Backus Woods is one of the highest quality old growth hardwood forests in all of Ontario and the best remaining example in the Carolinian Life Zone.  Comprised of a series of trails.

The Carolinian Life Zone comprises less than a quarter of one per cent of the country’s landmass, but is home to 25% of Canada’s species at risk; several occur in Backus Woods. Prothonotary warblers nest in deep wooded swamps, Jefferson’s Salamanders breed in vernal pools, and woodland voles forage in runways below the litter. In addition, some of the oldest living trees in Ontario are found here, including Black Gums that may have been seedlings when Jacques Cartier sailed into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1534. Tulip trees, the tallest growing trees east of the Rocky Mountains, shoot 35 metres straight up and through the canopy of maple, oak, pine and hickory.

Maintained walking trails guide you through numerous habitats such as dry forested ridge, wet slough, buttonbush swamp and floodplain. 

Trail length/difficulty:
Weston Family Trail: 6.5 kms round trip / moderate
Four Oaks Trail: 3.62 kms / moderate
Wetland Trail: 4.2 kms / moderate
Dogwood Trail 3.1 kms / moderate
Sassafrass Trail 3.2 kms / moderate
Sugarbush Trail 2.3 kms / moderate to difficult
Floodplain trail 2.8 kms / moderate

Link to trail map:

We would also direct you to read our DISCLAIMER and our TRAIL USERS CODE.



Nearby towns and cities:

BACKUS WOODS characteristics

Length: seven trails ranging from 2.3 km to 6.5 km.
Difficulty: Moderate (Trail classifications)
Trail surface: Compacted soil/hard packed
Trail use: Hiking, Cross-country skiing, Snowshoeing, Mountain biking, and Winter (Fat) Biking
Accessibility Notes: none
Fees: none

Flora & Fauna:

Species you can look out for:

tulip tree
black gum
red oak
white oak / swamp white oak
black oak
pileated woodpecker
hooded warbler
red-eyed vireo
woodland vole
wild turkey
blue-spotted salamander

Amenities: None reporeted

Nature Conservancy of Canada PO Box 520, Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0

Find it: Trail Location: East on County Rd 24 from Highway 59 just north of Port Rowan.

GPS Coordinates (main trailhead):
Latitude: 42.6738550
Longitude: -80.4991610