durham

Heber Down Conservation Area in Whitby

Heber Down Conservation Area is located in Whitby, and is owned by Central Lake Ontario Conservation. The area features 687 acres and three trail loops altogether over 5 kilometres. In exploring, you will come across forest, meadow, and wetlands.

Devil’s Den Trail

We started our journey from the main parking lot off Lyndebrook Road. There is a large parking lot at the main entrance with pay-and-display parking (cost is $6 per day or $75 for a year membership; only Visa/MasterCard accepted). This entrance connects directly with Devil’s Den Trail.

Main parking lot located off Lyndebrook Road in Whitby, Ontario.
Bridge on Devil’s Den trail, the streams are a part of the Lynde Creek drainage basin.

The trail itself alternates between concrete, dirt, and gravel. The terrain is evenly sloped, with a main elevation change splitting between the Devil’s Den trail. From the parking lot, we followed Devil’s Den trail along the creek towards Devil’s Den Pond.

Bench to sit and overlook drainage from Lynde Creek.
Bridge to the Devil’s Den Pond.

Devil’s Den Pond itself is roughly 100 metres in length, and is quite scenic. There is a lookout point with a small observation deck with a clear view of the pond.

Devil’s Den Pond.
Devil’s Den Pond.
The eastern side of Devil’s Den trail.
Devil’s Den trail.

Railway Trail

Railway trail features both forest and an open meadow with overhead power lines. The trail itself is gravel in the forest areas, and dirt near the power lines. The terrain is fairly even, and makes for a nice light walk.

Sign posts appear frequently throughout the trails.
Overhead power lines above Railway Trail.

Wildlife

We visited around 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM on a Tuesday in April, and with spring coming, there was a lot of bird activity at this time. We also spotted a few chipmunks scurrying across the trails.

Not the best photo – but you can see a female and male Northern Cardinal hanging out!
Vulture soaring above the trail.
Vulture soaring above the trail.

History

The area was previously partly farm land, and was purchased from Heber Down in 1967 by Central Lake Ontario Conservation. The area known as Devil’s Den received its name from rumours of horse-thieving in the area.

See the large cement structure to the left? These were constructed by the Canadian Northern Railway. The railway would provide passenger service between Toronto and Trenton, but the project ended in 1936.

Have you visited Heber Downs Conservation? What was your experience? Let us know in the comment section below!


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