Metcalfe Rock is another highlight along the Bruce Trail. There is a short hike that will take you on a loop from the base of Metcalfe Rock to the top of the escarpment, along the top and then back down again to the 10th line. This short loop will take about 30 minutes and will involve some scrambling over rocks, but the path is well marked. Walk back along the 10th line to your car.
Or, you can continue across the 10th line and follow the trail into the Duncan Caves Nature Reserve. This longer hike is 8km in total and will take about 3 hrs to return you to your car. You will pass through dense forest and interesting rock crevices as well as fine viewpoints of the Kolapore Creek Valley.
If you'd like to try Rock climbing, contact Free Spirit Tours in Heathcote. They will organize full or half day Rock climbing instruction at Metcalfe Rock for people of all ages and abilities.
You may visit Hoggs Falls as part of the Grey County waterfall tour, and if you do, you may want to take an extra 30 minutes or so to stretch your legs and enjoy an easy walk through the surrounding deciduous forest.
There is one hike starting here that will take you all the way to nearby Eugenia Falls, another is a long loop back to Hoggs Falls and the third is the short loop back to Hoggs Falls. I have done the short loop, it was quite easy and only took about 30 minutes. You will be walking mostly through dense forest with the exception of one open clearing where you can feel the sun shine and admire the fall colours from a distance.
This is another easily accessible and popular section of the Bruce Trail. It is an easy hike along the top of the escarpment with fantastic views looking north over the Blue Mountain ski hills to Collingwood and beyond to Georgian Bay. On the day we hiked Georgian Bay had taken on a surreal, turquoise colour, reminding us of the carribean. You can walk for as long as you like, and then turn around and retrace your steps back to the parking area, I promise the view always looks different on the way back. We walked for about 2 hours in total.
The Beaver River is described as a gently flowing river, perfect for novice paddlers. You will enjoy panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside as well as travel through heavily wooded areas. The river meanders around countless bends, making you always wonder what's around the next corner. We paddled 10 km from Epping to Heathcote and saw the Great Snowy Egret, cormorants, ducks and either an otter or small muskrat swimming in the water. We also saw several beaver lodges for whom the river is named but no beaver.
I will include more photos from our kayaking trip in a travelogue.
Equipment: We rented our kayaks from Free Spirit Tours in Heathcote for $35 each. They drove us from Heathcote upriver to Epping where we received some kayaking instructions and then we were launched into the river for our 2 hr paddle downstream back to the Free Spirit property in Heathcote. You can also rent canoes here and you can be dropped off in Kimberly instead of Epping which is 25 kms upstream, that paddle will take about 4 hrs back to Heathcote and costs twice as much.
So far, this is my favorite hike in Grey County. It takes you through a sunny meadow into a tall birch forest and then to the edge of the Niagara escarpment with stunning views of the Beaver Valley. We made the hike in May when the spring flowers were in bloom. We plan to return again in October to see the brilliant fall colours.
This hike is just a very small portion of the Bruce Trail. It is only 0.8 kms from the parking lot to the viewpoints. Here you can grab a rock to sit on and enjoy the view. You will also most certainly see turkey vultures soaring right in front of you. You may also encounter rock climbers as they make their way up the escarpment face. To see more views from the hike and find out how Old Baldy got it's name, check out my travelogue.
This is one section of the 850 km long Bruce Trail that is well worth visiting. The path crosses a small picturesque stream several times uphill to the highest point on the Bruce Trail. You will feel a sense of accomplishment as you reach this point, but you will not be rewarded with a fine view. The trail remains in the forest and the spot is marked by a sign on a tree, that indicates that you are now 540 m above sea level. We hiked through dense forest of tall maple trees above our heads and a thick carpet of trillium at our feet for most of the 6km hike.
To get to the trailhead from Collingwood, take the Mountain Side Rd west to 10th line and turn left. Drive south to 33-34 side road and turn right. Drive west until you pass the Collingwood Nottaswaga Townline, 500 m past this you will see a parking lot on your left. Park here and then walk westward about 400m until you notice a small clearing on your right and a Bruce Trail sign. Your hike begins here.