There are so many wonderful walking trails in St Thomas Ontario because the spectacular Trans Canada Trail (formerly known as The Great Trail) runs right through town. The Trans Canada Trail is the world’s largest continuous trail system that extends right across Canada. While you could easily spend the day walking the entire Trans Canada Trail in St. Thomas (and beyond), I’ll be highlighting the must see paths and parks.
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The best walking trails in St Thomas Ontario include the Elevated Park, Lake Margaret and the Angus McKenzie Trail, and the Orchard Park Trail. The Orchard Park Trail is most notable in the spring for its fields of poppies and wildflowers.
Walking Trails in St Thomas Ontario Map
Here is a map of the parks and walking trails in St Thomas Ontario, thanks to Railway City Tourism. You can see the Trans Canada Trail (formerly known as The Great Trail) outlined in green. The red trails are the local park trails, and they’re all clearly marked here.
As you can see, you can walk the entire Trans Canada Trail from one side of town to the other, which includes the parts of the path that follow the city streets. I prefer to stick to parks and more scenic areas, so I’ve opted to highlight the three best sections of the Trans Canada Trail in St. Thomas in this article.
St. Thomas Elevated Park
The St. Thomas Elevated Park is Canada’s first and only elevated park. It’s free, open to the public, and was built by volunteers and community donations. There’s a parking lot at 1 Centre Street, and the park is open from dawn to dusk every day of the year.
The Michigan Central Railroad Kettle Creek Bridge opened in 1930. At its peak, it carried 50 trains a day, both freight and passenger trains. At the time, it was thought to be a great feat of engineering. In more modern times, the tracks weren’t used anymore. So, the St. Thomas Elevated Park project began.
The park preserves the railway history of St. Thomas, “The Railway City” and allows people to enjoy this space in a new way. There are only a few elevated parks in the world and this is the first one in Canada. It’s a park in the sky, suspended 95 feet up in the air, and it’s also part of the Trans Canada Trail!
The Elevated Park is 30 feet wide and 850 feet long. There are benches where you can sit and enjoy the views. You can walk across the boardwalk and admire all of the interesting sculptures and works of public art. There are even a couple of interactive sculptures that are musical in nature.
It’s an interesting walk between the parking lot and the St. Thomas Elevated Park. There are some painted elephants on the rocks at the entrance, there are some little gardens, and a short shaded trail. This is one of the best walking trails in St Thomas, so you absolutely must get out there to see it!
Angus McKenzie Trail & Lake Margaret
The Angus McKenzie Trail in St. Thomas wraps around Lake Margaret, and it’s a protected natural space in the city. While some of the trail goes through neighbourhoods and suburbs, there are some quiet and peaceful spots where you can get away from it all.
There are a couple of forested areas on the way and you’ll be able to admire views of Lake Margaret. It’s possible to spot some birds on the way, definitely some Canada geese at the very least. I loved the wildflowers that are part of this protected space.
If you keep going on the Angus McKenzie Trail, you’ll end up at Pinafore Park. Pinafore Park features a playground for the kiddos, some flower gardens, and Pinafore Pond where you might see some beautiful swans.
To reach the Angus McKenzie Trail, you can hike to it from the Trans Canada Trail at any point in town (it’s part of the Trans Canada Trail, too!). There’s also lots of free street parking in the surrounding neighbourhoods. I parked on the street called Lake Margaret Trail.
Orchard Park Trail
The Orchard Park Trail is a paved path that runs alongside a newer subdivision. There’s a decent sized parking lot at the end of Empire Parkway. At first glance, the Orchard Park Trail might not seem to be too special, and likely just a great path for the neighbourhood residents.
However, if you plan to visit in the spring, you might be able to spot a field full of wildflowers and poppies. The poppies run alongside the path and there are thousands and thousands of them. It really made me feel a bit like I was in the South of France (the only place I’ve seen wild poppies grow!).
When I visited at the beginning of June, the poppies were blooming in full force. I saw that there were still quite a few that hadn’t yet bloomed. If you visit from the end of May throughout June, I feel as though you’ll be able to enjoy these beautiful flowers, too. The Orchard Park Trail is also part of the Trans Canada Trail at the southeast end of St. Thomas, Ontario.
Other Walking Trails in St Thomas Ontario
Looking for more parks and walking trails in St Thomas, Ontario? Here are more great places to go for a hike in St. Thomas.
- Dalewood Conservation Area
- Pinafore Park
- 1Password Park
- Waterworks Park
- More of the Trans Canada Trail (see the green trail on the above map)
If you need even more ideas in the region, check out all of the hiking trails I’ve written about in the Southwest Ontario section of the blog.
What to Bring on a Hike
A proper pair of hiking shoes is an absolute must. It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen and lots of water, too. My water bottle of choice is the GRAYL Purifier because you can drink ANY water from any source, no matter what. Water from lakes, streams, rivers, public restrooms, you name it. It’s the world’s fastest portable purifier. Get your hands on one ASAP!
Don’t forget to pack some bug spray because there can be biting bugs depending on the time of year. Even if there aren’t any signs, it’s safe to assume that ticks are all over Ontario hiking trails. Protect yourself against ticks by reading our guide to avoiding ticks on the trails.
More Hiking Trails in Elgin County
Looking for more great hikes in Elgin County? Elgin County in Southwest Ontario has more than 100km of trails to explore.
- Archie Coulter Conservation Area
- Big Bend Conservation Area
- Calton Swamp Wetland Complex
- Dan Patterson Conservation Area
- Elgin Hiking Trail
- E.M. Warwick Conservation Area
- Fingal Wildlife Management Area
- Hawk Cliff Woods
- Hawkins Tract
- John E. Pearce Provincial Park
- Kirk-Cousins Management Area
- Lake Whittaker Conservation Area
- Port Burwell Provincial Park
- Solitude Nature Reserve
- Springwater Conservation Area
- Yarmouth Natural Heritage Area
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