Hamilton residents will be lacing up their skates this weekend to glide around a narrow loop surrounded by pine and spruce trees that the Hamilton Conservation Authority has transformed into a new winter skating trail.
Staff converted a campground road into a 425-meter ice skating path located along the cedar loop campground at Valens Lake Conservation Area's campground.
This new space for skating is the second new outdoor skating facility to open in the city this winter. It follows the opening of a new skating loop at Waterdown Rotary Memorial Park.
Cameron Clark came out two days early to try out the Valens forest loop after he heard about the new trail.
"It's kind of like walking through the woods, but you get to skate at the same time," said Clark after stepping on the ice.
But the scenery isn't the only thing that appeals to Clark, the trail's proximity to Ancaster, Ont. where he lives is also key.
"It's like you've drove three hours north, but you're really right here in the greater Hamilton area," said Gord Costie, director of conservation areas services at Hamilton Conservation Authority.
The new ice skating trail offers Hamilton residents an alternative right in their backyard, as opposed to making a snowy three hour drive to Huntsville, Ont. There's an ice skating trail in Arrowhead Provincial Park there that has proven very popular, Costie adds.
Valens Lake Conservation Area's skating trail opens Saturday at 9 a.m. and will remain open until February.
The entrance fee is $10 per vehicle or admission is free for skaters with a Hamilton Conservation Authority membership pass.