Griffith Uplands Trail

We’ve been wanting to explore the Griffith Uplands Trail ever since it opened in 2010 as a hiking and snowshoe trail. As the name implies, it travels through the Griffith Uplands, an ANSI, or Area of Natural and Scientific Interest. Seeing the elevation profile in the region and the rugged terrain really pulled us in to take a day on the long weekend to make the 90 min drive north. We were not disappointed.

The trailhead is located just past the Madawaska River at the small town of Griffith. Traveling north on Highway 41, take a left on Hyland Creek Road immediately after passing the bridge, and just a few kilometres (2.2km) on the right you will see the well-marked trailhead. A large sign and map are in the ample parking lot. We were a little concerned when beginning the run as the trail overgrowth on the first kilometer was quite thick. Once crossing a snowmobile trail intersection, the trail improved significantly and was good for the remainder of the loop.

We were surprised with how long and steep some of the climbs were. Once we reached the top of the first climb up Lake Mountain we were treated to incredible views of the of the Madawaska River, Jocko Lake and other mountains below. While calling them ‘mountains’ might be a bit generous, that is what they were referred to and certainly some of the biggest hills/mountains in the area. The terrain reminded us a lot of Vermont.

The trail was well marked with blue blazes and easy to follow. We went off trail shortly a couple of times, but quickly realized our mistakes and got back on track within a few minutes. It meandered up and down, and also through thick stands of pine and oak trees. In abundance were wild sunflowers on the forest floors, as well as very large mushrooms in the darker, moister areas.

The beautiful ridge running sections of flat rock extended for long periods and provided good footing with more great views as it skirted along Buck Mountain and then turned back past the half way point to rise up again along Spring Mountain. Up on these higher, more exposed ridges the trees give way to lower shrubs. In fact, the highlight of the run occurred when we ran through a very large patch of wild blueberries that as luck would have it