Bruce Trail – Iroquoia

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Length: 121.7km
Distance hiked: 113.7km
Number of hikes: 15

The Iroquoia section of the Bruce Trail spans 121.7km from Grimsby to Milton. We’ve been slowly chipping away at completing this section since 2015. The annual End-to-Ends event for the Iroquoia section falls over four days over two consecutive weekends at the end of October and beginning of November. But the first day consists of 39.4km of hiking. I initially signed up to complete the end-to-ends event back in 2014 with a group of friends but only managed to complete two of the four days. It was intense. And I was hurtin’. Besides, my partner in crime shied away from these long grueling hikes. And since we want to complete the entire Bruce Trail together, we decided to screw the end-to-ends event and tackle this beast on our own. Here is a log of our hikes along the Iroquois section.

All maps and kilometer references are based on the 27th edition of the Bruce Trail Maps and Trail Guide. 


Hike #1 – July 2015
Map #11: 121.7 – 108.7km (distance hiked = 13.0km one-way – maybe about 19km roundtrip)

Our route may have been a little overly ambitious. But we just came back from our 20 day trip to Iceland and we wanted to keep up the momentum. We parked at the Kelso Conservation Area (for a fee) near the end of the Iroquoia section. We first hiked about a kilometre and a half to the very end (and 121.7km) before looping back. We crossed the bridge over the CP railway line and then hiked up and over some ski slopes. There is a small road section for a kilometre along Appleby Line that leads to Crawford Lake / Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. This section of the trail is particularly scenic and offers commanding views into the Nassagaweya Canyon. We turned around at the Canyon Bypass Side Trail (108.7).

Along our return journey we shaved off a few kilometres by taking the Leech Porter Side Trail. Once we hit Appleby Line we continued to follow it just north of Limestone Road and back to the parking lot.


Hike #2 – July 2015
Map #9: 62.6 – 78.8km (distance hiked = 16.2km one-way)

Since C & E joined us on our hike we were able to cover much more distance with two cars. We parked one car at the end of the trail in a residential area on Springer Crescent (78.8km) and the other car at the start along Valley Road (62.6km). C & E had no idea what was in store for them. And it was a hot day. But despite the amount of distance covered this was actually one our most enjoyable hikes along the Iroquoia section of the Bruce Trail.

We started our hike through a small section of the Royal Botanical Gardens. We followed the path through some sketchy tunnel that crosses under Highway 6 and emerges onto the other side at the entrance of Clappison Woods. After 3km the trail snakes across Snake Road (not sure we like the sound of that) into the Grindstone Creek area. Towards the northern tip of this area the path leads beside Great Falls. There’s a nice grassy section here and a couple of benches. We took the opportunity to take a break, drink some water, and eat a snack before continuing onward.

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We were fortunate to remain under a dense canopy of leaves for most of the hike. There is a small road section once you cross Waterdown Road, but the trail cuts back into a wooded section once you pass Mountain Brow Road into Waterdown Woods. After a couple of kilometres the trail crosses King Road into Kerncliff Park followed by City View Park. And a couple kilometres after that we made it back to the car.


Hike #3 – October 2015
Map #11: 102.5 – 108.7km (distance hiked = 6.2km one-way –  maybe about 10.5km roundtrip)

We parked along Twiss Road near the Calcium Pits (102.5km). Fall was in full swing and we were eager for today’s hike up to Rattlesnake Point. We first hiked northwards through Crawford Forestry Tract. We crossed Guelph Line and then hiked about midway through Crawford Lake / Rattlesnake Point Conservation Areas. This part of the trail was especially enjoyable and provided sweeping views into the Nassagaweya Canyon from a lookout area. We weren’t the only people who thought the view was picturesque. Shortly after arriving at the lookout area we watched some dude propose to his girlfriend here. She said yes.

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Hike #4 – August 2016
Map #8: 62.6 – 57.6km (distance hiked = 5.0km one-way – 10.0km roundtrip)

We parked at the small roadside parking area along Valley Road (62.6km). We then hiked west though Borer’s Falls Conservation Area. The trail passes a small road section across a bridge along Chapel Road about 1.5km into the hike that leads to a small viewing area of Borer’s Falls. Maybe because it’s late in the season and we’ve had such a dry summer, but it was less of a “falls” and more of a “trickle”. We followed the trail down (key word being down a massive hill which we later had to climb back up) part of the road section along Sydenham St and turned around at the cut off for Webster’s Falls Side Trail.

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Hike #5 – October 2016
Map #8: 46.4 – 51.8km (distance hiked = 5.4km one-way – 10.8km roundtrip)

We were having Thanksgiving at K’s house later this afternoon so we figured we’d squeeze in a short hike before stuffing our bellies full of food. Not that we needed much convincing as this is our favourite time of year to hike. All the leaves are changing colour and temperatures are much more comfortable.

We parked along Lion’s Club Road near Old Dundas Road at the small car park by Sherman Falls (46.4km). There was some confusion as to whether we could actually park along the road here as there was a parking lot a few hundred metres down the road (for a fee of course) and there were some signs on one side indicating no parking. But our Bruce Trail reference book stated that there was roadside parking here. And we figured we’d chance it since we weren’t going to be long. Plus there were lots of other cars parked along the road too (not that this is a valid excuse or anything).

We hiked west through the southern part of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area up until Governors Road. The trail is well-groomed and wide enough to allow us to hike side-by-side – a rare treat along the Bruce Trail.

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The trail passes by a few points of interest like Canterbury Falls and The Hermitage – a former residence built in 1830 that is apparently a hotbed of paranormal activity.

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Hike #6 – October 2016
Map #8: 46.4 – 38.5.km (distance hiked = 7.9km one-way)

We planned on having Thanksgiving with my family today. So we decided to go for another morning hike in an attempt to burn off the boat from yesterday’s Thanksgiving meal and enjoy the great outdoors in such beautiful weather.

Since C & E were joining us we figured we’d park one car at the end of our hike (at 38.5km by the Scenic Drive Side Trail along Upper Paradise Road) and the other at the start of our hike (at 46.4km by Sherman Falls – the same place we parked yesterday). This time we hiked east towards Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area and Chedoke Park. Since this area experiences a lot of traffic along the trails the path was well trodden and terrain relatively flat. The most challenging part about this hike was having to climb up 289 steps of the Chedoke (Hamilton escarpment) stairs at the end of our hike to get back to the parking lot. Except when we asked E for the keys to grab our extra water we discovered that he had left them inside the other car. We instead called an Uber as we didn’t have enough time, energy or water to make a return trip.

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Hike #7 – October 2016
Map #8: 51.8 – 55.2km (distance hiked = 3.4km one-way – 6.8km roundtrip)

We spent most of the day down in Niagara sipping wine. We decided to squeeze in a late afternoon hike since it was on our way back home to Toronto. We parked at Governors Road (51.8km) and hiked southwards … until we realized that this trail was looking oddly familiar. Turns out we had hiked this portion two weekends ago. We turned it around and started hiking northwards up until the parking area on Woodley Lane (55.2km).

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Hike #8 – April 2017
Map #10: 82.3 – 87.6km (distance hiked = 5.3km one-way – 10.6km roundtrip)

Road sections are the worst. And we’ve been purposely putting them off and telling ourselves that we’ll save them for when the weather isn’t nice. But let’s be real, it’s not as if we’ve ever gone hiking along the Bruce Trail when it’s raining or snowing. And we don’t see that changing anytime soon. So we decided to suck it up and hike along a large portion of the road section.

We parked along Guelph Line south of No 1 Sideroad (82.3km). The first kilometre was through a wooded area before the trail hits a large road section for the next 3.7km. We hiked a very small portion along the Mount Nemo Conservation Area for a change of scenery before making the roundtrip journey back to the car.

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Hike #9 – June 2017
Map #10: 102.5km – 97.6 (distance hiked = 4.9km one-way – maybe about 8km roundtrip)

We parked along Twiss Road near the Calcium Pits (102.5km). The trail gently winds through Yaremko-Ridley Park before emerging to a small road section that leads to Twiss Road. In order to shave off a couple of kilometres on our return journey we just walked along Twiss Road to get back to our car. Within a few minutes of us finishing our hike it started to pour.


Hike #10 – July 2017
Map #6: 19.4 – 9.2km (distance hiked = 10.2km one-way)

It was a little unclear where the small car park that can accommodate five cars was located on the top of the Escarpment on Fifty Road (at 9.2km). But we found a small shoulder to park on that was near a blaze so we figured that must be right. We called an Uber to shuttle us to the parking area for the Devil’s Punch Bowl Conservation Area. The trail starts by deceptively meandering along a very short meadowy area before plummeting downwards. Normally we hate going downhill. Especially when it’s super steep. But it was hot and humid outside and I’m sure we would have depleted whatever water we brought if we had to climb this beast.

Once we made it to the bottom of the hill (mountain perhaps?) most people veered left towards the Devil’s Punch Bowl. But we veered right to hike along a portion of the Bruce Trail that wasn’t so well trodden. So much so that much of the path was obscured from view as the vegetation had gone wild. There were large portions where the surrounding grass and plants crept waist-high. We just trudged along in the heat, stepping carefully over rocks that were forever lurking but out of sight. Once we made it back to the car we checked ourselves for ticks. We’re happy to have only had to hike this portion once.

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Hike #11 – September 2017
Map #6 & 7: 29.5 – 19.4km (distance hiked = 10.1km one-way)

We parked along the side of Kimberly Drive near the entrance to the Kimberly Drive Side Trail. We called an Uber to shuttle us to the start of our hike at the Devil’s Punch Bowl Conservation Area. We hiked down (key word being down) the Devil’s Punch Bowl Side Trail (270m) and this time we veered left onto the Bruce Trail. And this time we actually passed by the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The trail weaves through Felker’s Falls Conservation Area, which was probably our favourite section of this hike. After crossing underneath an overpass we hiked through King’s Forest towards our car.

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Hike #12 – October 2017
Map #7: 29.5 – 38.5km (distance hiked = 9.0km one-way)

We parked along the side of Kimberly Drive again and called an Uber to shuttle us to the Chedoke Civic Golf Club. We climbed part-way up the Chedoke stairs to the turn-off for the Bruce Trail. The hike through Chedoke Park was probably the most scenic part about this hike. Afterwards there’s a lengthy section along some sidewalks that wind around part of Corktown in Hamilton and eventually the trail links up with Escarpment Rail Trail (which is all paved). Maybe about a kilometre near the end of our hike the trail departs from the paved path and weaves through a wooded area. We took the Kimberly Drive Side Trail (90m) back to where we parked our car.

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Hike #13 – March 2018
Map #10: 95.5 – 91.7km (distance hiked = 3.4km one-way – 7.8km roundtrip)

We wanted to go hiking. In March. And while it’s been an unseasonably warm winter without much snow, we sure have had a lot of rain. But today was all blue skies, sun, and the temperature was hovering just above freezing. We stand corrected about our views on the road sections because today was the perfect day for just that. We parked at the corner of Britannia Road and Blind Line and hiked along a lengthy road section. The trail along Colling Road runs parallel to a quarry and is between two fences – one on your right and the other on your left. It was pretty wet and muddy. So when we saw that there was a slight gap in the fence closest to the road we took this an opportunity to escape and just walk along the shoulder of the road instead. We turned around at the parking area for the Mount Nemo Conservation Area.

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Hike #14 – March 2018
Map #10: 91.7 – 87.6km (distance hiked = 4.1km one-way – maybe about 7km roundtrip)

The weather in March has been fabulous. Well, ideally we’d prefer more snow so we could snowshoe or cross-country ski, but we’ll take sun and mild temperatures over rain any day of the week. Given that it was a pleasant day (temperatures were hovering just above 0°C) and during the hiking off-season we decided to hike the portion of the Bruce Trail that runs through the very popular Mount Nemo Conservation Area. The start of the trail was down this gross mud path. We defiantly wore the wrong shoes. But, because we came early enough in the morning, most of the mud was still slightly frozen. Key word being most (but not all).

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Once we finished up at mud city and started to gain some (very minor) elevation, the path became much easier to hike. Instead of dodging around the muddy sections, we just had to scramble up and down rocks. Plus we were rewarded with panoramic views from the peak of Mount Nemo along the Niagara Escarpment.

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Along the way back we took the Mount Nemo Side Trail and shaved off maybe about an additional kilometre from our roundtrip. But the best part of all was that we thankfully got to bypass the muddiest portion of the trail. Despite it being March outside there were about 15 other cars in the parking lot by the time we returned to our car. Despite the mud, this was a great time of the year to hike Mount Nemo with minimal other people around.


Hike #15 – April 2018
Map #5: 0.0 – 9.2km (distance hiked = 9.2km one-way)

We parked along Elm Street near the start of the Iroquoia section of the Bruce Trail at the Grimsby Lions Community Pool. The first portion of the hike through Beamer Memorial Conservation Area was quite scenic as the trail follows alongside a gurgling gorge. The trail had a few minor dicey sections covered in snow from the freak snow/ice storm mother nature threw at us the previous weekend, but for the most part the trail was pretty decent. Near the start of our hike we stumbled across a group of bird watchers who pointed out a great horned owl in a tree. They kindly shared their binoculars so we could catch a close-up glimpse of the owl.

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From there we followed along Ridge Road for about 2km before heading into the Woolverton Conservation Area. The trail along here had its fair share of muddy saucy sections (we definitely wore the wrong shoes). We kept hiking until the trail intersects with Fifty Road (at the 9.2km mark). We then took the opportunity to try to scrape some mud off our shoes while we waited for our uber to pick us up and shuttle us back to our car.


L & K

Return here for more of our Bruce Trail adventures.

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