Distance hiked: 72.3km
Number of hikes: 5
The Caledon club generally holds their annual End-to-Ends hike over two or three days during the Thanksgiving long weekend. In October 2014 we decided to participate in the three-day event. Except by the time we signed up it was fully booked. But, there was still some availability for the two-day event. Perhaps rather foolishly we signed up with the more intense hikers to cover 72.3km over the course of two days. But at the end of it all we received our badge so I guess it was worth the pain.
All maps and kilometre references are based on the 27th edition of the Bruce Trail Maps and Trail Guide.
Hike #1 – October 2014
Map #17, #18, and #19: 33.8 – 72.3km (distance hiked = 38.5km one-way)
We signed up for the End-to-Ends two day event. The first day covered (a whopping) 38.5km, which would be the most we’ve ever hiked in a single day (let alone over a number of consecutive days). We may have been entirely out of our league here. We met on the corner of Innis Lake Road and Finnerty Sideroad at 8a.m and boarded the yellow school bus that shuttled us to the end of the Caledon section of the Bruce Trail. And at first we were feeling pretty optimistic. We were clearly the youngest people on the bus by at least two or even three decades. There was even someone there with a cane. How hard could it be?
The shuttle bus dropped us off at the end of the Caledon section just south of the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park shortly after 8:30a.m. The first couple kilometres of the trail is along the side of the road. This provided ample opportunity for hikers to strategically align themselves based on pace. Often when the path is narrow it can be a struggle to bypass slower hikers. Especially when there is a large quantity of hikers who start all at once. So we were grateful for the room to manoeuvre around the slower hikers.
Some of our favourite sections along this part of the trail were through the Hockley Valley Nature Reserve and Glen Hafty Conservation Area.
It took us just over 9 gruelling long hours of hiking to make it to the final check-in station located where we parked our car. But despite all our complaining this still remains one of our most memorable days of hiking. We just need to make it through one more day to earn our badge.
Hike #2 – October 2014
Map #16, #15, and #14: 33.8 – 0.0km (distance hiked = 33.8km one-way)
We woke up this morning feeling tired and sore. K contemplated staying home, but in the end he decided to finish what we started. We met on the corner of Innis Lake Road and Finnerty Sideroad at 8a.m again, but this time the bus shuttled us to the start of the Caledon section.
Within the first kilometres on the trail it became clear K was in pretty rough shape and wasn’t in the greatest of moods. We discussed the possibility of dropping out at the first checkpoint, but I was much too stubborn to give up. Let’s just say K and I weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on the situation, and we ended up hiking at our own pace, which was probably for the best.
Some notable highlights along the hike were passing through the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park and Terra Cotta Conservation Area
In total 34 participants signed up for the two-day event. Half a dozen dropped out at various checkpoints along the way on the first day. And another half a dozen, while finishing the 38.5km hike, decided to not come back for round two. 21 participants returned for Sunday’s hike, but one person dropped out along the way. In the end only 20 people completed all 72.3km over two days. And we were two of those people.
As a reward for completing the End-to-Ends, we received a badge. And because the Caledon club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, we received a special badge to mark the occasion.
Hike #3 – April 2020
Map #15: 18.3 – 14.1km (distance hiked = 4.2km one-way – 8.4km roundtrip)
We haven’t really left our apartment much over these past few weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the weather was nice, we decided to go for a hike along the Bruce Trail to get some fresh air and exercise. Even though we’ve completed the entire Caledon section of the Bruce Trail, we decided to return here as it is relatively close to where we live and it’s very scenic.
We initially planned to hike through the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, but the main entrance was closed. Instead, we parked a couple blocks away at a different access point along the Bruce Trail. The first stretch of the path was through the forest and involved a lot of hiking up and down rolling hills. Either it was quite the cardio challenge or we were just really out of shape. The path then leads to a road, which we followed for another kilometre or so until we reached the boundary for the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. We kept hiking along the path as there was no signage to indicate that the trail was temporarily closed.
We turned around at the Meadow Trail and hiked back the way that we came.
Hike #4 – May 2020
Map #15: 15.7 – 10.0km (distance hiked = 5.7km one-way – 7.5km roundtrip)
A month later we came back to the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park as the weather was nicer and and provincial parks in Ontario have officially reopened. However, the nice weather tends to bring out the crowds. Especially on the trails as they are one of the few things open these days.
We arrived at the Forks of the Credit a bit before 9a.m and the main parking lot was already full. Instead we parked in the additional parking section. From the main park entrance, we first hiked along the Meadow Trail, which as the name suggests, winds through an open meadow with rolling hills, passing by Kettle Lake. The landscape in this park are the massive deposits and depressions left behind by glaciers from many thousands of years ago.
The Meadow Trail ends at a junction. We hiked along the Bruce Trail and followed the signs down into the valley for the waterfall. At the bottom of the valley, the main trail splits off into a few side trails. We hiked along the Cataract Side Trail (1.1km one-way), which follows the rim of the gorge to a view of the Cataract Falls. Back in the day, this used to be an industrial waterfall. It is now surrounded by concrete ruins. There is a viewing platform closer to the falls, but it was closed off due to erosion.
We turned around at the end of the trail and walked back to the junction. This time we veered right and continued along the Bruce Trail, away from the crowded waterfall. From the open meadow, the path leads into the shaded forest, providing some relief from the sweltering sun.
We followed the white blazes along the main trail to the south eastern edge of the park. We turned off at the Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail (440m) and followed the side trail up the steep wall of the valley.
The side trail connects back to the Bruce Trail. We followed the path along the rim of the valley back up to the open meadow. We took the Trans Canada Trail back up the parking lot. By the time we returned to the car, both parking lots were completely full and the side of the road was lined with cars. We were eager to get back into our car and back home.
Hike #5 – June 2020
Map #18: 67.4 – 64.1km (distance hiked = 3.3km one-way – 10.7km roundtrip)
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.
We parked at the northern part of the nature reserve 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 Hockley Valley.
Once we entered the nature reserve, the path lads through a dense forest, opening up into a meadow. We turned off at the Can 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 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, which 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.
Once we rejoined the main trail, we followed the white blazes north back to the parking lot.
Return here for more of our Bruce Trail adventures.