South Huron Trail
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) properties, including conservation areas and trails, are open for public use.
For a list of permitted uses click on ‘Permitted Uses’ at the link below:
Ausable Bayfield Conservation has nine conservation areas where you can enjoy nature and stay active and learn about how to protect soil, water, and living things.
These areas have trails and parking lots. Some have privies. They are open year-round but there is no winter maintenance and most parking lots are not maintained in the winter
To learn more about conservation areas and plan your next visit, please click:
The ABCA owns thousands of acres of environmentally significant lands which are mostly forested. There is no formal trail system but people are welcome to visit for nature appreciation.
For information on all conservation lands (including conservation areas) visit:
For current property status and updates please visit this web page:
Linking trails, communities, and people
The scenic, multi-use South Huron Trail is an eight-kilometre trail with two sections, one in rural South Huron and the other with an urban trailhead in Exeter, Ontario:
For the map of the South Huron Trail please download the print-to-letter-size version of the trail brochure:
- South Huron Trail Brochure (Revised January 2020 to include Jones Bridge) – 1 MB – Large PDF file
The South Huron Trail is an eight-kilometre, all-season trail that winds through the scenic Ausable River Valley. This accessible trail links MacNaughton Park in Exeter, Ontario and Morrison Dam Conservation Area (MDCA), at 71108 Morrison Line, just two kilometres (km) east of Exeter.
The South Huron Trail combines the MacNaughton-Morrison and MDCA trail sections. Thanks to trail loops of different lengths (2 km, 4 km, or 8 km), you can spend 20 minutes or two hours enjoying nature.
The South Huron Trail trail is supported by volunteers through Friends of the South Huron Trail and through community donations through such efforts as the Conservation Dinner of the Exeter Lions Club and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.
To find out how you can support this trail as a volunteer or donor contact Tim Cumming at Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail info(at)abca.ca
Friends of the South Huron Trail
The Friends of the South Huron Trail was formed on Monday, November 14, 2005.
The new Friends group has carried on some of the work previously done by Friends of the Morrison, formed in 1998.
The Friends of the South Huron Trail is a volunteer group that organizes cleanup days, work parties, and events, fundraises for the trail, and provides volunteer support that increase opportunities for people with limited mobility to experience nature on the trail. The group helps to educate the public about the important role all users of the trail have in being responsible trail users, keeping dogs on leashes, and keeping the trail clean.
Trail benefits people, economy
Locals, tourists alike enjoy serenity, health benefits of trails
Trail users say they are spending money at local businesses, dining, shopping
A survey of people who use the MacNaughton-Morrison and Morrison Dam sections of the South Huron Trail finds that trail lovers are coming from local areas as well as from outside the area. The survey finds that people enjoy the peacefulness of the trail as well as the health benefits it brings.
The survey was done in person, with trail users, by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) summer student Lana Shapton. She interviewed people who were using the trail (walking, running, fishing, cycling, or using assistive devices). She asked them their home town, how often they use the trail, why they use the trail, and their comments and suggestions.
Shapton, of the Exeter area, said the survey was done during the month of July. People said they liked the personal enjoyment they get from the trail, the health and exercise benefits, the convenience of the trail, the fact it is accessible, and the beauty of the natural surroundings.
“People used words like gorgeous, quiet, and peaceful to describe the trail,” Shapton said. “They love to see the different species of plants as well as birds and other animals.”
Survey respondents also said they enjoy signs that identify tree species, the shingles on the bridge to provide better grip, the fact the trail is well-maintained and safe, and the fact it provides a way to bicycle into Exeter without being on a roadway. They also liked the activities the trail offered (such as fishing or hiking) and areas where children can learn and play.
The survey also revealed economic spin-offs of the trail. Most of the trail users were from the Exeter area but many were visitors to the area. Shapton said the trail has not only health and nature benefits but economic benefits as well. “I talked to people from London and other communities who come to the Exeter area regularly for day trips including visits to the South Huron Trail as well as shopping and dining,” she said. “I have received some great positive comments about the trail.”
Fifteen Years of the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail
In 2019, we celebrated fifteen years of the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail. This beautiful trail is a community success story as it has been created thanks to the vision, commitment, and generosity of local landowners, service organizations, donors, and people from the community.
The year 2019 marked 15 years since the watershed community completed construction on the MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail, a trail that links an urban community directly with nature, with accessibility and offering social, recreational, health, environmental, and economic benefits to the community.
For permitted (and prohibited) uses, please visit the 'Permitted Uses' web page at this link: