them not to stomp on our tracks and keep to the right. I think it’s working, for the most part.
This is an ideal location to snowshoe, with smaller side trails to follow (or make your own). A few hilly parts make it interesting to travel without too much strain.
No worries about getting lost, as numbered signposts at intersections tell you where you are on the map. Many paths make a grid of old farm roads with a few hiking trails cutting across.
You can also venture east into North Walker Woods or the Brock Tract. Both offer similar terrain and are even more rustic and secluded.
On the south end, when you pass through an opening at the wire fence at post #19 or #21 you enter Glen Major Forest, a more hilly, challenging terrain with some nice views on top.
Thanks go to Jim Walker who sold this land to the TRCA so we can enjoy it. As a young Toronto lawyer in the 1930s, he discovered this area while skiing. It was a rather barren landscape when he began buying land here, but over time he bought thousands of acres, and then he planted millions of trees as his legacy. Some old structures can be seen as you ski by on the NW side of the property where there is a sawmill.
It is best to park on Concession Rd. 6 rather than 7. There is less of a vertical descent when you start skiing, which is not a big deal if you snowshoe.
This country woodlot has few amenities nearby. You will need to drive to Uxbridge, Ajax, or Stouffville to find a hot lunch.
A tranquil outing awaits you; make plans to ski here soon!