The Barnes Lake Trails are horse-and-hiker trails in Barnhartvale (more information). We enjoy hiking the trail system in spring and fall. The eastern end is open grasslands and the upper western-southern end is forested. In mid-March the upper trails were still covered in snow (and ice) so we improvised a loop in the open areas for a 7 km route. We started at Barnhartvale Hall since we had a meeting there afterward, but our usual starting point is at the Gardiner Road trailhead. The traverse under the slope was ice and muddy so on the way back we went out to Gardiner Road instead, walking back to where we parked.
The grasslands hills section was mostly mud and ice free so we followed Trail #1 – The Bunchgrass Trail up to the edge of the forest, then we went on a side route along Trail #2 (Over the Top Trail).
There are a number of snags along the Bunchgrass Trail.
The first buttercups were out in the grasslands.
The trail goes past Kildeer Pond at the edge of the snowy forest.
The trail then takes a sharp turn and heads back toward Barnhartvale Road, going over the shoulder of the hill overlooking the trailhead, meeting Trail #1. In the main season of hiking we include all of the upper trails in a larger loop of both forest and grasslands. This is a very nice area for hiking through 3 seasons so we will be back in the fall for a 10 km hike.