I’m the luckiest guy in the world. How you ask? Cause, last week I just finished holidays. Well, one week of them. Believe me these holidays were a long time coming. In fact, it was almost exactly 15 months since my last set.
So, what do excited hikers do? Drive to Lions Head Provincial Nature Reserve and hike a section of the Bruce Trail!
For us, this is a 3 hour plus drive from home, including 4 muffins and 2 large coffees between us, and a necessary pit stop in Springmount to deal with the result of drinking said large coffee.
Our trip took us across Highway 26 through Collingwood, Thornbury, Meaford to Owen Sound. Exiting Owen Sound, we took Highway 6 north, passing through Springmount (note pit stop above), Shallow Lake, Hepworth, Wiarton to Ferndale. When you reach Ferndale, turn right onto County Road 9, drive a kilometre or two(maybe); then turn left at Liquor Store(way to go – you made it Lions Head). Drive a bit further, turn right onto Moore Street, go pass the school, hospital, a bunch of homes on the left that I can’t afford and watch for the Bruce Trail parking lot on your right. See… you made it!
The parking lot would hold 10-15 cars(I guess). In addition, there is a well developed trail map billboard, the parking is free(we like free); plus a port-a-pottie – bonus!
There are two options for hiking that leave from the parking lot. We started our hike, hoofing it down Moore Street to enter the Bruce Trail via the Moore Street Side Trail. Alternatively, you could also start on the main Bruce Trail from the parking area as well. I think this routing might make the hike to the cliffs a bit longer.
Our choice, made it a short 3 or 4 km hike from the parking lot to the Lions Head Lookout point on the main Bruce Trail. Note the map I mentioned above; go back and look it again! Either route would provide a sweet outing!
The Moore Street Side Trail is flat and an easy hike. Once you reach the end of it and link up with the main Bruce Trail, the hiking becomes just a bit more challenging. The hills are not steep or long, but there are plenty of tree roots, rocks and rocky steps to negotiate. Nevertheless, the payoff is worth the effort.
Let me say that the hiking at Lions Head provides some of the most spectacular views from the Bruce Trail across Georgian Bay.
You know what THE BONUS IS – there are multiple scenic vistas before you even get to the Lions Head Lookout. Note – those cute boots and feet do not belong to me.
In addition, there are two short side trails along the way that lead to glacial pothole formations. The second one is VERY VERY COOL!!
A word of caution. The lookout areas are not protected!! No railings or fences. A trip or stumble over the edge at these locations would result at best in severe or fatal injuries. So, if you suffer from vertigo or fear of heights, enjoy the view but stay clear of the edge. Also, you might want to keep a grip on small children.
Enough of the fear mongering. You came for the views and the hiking. Both are outstanding.
The water is crystal clear and with colours that make you believe you’re in the Caribbean. (though if you dip your toe in, you’ll realize you’re no where near the Caribbean. lol)
If you look closely, you may see bolts anchored into the rock faces that rock climbers use. We spoke to one young fellow we watched climbing a rock face. He indicated that climbing in this area is not for beginners.
If you want, you can keep going along the main Bruce Trail to make a longer out and back trip. This would be my choice, if time isn’t a big concern. Even if it is a concern, don’t worry about it. Believe me, once you get going, you’ll want to keep going!! You’ll likely have a conversation like this, “Maybe if we just go a bit further, I’ll bet there’s an even better view. Don’t worry, we’ve got lots of time.”
Hiking in Lions Head is a sure hit experience. It is well worth the drive from wherever your coming from. In addition, there are many other access points to the Bruce Trail in this area. It’s just a matter of picking one and hitting the trail.
- great attitude
- hiking boots