Follow the trail where miners once sought the fireproof leaf-like mica mineral for woodstove windows of yesterday
If you were to stand on the Mine Loop trail at Gould Lake Conservation Area over 100 years ago, there may have been over 30 miners blasting away bedrock 100 feet below you, searching for the valuable silicate mineral, mica. So, what exactly is mica? Mica is a shiny silicate mineral found in crystals or in sheets of thin, almost transparent layers. Mica is mined for a variety of uses including thermal glass for lanterns, electrical insulators and more recently for cosmetics.
Eastern Ontario was once one of the mica mining capitals of the world and, between 1870 and 1910, Gould Lake played a major role as a centre for mining. The mining days are long gone but the area is now highlighted for it’s natural beauty and diversity. Between 1967 and 1972, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority bought 589 hectares from private owners and Loughborough Township and opened the area as the Gould Lake Conservation Area. Located along the southern fringe of the Canadian Shield, Gould Lake and the surrounding lands are not only important for water management reasons, they also provide excellent wildlife habitat and rich biodiversity, and offer many opportunities for nature appreciation and recreation in all seasons. Lying within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest region, the area supports a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, beaver, coyotes, and a variety of provincially significant birds. Trees of the woodland include eastern hemlock, pines, maple, and oaks.
Come out and catch a glimpse of local mining history. Remains of many small mines can be found in several locations on the property. Mica minerals can still be seen sparkling in the rock faces or along the trails edge!
Amazing Places, Amazing People
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Plan Your Visit
Explore the amazing place with help from local businesses.
How to get to the Mine Loop Trail
Driving: Gould Lake Conservation Area is located 5km north of the village of Sydenham. The entrance to the conservation area is on Gould Lake Road. The Mine Loop Trail can be accessed from the Rideau Loop, to the west side of the main parking area.
Paddling: Gould Lake is a nice, easy day paddle. The lake itself is 3.5km long. There are 2 paddling docks on the lake, one of which is near the main parking area. Click here for more information on dock locations and boat rental.
Cycling: Click here for a cycle route that travels near Gould Lake Conservation Area. The route starts and ends in Sydenham, but a quick detour off of the route to explore the Mine Loop Trail makes for an exciting and active day!
How to explore the Mine Loop Trail
The Mine Loop trail is just one of the many amazing places you can visit in the Gould Lake Conservation. The Mine Loop Trail is a side loop off of the Rideau Trail, to the northwest of the main parking area. At the northernmost point of the Mine Loop Trail, a short detour on the Point Spur Trail leads to a beautiful lookout of Gould Lake. The Rideau Trail Association (RTA) does most of the trail maintenance and trail development at Gould Lake. Orange triangles mark the main Rideau Trail while blue triangles mark the side loops. Trails are open but not groomed for cross-country skiing during the winter months, so be prepared to break your own trail!
Gould Lake Conservation Area has a daily entry fee
Washrooms (See map for washrooms on park property)
Canoe & Kayak Rentals