After living on Windswept Farm for 16 years, we are still in awe of the spectacular trails that we are continuously discovering in our own backyard. And what better time to do this seeing as our travel plans have all come to an abrupt halt this year!
Being an active family, one of our favourite pastimes is hiking. We’ve hiked in Europe and North America and it truly is one of the best ways to see a country. There is nothing like turning a corner to discover a herd of Swiss cows or a chilly river to dunk in your hot feet. Our days are incomplete without getting in a touch of nature. Breathing in fresh air and slowing down is like a major reset button. Don’t get us wrong- we love a good dose of city bustle once in a while, but we always seem to gravitate back to the great outdoors.
Our farm is located in Ontario and is within walking distance of Canada's oldest and longest marked footpath, The Bruce Trail. It’s a 900 km trail from Niagara to Tobermory that follows the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO world biosphere reserve. We live pretty close to the halfway point on this trail.
Our goal is to one day complete the whole trail, as we are slowly adding more kms to it each year. But right now we’d like to share with you some of our favourite sections of the trail, most of which are all close to our farm.
For more information, maps and an app please visit www.brucetrail.org
Lavender Hill to Garden of Eden: (Map 21 in the Bruce Trail book).
This one is literally out our back door and we usually do it as a there and back route. This hike offers a variety of terrain, along crevices, through forest and fields and we end it at a beautiful wetland with small lakes. It’s about 10km there and back but if you’d like to continue, you can always stop for the night at Sequel Inn, which is just off the trail on Garden of Eden Rd.
KeyHole Trail: (Map 22 in the Bruce Trail Book).
This one is great with adventurous kids. It starts in a hardwood forest and turns down a path that leads through large stone boulders that have separated from the main Escarpment face. The trail passes through small crevices and narrow openings in the rock. We’ve found snow in these crevices in the heat of the summer! This trail has many options for length. The shortest loop is about 2.5 km so it’s easy with young kids.
Pretty River Valley Loop: (Map 23 in the Bruce Trail book).
Out of all the hikes we mention here, this has to be the most popular. And we know why. It starts off in a dense cedar forest as you wind up the trail beside a winding river. This is forest bathing at its best. Stop and listen to the river and take in the smell of cedars. Stick right on the trail, and about 4kms up, you are rewarded with a stunning view over Georgian Bay and the farm fields to the east. We call it the Lion King Rock.
Halfway Dump to the Grotto: (Map 41 in the Bruce Trail Book).
This is almost at the top of the Bruce Trail in the Bruce Peninsula National Park, but it is worth the drive! We did a 11.5km there and back hike and absolutely loved every second of it. This is known as the trail’s most difficult section, but with the stunning views of the Georgian Bay and insane rock formations we didn’t really notice. If you are scared of heights this might not be for you though, as some of the trail clings to the edge of the escarpment. There were many opportunities to jump in the lake along the way as well. Don’t say we didn’t warn you that it’s chilly! After the hike, we returned to our car and drove to the tippy top of the trail head in Tobermory. There are many lodging options, mostly motels, and many have nice views of the harbour. We stayed at The Blue Bay Motel.
Please leave a comment on your favourite hikes, wherever they may be!
Happy Hiking xx2DA