Distance hiked: 11.1km
Number of hikes: 2
Don’t be fooled by the relatively short distance of this section of the Bruce Trail. The path meanders along several ski hills that involve a lot of highs and lows (literal and figurative). As a reward for your efforts, the trail provides sweeping views of the rolling countryside and the Nottawasaga Bay.
All maps and kilometer references are based on the 27th edition of the Bruce Trail Maps and Trail Guide.
Hike #1 – January 2020
Map #22: 17.2 – 23.2km (distance hiked = 6.0km one-way – maybe about 7.5km roundtrip)
We haven’t had much snow this year. So after a snowstorm on Saturday, the only thing to do was to play outside in it. Or rather, snowshoe outside in it. We drove all the way up to Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area, which spans across 400-acres and offers a number of different trails through hardwood and coniferous forests, open meadows, and along small crevices in cliffs.
We parked at the small parking lot located at the northern entrance of the conservation area. There was a sign indicating that daily parking was $6.50 a day, but the actual machine to purchase the parking ticket was buried underneath a snow bank.
We hiked along a loop, starting first along the Bruce Trail before taking the Betty Carter Side Trail (800m). It was an interesting snowshoeing adventure as the weight of the snow and ice on the trees made for some interesting maneuvering over, under and through tree branches.
It was sometimes unclear where the path continued as many of the blazes were covered in snow. We were also forging a new path for part of the trail so we couldn’t even rely on footprints from other hikers or snowshoers. Either way, it was a lot of fun trailblazing through all the snow.
The Betty Carter Side Trail intersects with the Bruce Trail again. We followed this for a couple of kilometres before reaching the Keyhole Side Trail (740m). This side trail was easily one of the highlights from our hike and is well worth the detour. The path leads through a pass between large rock boulders and features a tight squeeze through a hole in the wall. This was a bit interesting to get through with our snowshoes, but we managed without having to take them off.
The Keyhole Side Trail leads back up with the Bruce Trail, which we followed for another few kilometres before looping back to the parking lot.
Hike #2 –March 2020
Map #21: 0.0 – 5.1km (distance hiked = 5.1 one-way – 10.2km roundtrip)
Things have been a bit chaotic here with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since we would both be cooped up indoors working from home over the next three weeks, we decided to go for a hike. And because there hasn’t been much traffic on the road, we decided to drive further north to the Noisy River Provincial Park, which marks the start of the Blue Mountains section of the Bruce Trail.
We parked on Mulmur-Nottawasaga Townline in front of the cemetery. The first portion of the path is along the road, which eventually leads to the forest. There was a thick layer of snow on the ground, which was a bit surprising considering there is none in Toronto. This made for an interesting challenge on certain sections of the path, but overall, it was quite a pleasant hike. And the weather was fabulous.
The trail weaves through the forest and features cliffs, crevice caves and wetlands.
We turned around when the path meets the road and hiked back the way we came.
Return here for more of our Bruce Trail adventures.