Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: May 2021
Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve is located along the Niagara Escarpment in the town of Mono. It is a non-operating park so there are no visitor facilities or washrooms. However, there are a few hiking trails and countless opportunities to just appreciate nature.
There are a few parking areas that provide access to Hockey Valley, including along the northern entrance on Dunby Road, eastern entrance on 3rd Line EHS and southern entrance on Hockey Road. We parked at the southern entrance which is the most popular area and can accommodate the largest amount of cars. Despite the fact that it was overcast and the weather forecast was calling for rain, there were quite a few cars in the parking lot.
At the parking lot there is a map of all the various trails through the nature reserve. The Bruce Trail cuts through the park and there are four side trails, which form a series of connected loops, creating a few options depending on how long you want to spend hiking. But first we need to get to the trail. From the parking lot we walked a couple hundred metres along the side of Hockey Road, also referred to as the Hockley Valley Side Trail (250m one-way) to get to the Bruce Trail.
We followed the white blazes down the path for a couple hundred metres until we arrived at a junction which provided another official sign of the park and map of the hiking trails. Last summer we hiked along the northern two loops of the trail so for this visit we tackled the remaining loop (4.5km round trip).
We turned left and continued our hike along the larger Bruce Trail, following the white blazes through the forest. It was hot and humid outside, but there was a vigorous breeze that helped cool us down. But there was no keeping us cool for long as the terrain is quite hilly. We followed the path upwards and onwards.
After a steady incline, the trail leads down into the valley. It was especially scenic in the spring as the forest floor was lush and covered in trilliums and other greenery.
As we were appreciating our natural surroundings we stumbled upon something unnatural – an abandoned car on the side of the trail.
Shortly after the trail connects with the Tom East Side Side Trail. From here we followed the blue blazes through the forest. This portion of the trail features more rolling hills. It started to lightly rain, which was most welcome as it felt refreshing.
The trail connects back to the Bruce Trail and leads to the road. From here it’s a short stretch back to the parking lot. Usually I’m not a fan of hiking in the rain. But in this case, it was most welcome as it was hot and humid outside.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here