This winter, explore the popular trails of Milne Dam Conservation Park, located on Milne Reservoir, and part of Rouge Park ― in Markham. A birding hot spot, this 305-acre park offers trails, picnic spots and fishing in the Rouge River during warmer months.
The park offers 2.3 kilometres of trails suitable for all levels making it an ideal site for family hiking, all year long. This moderately trafficked loop trail also features bridges, a river and a beach area. During the winter, tobogganers can be spotted on a few of the hills.
The gated park entrance is located on the east side of McCowan Road, just south of Highway 7. It is open seasonally and for vehicles from 8 am (weekdays) and 9 am (weekends) until dusk. Parking is available for up to 200 vehicles.
The significant wetlands, forests and open space provides the ultimate stopover site for migrating birds (August to November) so there are great opportunities for bird watching. Blue jays, chickadees, woodpeckers, blue herons and Baltimore orioles have been spotted in the park.
The conservation area is well suited for large group picnics with new modern shelters that can accommodate 100 people. Fishing is also allowed with an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry fishing permit. During 'bug season' at dusk, you can also go bat watching and perhaps catch a glimpse of a deer.
Milne Dam Conservation Park was named after Peter and Alexander Milne who operated a mill, located near the present dam structure, in the 1820’s. The business then expanded to include a general store, fueling and wool mill and ashery by 1845. In 1911, Archie Milne, the grandson of Peter Milne, built the first concrete and steel arc dam in Canada.
Today, the park consists of much more than the dam. It is the largest park in Markham, spanning more than 300 acres of natural beauty. With its 2.3 kilometres of trails running through lush forests and along the Rouge River, the Milne Dam Conservation park has something to offer all nature enthusiasts.
Level of Difficulty
Hiking & Walking, Running and Cycling
Hours of Operation
Weekdays: 8:00 AM to dusk
Weekends: 9:00 AM to dusk (Victoria Day Weekend to Thanksgiving Day Weekend)
Free on weekdays. There is a fee to enter on weekends and statutory holidays. Adults: $4.50, Seniors: $3.50, Children 15 and under: Free.
Parking is available in designated parking spaces and up to a maximum of 200 cars is allowed.
Until January 23, 2021, Markham is in the Grey lockdown zone so access is currently limited to ensure proper physical distancing. Note that all public washrooms are closed. Rental permit applications are also not currently being accepted for 2021.
Find out more at www.markham.ca.