The trails at Wildwood Conservation Area have been open for mountain biking for a number of years now but I have not had the chance to get up there and check them out until now. I heard a few good things about these trails when they first opened up but its been radio silence ever since. I figured it was about damn time to see what they are like.
I drove the hour and a half from home to Wildwood Conservation Area, getting there around 7:30am. I paid my $6 entry fee at the gate and got directions / info / map from the pleasant gate attendant. The trailhead parking area is nice. Picnic tables, trail information board, and a bike service / repair station sponsored by Steam Whistle.
The trail starts out through a tunnel under the highway and winds along some bluffs for a while before dropping down into the valley at the Wildwood Dam.
The trail then heads along the reservoir shores and through the flood plains of the "lake".
There are emergency response stations located about every 1/2 km along the 25km trail, also useful for seeing where you are as they are marked on the map.
The trail is, for the most part, pretty straight and rolling. Short, gentle ups and downs are along the entire route. It is quite devoid of technical features save for a few short rooty areas and the "Hardwoods Trail" which is the most exciting part of the trail. The Hardwoods Trail is a small loop (less than a kilometer if I had to guess), and is the most challenging part of the trail, although its really not THAT challenging. The trail is also mostly what I consider double track, probably 85-90% of the trail, seems like more of an old access road / ATV trail than purpose built mountain bike trail.
The trail does have some nice scenery along the lake shore and a few nice boardwalks. There are also some cool old access roads that connect to the trail along the way that look like they would be fun to explore, but most of them are posted with "No Trespassing" signs.
All in all, its a decent trail if you live in the London / Stratford area but is seriously lacking in the excitement department. I like my trails narrow and twisty, while these are pretty wide open and straight. I did spot some areas along the route that have the potential to have great twisty singletrack on them though. Maybe the trails will develop more in the years to come. For now, I'll stick with riding other places that offer some more challenge and excitement.
Bric's Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.