“Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world, taking the midnight train going anywhere” – Journey.
I wish this was me, but unfortunately the only place I’m taking the train to is to work every day. And it’s not in a small town. It’s in the vast jungle of concrete, known as the city. And honestly, I don’t even take the train to work. I drive 3 minutes down the road.
Raised in a small town on Lake Huron, with a population of 6,000, I enjoyed the fresh air, as well as nature’s beauty, and the slower pace of small town living. Unfortunately when I was younger, I took this treasure for granted, not knowing that I would spend the next 41 years (and counting) living in the fast lane of the city life.
The older I get, the more I yearn for the simpler and slower (much slower) days of small town living. When I retire in a couple of years, I fully plan on returning to my roots, but for now I find ways to escape the blazing hot concrete and get my nature escape as often as I can.
Related: The Skinny on Forest Bathing
VALENS CONSERVATION AREA
When I find myself needing to unwind and escape the city life into the great outdoors, I make my way to Valens Conservation Area. It is a quick half hour drive from my home and is the perfect place to escape the city and to enjoy nature, and to just simply unwind.
The 300 hectare is an outdoor paradise located in Flamborough, Ontario. It is the perfect spot for any city slicker to escape to the great outdoors. There are an abundance of year-round activities for the entire family, as well as for the solo adventurer needing to seek peace and solitude outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. Valens is the perfect place for a nature escape!
Nature Escape During Summer Months
During the summer months, Valens Conservation Area offers an abundance of outdoor adventures. Be sure to bring the essentials when you escape into nature for a day.
So that you don’t forget to bring anything, get your free Camping Checklist
Swimming is available in the natural swimming area. This beach offers a combination of sand and grass area to park your butt for the day. The grass area provides shade under the numerous trees and is a fantastic place for a picnic without having to drag the kiddies from the beach. Forgot your picnic? Not a problem. A food truck offering cold beverages and snacks is available on site in the beach area. The swimming area is safe for the entire family, but it is not patrolled, so parents, please be sure to keep an eye on your little ones.
There are over 1,000 picnic tables scattered throughout the park and are available on a first come first serve basis. There are also a limited number of grills available for public use. If you have a large group, call ahead to reserve your spot. There is one pavilion available for rent, which will seat up to 120 people at a cost of $265.00. Contact Valens to obtain more rental information.
For the fisherman, there is an abundance of fishing available, either by boat or from one of the docks scattered throughout the reservoir. Northern pike and largemouth bass are just some of the fish that are native to the waters at Valens Conservation Area. It is important to note that Valens is a fish sanctuary and fishing is not allowed from April 1st to the fourth Saturday in June. Be sure not to miss the annual John Burns Memorial Fishing Derby which takes place the second Saturday in July. Prizes are to be had by the junior fisherman, as well as the more serious angler.
Boat rentals are available on site. Either rent a canoe, kayak, row boat or paddle board for a half day or a full day. Better yet, it you have your own bring it along. It is important to note that Valens is a conservation area and motors are not permitted on the lake.
For the avid hiker, Valens offers over 10 km. of trails, as well as a 300 meter boardwalk over the wetlands. The terrain is easy and is easily navigated by the younger hiker, as well as those wishing to take a leisurely bike ride.
The main attraction to this outdoor mecca is the camping. Valens consists of 225 sites, 125 of which have electrical and water hook-up available. There are also 9 group areas, as well as walk-in camping. For the camper who truly wishes to escape the city into nature, a radio free zone is also provided. I have to admit, that this is my favorite part of the campground. The sites are large, as well as private and shaded by the large number of trees. Be sure to check the rules and regulations before reserving your spot for your quick getaway.
Nature Escape During Winter Months
If you are looking for a quick escape from the city during the winter months, you are in luck! Valens also offers plenty of winter activities as long as you are prepared to brave the cold.
The trails remain open during the winter and offer an easy terrain which is great for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, or simply taking in the beauty and enjoying the peace and quiet of winter.
Just because summer is over, does not mean that camping has come to an end. Off-season camping is available at Valens Conservation Area from Thanksgiving weekend until the May long weekend. Reservations are not required during this time, however it is important to note that there is no running water available during the off-season.
- Address: 1691 Regional Road 97, Flamborough, Ontario
- Phone: 905-525-2183
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://conservationhamilton.ca/valens-lake
- Open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset
It’s Time for a Nature Escape
Whether you are a small town person, or a small town person at heart, it is always time to escape the city life and become one with nature.
I discovered my little slice of heaven in the midst of a sea of concrete over 30 years ago. I have continued to seek refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life every since. I will continue to escape into nature as often as I can, until such time as I am lucky enough to move home.
Have you found your your little slice of heaven for your nature escape? Where do you go to get away from it all?
SEE YOU ON THE TRAILS!