Located just on the outskirts of Milton, Ontario is the small but mighty Crawford Lake Conservation Area. Important archaeological finds, incredible hiking trails, and fascinating geological discoveries all await visitors to this beautiful nature reserve.
Explore the History of Crawford Lake Conservation Area
This conservation area, which is just over 570 acres, was acquired in 1969 and is located along the Niagara Escarpment. In 1971, archaeologists uncovered the footprint of a 600-year-old longhouse settlement inhabited by people from the Iroquoian linguistic group. In order to better understand the history of this community, three longhouses have been reconstructed. Visitors can explore the village and imagine what life would have been like in the 15th century.
Hiking for All Abilities
Even though Crawford Lake is relatively small, there are several hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and length. The shortest and most accessible hike is the one kilometer Crawford Lake Trail, which takes visitors around the lake on the boardwalk. This hike is suitable for strollers and walkers, though it may be too narrow for some wheelchairs. Another great hike for the family is the Species at Risk trail showcases ten larger-than-life wooden sculptures of Ontario animals that are at-risk.
More advanced hikers can enjoy the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail which is 4.7 kilometers from Crawford Lake all the way to Rattlesnake Point. This hike is more difficult and takes around four or five hours to hike there and back but the views are definitely worth the effort.
Lake of Natural Wonders
In addition to being a great place to learn about indigenous history and enjoy the natural beauty, Crawford Lake Conservation Area is also a geological wonder. It is a rare meromictic lake, which means it has two distinct layers of water that never mix together. To make it even more unique, Crawford Lake’s lower layer is oxygenated, which is very uncommon around the world.
It is these characteristics that make Crawford Lake so important for researchers. In fact, the sediment that is deposited each year gives clues about the history of the land, going back thousands of years. Because of this, scientists designated Crawford Lake as The Golden Spike, which means it is the most suitable site in the world to help to define a new era.
Know Before You Go
There are a few things that you should know before you visit Crawford Lake Conservation Area. Most importantly, since it is such an important site for historical and geological purposes, there is no swimming, boating, fishing, or dogs allowed in the lake. Dogs must be kept on-leash at all times.
Pre-booking your timeslot on Conservation Halton’s website is recommended, but not required. As for amenities, washrooms are available at the visitors’ centre and there are often popups like NishDish, a First Nations owned and operated businesses, located at The Gathering Place just behind the longhouse village.
You can learn more about Crawford Lake Conservation Area by checking out the video above. Burlington Realtor® and host of The Genuine Realtor Show, Rochelle Edwards, provides an incredibly informative and engaging overview of everything the local area has to offer.