O’Hara Mill Conservation Area

The Heritage Gardens at O Hara Mill Conservation Area turns the collection of old buildings into a living museum. The Heritage Gardens are a sight to behold especially once the gardening season gets under way. There is always something blossoming, blooming or fruiting. The idea is to have plants grown in a typical homestead in central Hastings County from the mid 1800s through to the early 1900s. These gardens provide visitors with an incredible array of opportunities from simply taking in the beauty to consulting with the Heritage Gardeners on their methods and the preservation of heritage plant species.

Heritage Trail: .8 km. Along this trail you will find evidence of living in the mid 1800’s onward. You will see the split rail fence, stacked stone walls, and pass by the remnants of an old dump typical of long settled properties. There is also the moss covered remains of a concrete foundation, presumably from maple sugar activity. There is also a cross trail about midway to form a shorter loop.

Fern Trail: This trail is .25 km long and has blue markers. The shortest of our trails, it meanders along Deer Creek just below the sawmill. While here, check out the beautiful ferns that grow under the canopy of trees. This area originally would have been cleared by the O’Haras to have better access to the road.

Lois Wishart Way: This trail is approx. 1 km and has red markers. This is a self guided tree identification trail named in honour of a long time supporter of O’Hara Mill. There are 20 stations marked along the trail, featuring a particular tree or forest, and we would like to thank the Hastings Stewardship Council for supplying these signs.

McEathron Trail: This trail is 1.75 km and has green markers. It is named in honour of Stan McEathron, one of our many volunteers and his family who laid out this trail. This trail is very scenic and natural. It is rocky and rugged and you must cross the natural flow of the creek by stepping stones. You can just imagine what travel would have been like in the 1800’s!

Deer Creek Trail: This trail is 0.21 km long and has white markers. It meanders along the east side of Deer Creek from the foot bridge on the Lois Wishart Way to the stepping stone bridge on the north end of the McEathron Trail.

Woodland Trail: This trail is 0.46 km long and has lime green markers.   It starts near the south end of Deer Creek Trail, angles north east to the north line fence, crosses the small creek on stepping stones and links up with the north end of the Heritage trail.

Creekside Trail: This trail is 0.45 km long and has orange markers. It starts by the mill pond just above the sawmill, crosses the stepping stones beside Lois Wishart Way, angles along the north side of the small feeder creek and meets up with the Woodland Trail just above the old beaver pond.

Link to trails map:

2oldguyswalking website offers a great review of this site including images and trails map. Go here to read this review.

O’Hara Mill Conservation Area is just one of the many nature trails and hiking trails you can find throughout Ontario by using the search features of OntarioNaturetrails.com

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O’Hara Mill Conservation Area characteristics

Length: 7 trails of varying shorter lengths.
Difficulty: Moderate (Trail classifications)
Trail surface: Natural
Trail use: Hiking
Accessibility Notes: Not wheelchair accessible.
Fees: Pay and Display Parking is in effect.

Flora & Fauna:

Not reported yet

Amenities: Washrooms, picnic tables

Attractions: Heritage house & museum, interpretive signage, sugar shack, food booth, covered bridge

O'Hara Volunteers Assoc., jamesohara1880@gmail.com, 613-473-2084

Find it: 638 Mill Rd, Madoc

GPS Coordinates (main trailhead):
Latitude: 44.5189300
Longitude: -77.5259050

O’Hara Mill Conservation Area Image Gallery

Photo credits:

Don Knight