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Photo by David Lougheed

The Main Pavilion

When the Elbow Lake property was acquired from its previous owner, we inherited a variety of recreational amenities, including several kilometres of pedestrian trail. Because the mandate of the ELEEC is education, and the surrounding lands are now a nature reserve, only those trails providing interpretive value and showcasing habitat biodiversity were kept for the current trail system.

When you are visiting the ELEEC, please respect that you are on private property being managed for conservation purposes. All users of the Elbow Lake property must register their intent to visit. Advance registration is very important, for many reasons:

  • Ensures no conflict with other bookings to the facility, such as school groups, Eco-Adventure Camp and academic retreats;
  • Helps us monitor trail and property use – e.g., high trail use helps the ELEEC, as a not-for-profit entity, secure funding to maintain our trails and their infrastructure;
  • Provides staff opportunity to communicate trail condition – e.g., where a trail may be temporarily closed due to safety hazards or research activity; and
  • Makes the user aware of trail etiquette and facility rules.

Registration is done by phoning the ELEEC at 613-353-7968 or e-mailing the Manager, ideally 1-2 days in advance of your planned visit.

While outside visitors are welcome to explore the trails, we caution that you do so at your own risk; staff is not responsible for your safety while on the trails as a self-use guest. Trail maintenance is not a priority of the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre. Rather, our trails are intended for staff-led interpretive programming.

Interested in bringing a group on the trails for an interpretive hike or snowshoe? Fees are $9/person for a 2-hour excursion, or $12/person for a full day of staff-led programming.


Regardless of whether you are exploring on your own or participating in one of our programs, we ask that you follow some basic rules:

  • Do not bring vehicles onto the property unless authorized to do so – Hewlett-Packard Lane is a private road, and this is clearly indicated on the main gate.
  • Pets must be leashed while on trails, and owners are responsible for clean-up after them. Pets are not permitted on the beach.
  • Absolutely no entry in any buildings. Self-use visitors must provide their own potable water, First Aid supplies, and are directed to the privy along the Red Trail (trail #1) for washroom needs.
  • Pack-in / pack-out all garbage and other wastes.
  • The Elbow Lake property is a nature reserve – no plant or living creature is to be intentionally disturbed or removed from the property.

Enjoy your visit, and please consider supporting our trails and their upkeep through a donation to the ELEEC.

Media Attention

Our Trails

There are four main trails at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre:

Trail #1

A moderately rugged 2.4 km loop through a variety of habitats, including a bridge over a beaver pond.

Trail #2

A remote, rugged 2.0 km trail encircling a rich wetland.

Trail #3

A rugged 0.6 km (one-way) spur trail to Spectacle Lake. Note that three un-bridged beaver dam crossings may make access difficult.

Trail #4

A gentle 1.4 km loop through deciduous and mixed forest, providing views of adjacent wetland habitat.

Each trail is indicated with coloured markers, and numbers punched on the markers provide the trail number and sequence of travel (e.g., 1-1, 1-2, 1-3...).

Trail Map

Hover over the circles to view more information. If the positions do not load properly refresh the page.

Trail Map

Infrastructure Improvements

Funding toward the new footbridge on the Red Trail was generously provided by the Township of South Frontenac and Frontenac County, and the structure was built courtesy of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network, while educational and interpretive trail enhancements -- including the Elbow Lake Trail Guide app -- were funded by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. 

Planned improvements for fall 2015 include two new bridges on the Orange Trail, funded by Frontenac County and the National Trails Coalition.  We are hoping to round up Elbow Lake volunteers and build these structures in early October.  Interested in helping? Stay tuned!

Footbridge Grand Opening in May 2015
Footbridge Grand Opening in May 2015.

Created August 2014 by P. Crawford.