Distance hiked: 10.7km
Location: Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve, Ontario
Date: May 31, 2020
We initially planned to spend the weekend up at the cabin, but due to a mosquito apocalypse, we came home a day earlier. Since we had no plans for Sunday (and let’s be real, any other day of the week because of the pandemic), we decided to go for a hike through the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve.
Since Hockley Valley is designated as a nature reserve, the only permitted activities in the park are hiking, so we figured the trails in the area would be great.
We parked at the northern part of Hockley Valley at a small parking lot on Dunby Road. The first part of the hike was along the Bruce Trail. The path leads through an open meadow and passes a reforestation project along the way to the northern entrance of the nature reserve.
Once we entered the nature reserve the path leads through a dense forest, opening up into a meadow. We turned off at the Cam Snell Side Trail (2.2km), which leads through more open fields and meadows and around two ponds before entering back into the woodlands.
The path loops back to the main trail. We followed this for a few hundred metres before making another detour at the Glen Cross Side Trail (1.4km). We followed the side trail through the forest, down into the valley and then back up again with lots of other rolling hills in-between.
The Glen Cross Side Trail meets up with the Isabel East Side Trail (1.9km) to form a loop back to the main trail. Even though this section involved more rolling hills, it was probably the most scenic trail in Hockley Valley. The path leads through a wooded area down into the valley and crosses two shallow streams. It also passes through another open field before continuing through the forest to rejoin the main trail.
The nice views along the way help distract from all the steps up and down. There’s a ski resort located nearby, so that should give some indication of the change in elevation.
Once we rejoined the main trail, we followed the white blazes north. We passed through the reforestation area out into the open fields. From here it was a relatively short hike back to the car.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here