simcoe county

Scout Valley in Orillia

It’s official – we’ve moved to Orillia! 

We weren’t loving the city life, and wanted to move somewhere closer to nature and outdoor activities. The traffic, commuting times, and lack of green space was getting to be exhausting. Aside from a few hiking spots within Mississauga, we found we had to drive outside of city limits to really explore nature.

We’ve been visiting Orillia for years now, either driving on our way camping up north or visting family, or visiting a close friend that lives near. We love it here so far and are so happy to have moved.

Scout Valley is a 230 acre conservation area owned by Orillia (and is only a 3 minute drive from our new place)! The region is located between Highway 11, Old Barrie Road East, and Line 15 North. There are free parking lots off Old Barrie Road East, Line 15 North, or at Forest Home Park, with bathrooms at Line 15 North. There are 3 trails: Algonquin, Sugarbush, and Homestead.

The photos here are from our trip on a warm Sunday afternoon in May of 2023, parking on the lot off Line 15 North and walking the loop of Sugarbush trail, down to the stream valley, and back up Sugarbush trail. The terrain of this trip was relatively even, and the trail was a footpath with a stretch of a few mossy rocks along the trail.

It was decently busy, and we came across a few groups of people along the hike (which can be expected for a warm Sunday afternoon in May). We could also hear the cars off Highway 11 when closer to the south eastern end of the trails. There was plenty of bird activity and regular chickadee calls. We heard a Pileated Woodpecker (but didn’t spot it or manage to get a photo).

We visited in April as well and hiked along Algonquin trail (not photographed here), and the terrain here was steeper. This is because the trail crosses through what once was the shoreline of ancient Algonquin Lake. Over 12,000 years ago, glaciers that covered North America retreated, with meltwater creating the ancient Lake Algonquin. Both Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching are remnants of what was once Lake Algonquin. 

Another cool feature is beside the parking lot off Line 15 North – the Regan House. Originally built in 1832, the house was reconstructed after being relocated from what is now Shoppers Drug Mart off Westmount Drive. Patrick and Catherine Regan, Irish Catholic immigrants, arrived in Orillia and bought the farm in 1845. The family went on to raise 9 children in the log home.

We’ll absolutely be returning often, as Scout Valley is so close to our home.

Have you visited Scout Valley? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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Spruce Bog Boardwalk at Algonquin Provincial Park

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Lookout Point Trail at Algonquin Provincial Park

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Scenery at Meadowvale Conservation Area 

Meadowvale Conservation Area is a lovely park with expansive fields, plenty of amenities, and scenic views of the Credit River. The park is within Mississauga, and is nestled within the suburbs of Meadowvale. There is a large parking lot at the end of Second Line West, with plenty of space available when we visited on a…


  1. How exciting that you’ll be moving to Orillia. I hear yah on the traffic situation and wanting to be closer to more green spaces. That’s pretty much why we left Toronto a couple of years ago. I don’t really miss the city life (except when I have to commute into Toronto every so often). I like that you already have familarized yourself with some of the conservation areas in Orillia. Best of luck with the move.


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