Hiking in London along the Thames River

We recently shared our adventure in Kains Woods, and today we’re featuring an adventurous hike along the Thames River in London (Ontario). Hiking in London has become our favorite covid-friendlt family activity in 2020. With the kids doing virtual classes it has been a nice change of pace to get us out and away from digital screens. Read on to learn more about our most recent hiking trip.

The Thames River

The Thames River is located within the agricultural heartland of southwestern Ontario. The area covers 5,285 km² and more than half a million people reside in the Thames River watershed. From its headwaters near Tavistock, the river flows 279 km southwest before reaching Lake St. Clair and, ultimately, Lake Erie.

If you are interested in supporting clear waters in the Thames River, take a look at the Thames River Clear Water Revival website below.

Fanshawe Dam is used to control flood waters on the Thames and for hydro power generation

There are three separate dams that are actively used to control seasonal flooding in the watershed. First, Wildwood Dam is located on Trout Creek which flows into the North Thames River. Second, Pittock Dam is located on the Thames River near Woodstock. Fanshawe Dam located on the North Thames River in the northeasterly area of London. 

Known as Deshkan Ziibi (“Antler River”) in Anishnaabemowin, the Ojibwe language spoken by Anishnaabe peoples. 

WIKIPEDIA.ORG – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_River_(Ontario)

Our Hike

We started our hike just North East of London near Thorndale. It was a 15-minute drive for us, from the North of London.

To those who are familiar with the Fanshawe Lake multi-use trail you will instantly recognize this trailhead.

The Fanshawe Lake trail circles all the way around Fanshawe Reservoir, going through mature forests, open meadows and along three stretches of roadway. 

On even days the trail has a clockwise direction and trail users must rotate their direction on odd days. This means we headed south (counter clockwise) on the trail towards one of the few water crossings along the entire trail.

As we walked along we noted that the trail felt completely different than it had in the summer months. The lack of leaves on trees opens up the view and you can see the river like never before.

Overlooking the Thames River west of Thorndale.

We took the opportunity to safely test the ice strength. First by throwing rocks, and then by stepping on the ice. Surprisingly, the ice along the edge was able to support me. But we didn’t feel safe going any further. Hiking in London has never felt so thrilling.

An interesting ice structure within the layer of ice on the Thames River

On our way back to the trailhead, moving in the clockwise direction this time, we discovered a small and interesting trail. “Monkey Wrench” is a fun, undulating 1km trail that meanders beside a gorgeous creek. This creek had a lovely little waterfall that could be heard along the trail. The sounds of the water and the visual beauty of snow falling created a magical moment.

Pictures taken while Hiking in London

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