Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: May 2021
Duncan Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve is located just west of Collingwood along the Niagara Escarpment. Due to seasonal extremes in temperatures and the forces of gravity, large boulders have broken off from the main face of the Niagara Escarpment, creating a series of crevice caves. While Duncan Escarpment is a non-operating park, the Bruce Trail runs through here and features a few trails for hiking.
We spent the May long weekend in Collingwood visiting P & K in their new house. On the drive back to Toronto we figured we’d stop at Duncan Escarpment to go for a hike since it’s in the area. And it was a beautiful day outside. We parked at the entrance along 9th Sideroad. There’s a small parking lot, but most people just park along the shoulder of the road. I guess at some point the name of this nature reserve changed as the park sign read Duncan Crevice Caves instead.
From the entrance we followed the white blazes along the Bruce Trail through the forest. After 700m the trail leads to an open field and reaches a junction. We planned to hike a 9.7km loop through the nature reserve so it didn’t really matter which way we went. We turned right and continued along the Bruce Trail as there was another pair of hikers that went straight along the Chuck Grant Side Trail. We’d rather hike alone.
From the open field the trail winds back into the forest and along the edge of the Escarpment. There are a few scenic lookouts from the trail that provide nice views of the surrounding area.
The trail leads to Pinnacle Rock, a tall pillar of rock that broke off from the main face of the Escarpment.
From this point the path gets progressively more rugged and rocky. We followed the white blazes down the side of the Escarpment and into the valley below. The path then crosses Mill Creek before leading back up the Escarpment towards Metcalfe Rock in the Kalapore Uplands. There are a few other interconnected trails here, so we made sure to stay on the path marked with the white blazes.
The Bruce Trail meets back up with the Chuck Grant Side Trail (3.4km one-way). We turned off at the sign for the side trail and followed the blue blazes through the forest and down the Escarpment, scrambling down and around large boulders. There’s even a ladder at one point to help climb out of the rocky gorge.
The path crosses back over Mill Creek and from here it’s a short stretch back to the main trail and parking area.
Overall it took us about 3 hours to complete the hike. It felt good to be out on the trail even though we were a bit tired from spending the long weekend at P & K’s.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here