Like many things in life, there are a lot of things best done and enjoyed with a special person. Being out on a hiking trip is no different. Exploring new areas; discovering hidden gems and being in the wilderness is far better when you have a partner along to experience it with.
Lynn, photographer extraordinaire; special person and better half is my “let’s go just a bit further” hiking partner. Unfortunately for me, Lynn took a couple of days to visit out-of-town with some cousins and their little ones. This outing will be different without Lynn to keep me amused and to record our adventure. So, this left me to forage along the trail by myself and to try to match Lynn’s photography skill. Skill matching – not so successful.
The Bruce Trail through Devil’s Glen Provincial Park located near Singhampton (south of Collingwood) has been a place I’ve wanted to explore for some time. I figured a loop circuit consisting of the main Bruce Trail combined with the Mad River Side Trail and passing through the village of Glen Huron, would make for a good outing.
I’m not a huge fan of heat and humidity together. I figured starting earlier in the morning would be a good idea. It was a pleasant 16 degrees C when I started. In the time I was out there, just over 3 hours, the temperature had risen to over 25 degrees C and all the humidity you could ask for. I guess that’s why there was a heat warning issued for that day.
The parking lot for Devil’s Glen is located on the south side of County Road 124, just west of the entrance to Devil’s Glen Country Club. It’s easy to miss the entrance especially traveling westbound.
The parking lot would hold between 6 to 8 cars. It should be noted that the park is considered as a non-operating park, and as such there are no facilities (washrooms).
Exiting the back of the parking lot you travel along the path for less than a 100 metres or so until you reach a plaque indicating the start of the trail down the escarpment to the Mad River.
If you head down a particularly steep path, chances are pretty good at the end of the day when you’re pooped, you’ll have to hike back up either the same path or some other one. Person who hikes down must eventually hike back up. (Just a friendly reminder for you).
Once on the valley floor, the trail flattens out along the Mad River making for a rather pleasant hike. I was the first person through here in a while. How would I know that?….simply by the number of spider webs that my faced cleared from the trail. Spiders must deliberately weave their webs of destruction precisely at the 6 foot high mark on all trails. Just saying!
The trail crosses the river at a small bridge which marks the boundary of Devils Glen Country Club. At this point in order to make a loop circuit, I followed the blue Mad River Side Trail(MRST) signage. Note: Devils Glen Country Club is a private facility. If you are going to go the same route I did, you must follow the blue MRST signage through the country club grounds. It is my understanding that they graciously allow the Bruce Trail to traverse through their property. A big shout-out to them for entering into an agreement with the Bruce Trail Conservancy for the use of their property.
After leaving the main ski chalet area, the MRST follows the river until it reaches Glen Huron pond in the quaint village of Glen Huron.
Before getting to Glen Huron however, I stumbled upon this log cabin in the woods.
This plaque provides all the answers.
One thing that always fascinates me is the workmanship that goes into building with logs. Real craftsmanship!
We’ve driven through the small village of Glen Huron on many occasions and have always said, “You know, we should stop and go in the store just to have a look.” Here I was 40 feet away from it. Didn’t go in. Go figure! (well, really what fun would it have been without Lynn anyway) If you are in the area and on the only other road in the village, you’ll find Giffens Farm Market. Well worth the visit!
Through this section, the Bruce Trail also shares a portion with the Ganaraska Hiking Trail. The Ganaraska Trail starts in Port Hope Ontario and actually has its western terminus just down the road.
My loop took me up Nottawasaga Rd(Concession 8) and then turned right onto Sideroad 15&16, still on the Mad River Side Trail. From the Village to the point where the Mad River Side Trail connects back to the main Bruce Trail, at the top of the escarpment, is about 1.6 km of VERY steep hiking. Let me repeat. IT IS 1.6 KM OF STEEP GRAVEL ROAD HIKING.
The main trail at this point follows the top of the escarpment and the hill-top boundary of Devils Glen Country Club. After passing through a beautiful pine forest you re-enter the Country Property. Following the white blaze marking of the Bruce Trail, you complete a series of steep switch backs down a steep ravine to the Mad River.
The hike back along the Mad River is generally flat and a nice break from the steep down climb. You exit the Country Club property at the same location you entered it.
Follow the trail back up the steep slope that you first came down when you left the provincial park parking lot. Remember, person who hikes down must at some point hike back up!
There is also a lookout platform that also give great views of the ski hills and the surrounding area.
Hiking through Devils Glen Provincial Park and the trails throughout Devils Glen Country Club made for an excellent 3.5 hours. It’s a beautiful part of Ontario to explore, but it was challenge in sections. I think the challenge was mostly due to the extreme heat. By the time I had hit the village of Glen Huron and the steep climb back up the escarpment, the temperature was pushing 30 degrees C with very high humidity.
But, all in all a great experience.
One thing I did learn was that hiking without Lynn isn’t as much fun as having her with me. As I said at the beginning – “Like many things in life, there are a lot of things best done and enjoyed with a special person.”
See ya out there!