A December Hike in Kains Woods

Hiking is an excellent way to stay active and support your mental health. And I don’t need to cite studies to prove it. Simply get outside, find a trail and start hiking. You will immediately feel the benefits. As an adventurous family, 2020 saw us weave hiking into our weekly family activities. And we did it with gusto. Hiking became our favorite way to get out of the house and discover the natural wonders that surround us in London. Our latest adventure, a hike in Kains Woods along the Thames river in London, is just one such example of the simple and natural beauty that exists in our area. Read on to learn more about the area.

Kains Woods, an Environmentally Significant Area

Kains Woods is an Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) that follows the Thames River in an area called the “River Bend”. This ESA offers beautiful views of the Thames river. Small streams have carved deep ravines through the site as they flow towards the Thames.

Kains Woods ESA Brochure from www.thamesriver.on.ca

Sugar Maple, White and Red Oaks, Black Cherry, and Shagbark Hickory cover most of this site. Along the river in the floodplain woods the trees include Black Willow, Cottonwood, Blue Ash and Sycamore.

Kains Woods is an important corridor for birds and animals that follow the river. Bald Eagles can be seen hunting for fish in the river, while Killdeer and Great Blue Heron are frequent visitors near the river’s edge.

We are proud supporters, and active donors, of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA). The UTRCA is responsible for the upper watershed of the Thames River which covers 3,421 square kilometres in southwestern Ontario; including Kains Woods. If you’re interested in supporting the conservation authority, they’ve setup an easy online portal where you can donate to various programs: https://www.thamesriverdonations.ca/

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) Stalking its Prey from a Beaver Dam

Where to Park

You may be wondering where to park exactly. We managed to park on the side of the road at Tigerlilly and Riverbend. The map below shows the exact spot.

Useful Hiking Gear

So you’re just starting out with hiking adventures and wondering what might make your adventures more successful? If so, the following of equipment should get you on your way to success!

We love documenting our camping trips and hikes. We used to do so via an online tool, but we recently decided to return to paper and we use a hiking log book that allows us to write by hand and include printed pictures.

If you’re tackling winter hikes, a good pair of socks is paramount. For men, we love the Under Armour Heatgear line. These merino wool socks from Icebreaker are our pick for women. And if your kids are anything like ours, they’ll love the Heatgear socks from Under Armour.

For those easy and quick hikes, we highly recommend Patagonia’s 8L Sling pack to help you carry a few essentials.

Patagonia uses both recycled Nylon and recycled Polyester in crafting these packs. The pack is waterproof, tight fitting and can carry up to 8L of gear, weighs less than half a pound and can also carry extra gear like a yoga mat!

Rules to remember in Kains Woods and London’s ESAs

As you embark on your very own hike in Kains Woods, please remember the following:

  • Please use the official access points indicated on the trail maps.
  • Stay on the managed trails (marked with yellow markers on trees or posts).
  • Bicycles are permitted only on multi-use pathways.
  • Access is allowed from 6 am to 10 pm.
  • Keep the ESAs litter free.
  • All pets must be on leash (2 m/ 6 ft maximum).
  • Do not feed the fish and wildlife.
  • Do not dump or release fish or wildlife of any kind.
  • Fishing is permitted with a provincial fishing licence. No hunting is permitted.

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