Location: Jefferson County, NY
Starting Point: Wellesley Island Nature Centre
Route we took: Eel Bay Trail to Narrows Trail to South Bay Trail to East Trail to North Field Loop
Total Distance: 7 km
Time: 1.5 hours
Level of Difficulty: Super easy, hardly any elevation

Know what’s better than a regular ol’ hike? An impromptu SISTER ADVENTURE HIKE!

My sister, Heather, had been wanting to take me down to Clayton to show me the venue she’s getting married at next August so this was the perfect excuse to check out the hiking trails at Wellesley Island on the way.

Our day started off like any regular day for us: Way too much coffee and some car karaoke to throwback tunes (my Instagram pals got a little taste of that in my story- sorry, blame Bridgehead).

From Ottawa, the drive to the Nature Center was about 2 hours. With our coffee buzzes still going strong, we quickly whipped on our boots, toques and mitts and booked it towards the newly renovated center.

The girl working the front desk was pleasant and helpful and told us where the outhouses were (although I tried to become her friend so she’d let us use the indoor washroom… And failed).

We hit the trail head at around 11:15 after choosing which route we wanted to take. We wanted something we could crush in less than 2 hours because we had plans to hit up a local spot for wood-oven pizza. Priorities.

wellesley island map(Paper maps > Google Maps, always)

The 7 KM option sounded the most appealing to us so we chose that one. We started on Eel Bay Trail, which took us to Narrows Trail, both of which cruised right along the river.


wellesley island ascent(The morning started off pretty chilly, hence the ski coat on Heather)


Eel Bay met Narrows at the lookout so we stopped quickly for a couple of pictures but since it was pretty cloudy, we didn’t stick around long.


wellesley island lookout(Ok, so maybe I was a little keen with the full pack but Guides taught me to ALWAYS BE PREPARED.)

The trails were very well marked and with it being a super easy path without any extreme elevation, we had the chance to get into some serious sister bonding time.

From the Narrows Trail to South Bay Trail was also decently marked but it started to get a little tricky when we got to the end of South Bay. There was a large closed gate and a sign that marked hunting season (PANIC) so we pulled out the map again to make sure we were still on the right route.

wellesley island south bay trail(Wizard of Oz, anyone?)

wellesley island checking map(Yep, still good!)

After coming across a few flooded paths and having to re-route a little, we were back in action and heading back to pizza, I mean, the Nature Center.

Once we were on East Trail we were rocking at a pretty decent speed since at that point the hunger pains were real. The colours on our way back were pretty spectacular at a few spots, including this one here.

wellesley island red leaves(Ouuu girl, those reds!)

East Trail took us right to North Field Loop (AKA NF Loop… AKA Nick Frears Loop- shout out, brutha!) and once you’re on NF you’re practically back to home-base.

All-in-all, this was a super relaxing and enjoyable hike! Very beginner friendly with lots of different options to shorten it or make it a little longer and challenging.

Wellesley Island is the perfect destination to take on if you’re looking for a light workout and want to get outside for some nature therapy.

Happy trails!

Vicky Castledine

Vicky is a Content Marketing Manager from Monday to Friday and a trail runner/ book lover/ dog hugger after 5 PM and on weekends.

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