Distance hiked: 39.2km
Number of hikes: 8
The Dufferin Hi-Land section spans from Mono Cliffs Provincial Park to just south of the Noisy River Provincial Park. It is the second shortest section of the Bruce Trail. As an added bonus, it is just far enough away from the Greater Toronto Area where you won’t encounter nearly as heavy traffic along the trails.
All maps and kilometer references are based on the 27th edition of the Bruce Trail Maps and Trail Guide.
Hike #1 – July 2015
Map #19: 0.0 – 6.6km (distance hiked = 6.6km one-way – maybe about 10km roundtrip)
The Dufferin Hi-Land section starts out at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, which is probably the most popular area of this section. We parked along the southern tip of the park along the side of 3rd Line EHS. There are a variety of well maintained trails that weave through the dense forest and provide commanding views from the top of a cliff. But we stuck exclusively to the Bruce Trail. The beginning part of the trail isn’t as widely used but once we hiked more towards the heart of the park the trail opens up quite a bit and is very well-groomed. We hiked up to the 6.6km mark and took the McCarston’s Lake Side Trail back, effectively shaving over 2km off from our return journey.
Hike #2 – November 2015
Map #19: 10.0 – 6.6km (distance hiked = 3.4km one-way – 6.8km roundtrip)
On our way up to Owen Sound to visit M & J we squeezed in a hike since it was (kind of) along the way. Either way, it was a nice way to stretch our legs midway through the drive. We parked along the 1st Line EHS just north of 25 Sideroad and finished up the remainder of the Bruce Trail that cuts through Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. We hiked up to the trailhead for McCarston’s Lake Side Trail (6.6km) before heading back.
Hike #3 – October 2016
Map #20: 15.2 – 20.6km (distance hiked = 5.4km one-way – maybe about 9.5km roundtrip)
This has probably been one of our most enjoyable hikes along the Bruce Trail and our favourite along the Dufferin Hi-Land section. Fall was in full swing. The leaves had changed and were starting to fall from the trees blanketing the path with a fresh layer of crisp leaves. And we had the trail all to ourselves. We parked at the intersection of Highway 89 and Centre Road. There is a small area for roadside parking along the north shoulder of Highway 89. From there we worked our way up northwards into the heart of Boyne Valley Provincial Park.
We hiked up until we reached 1st Line E at the northeastern tip of Boyne Valley. On our return journey we cut across the Boyne Valley Side Trail. It wasn’t much of a detour – maybe cut off about a few hundred meters or so, but it was nice to walk along a different section to explore more of this underrated provincial park.
Hike #4– April 2017
Map #20: 26.9 – 20.6km (distance hiked = 6.3km one-way – maybe about 10km roundtrip)
We parked along the side of 2nd Line E at the trailhead for 2nd Line ECL Side Trail. We hiked along the side trail briefly for 150m until we met up with Bruce Trail. This section of the trail meanders through a wooded area to a series of open fields. We turned it around once the trail intersects with 1st Line E (the entrance into Boyne Valley Provincial Park). On our return journey home we shaved off a couple of kilometres by just walking along 2nd Line E back to our car.
It was a wonderful hike for a classic spring day.
Hike #5– December 2017
Map #20: 25.5 – 29.2km* (distance hiked = maybe around 3.0 km one-way – and about 5.0km roundtrip)
* We didn’t quite hike all the way up to the 29.2km mark, but given that there is no marker on the map around where we turned around, we just rounded upwards (we plan to complete this part of the map on our next hike)
We parked along the side of 2nd Line E at the trailhead for 2nd Line ECL Side Trail. This trail connects with the Oliver Creek Side Trail in two places. And with all the excitement of trancing around in the woods in this magical winter wonderland with our snowshoes we ended up veering east (instead of north) and hiked a portion of the trail that we already covered. We weren’t complaining much since we were having such a good time forging a path in the snow.
Given the sheer amount of snow we weren’t able to hike for as long as we normally do. But let’s be real, binge eating around the holidays most definitely factored into this as well. We hiked up to the end of the Moss Haven Side Trail (with only 800m left until the trail meets up with 1st Line East) and took this shortcut on the way back to shave off a couple hundred of metres.
This has been one of our all-time favourite hikes along the Bruce Trail. In large part because of all the snow. But also because the Dufferin Hi-Lands section is incredibly scenic with a mix between wooded areas and open fields.
Hike #6 – March 2018
Map #20: 34.8 – 31.4km (distance hiked = 3.4km one-way – 6.8km roundtrip)
K wanted to go hiking for his birthday. Given that it’s been an unseasonably warm and wet winter we figured it would be best to walk along a road section of the Bruce Trail. We planned to park at the 34.8km marker along Centre Road (Kilgorie), but the road looked incredibly sketchy – it was one-way, which was fine, but we were forced to turn around and backtrack after a particularly steep and slippery downhill section that was covered in a sheet of ice. We weren’t sure about our car being able to make it down. And then back up again on the way out. We parked at some random spot near the 32.6km mark which was definitely not a legit parking area. But whatever. We weren’t going to be long.
We started by hiking north towards Kilgorie. The first stretch of the path was along the one-way road and was quite pleasant as we could easily walk side-by-side.
But after we passed the spot where we initially turned around the path became significantly more challenging in large part because the road was covered in a thick sheet of ice. The further we walked (I use this term loosely as it was more like a slippin’ and a slidin’) the more pleased we were about our decision to turn our car around and park elsewhere. Progress was slow. And there were some close calls in terms of losing our balance. But it was pretty fun having to strategically manoeuvre around the icy bits.
We turned around at the 34.8km mark and hiked back towards our car. We took a quick water break and continued walking along Centre Road to the intersection of 10th Sideroad. We turned around at the stop sign and hiked back towards our car.
Hike #7 – September 2019
Map #19 & 20: 10.0 – 15.2km (distance hiked = 5.2km one-way – 10.4km roundtrip)
What better way to spend a lovely day in the fall than hiking along the Bruce Trail. We parked our car along the shoulder of 1st Line EHS just north of 25 Sideroad. This part of the path was particularly scenic (especially in the fall) and meandered through open fields for the first bit before heading deeper into the woods. The final stretch of the hike involved walking along the road before turning around at the 15.2km mark. This wasn’t too bad as this part of the road weren’t very busy.
Hike #8 – January 2020
Map #21: 56.2 – 49.6km (distance hiked = 6.6km one-way – 13.2km roundtrip)
After spending the past week and a half cooped up inside recovering from the flu, we figured a nice long hike along the Bruce Trail was in order. It has been a pretty mild winter so far and we figured that conditions on the trail wouldn’t be too bad. We parked on Mulmur-Nottawasaga Townline beside the cemetery. The first little stretch was along the road. The path then turns onto a smaller unmaintained road that seemed popular with ATVs. There were some snowy and icy patches along the way, but overall it wasn’t too bad. We even saw a porcupine along the trail. We were a bit tired once we circled back to the car, but it felt nice getting in some exercise and fresh air.
Return here for more of our Bruce Trail adventures.