Until last year, when it comes to the area of Bruce and Grey Counties, we had never been any further north than Owen Sound and I mean downtown Owen Sound. Nevertheless, somewhere along the way in researching potential areas to hike along the world-class Bruce Trail, I came across Spirit Rock Conservation Area.
Anyhow, feeling the draw to get out and go somewhere new, it was around the middle of May last year, Lynn and I decided to make a day trip up past Owen Sound and Wiarton to check Spirit Rock out. It was one of those days that was just about perfect. The sun was shining; warm temperatures; and just a few bugs to keep the outdoors person humble.
From our place in north Simcoe County, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive without stopping. But, whats a road trip without the mandatory stop for coffee and muffins to make the journey sustainable. Thus, the coffee fuel stop combined with the then “pee” stop for us and the dog made it about a 3 hour trip one-way.
Unfortunately, most of the pictures that Lynn took during our hike were lost when we had an image storage issue. I’ve taken the liberty of taking a couple of pictures from the Grey-Sauble Conservation Authority web-page.
The conservation area is about 3 km north of Wiarton along Highway 6. There is a sign for the location, so finding it is pretty easy. The driveway into the parking area as I remember is not very wide. We managed to get in and out without encountering any other vehicles. Not sure what would happened if you came upon another car coming at you.
Spirit Rock Conservation Area contains the ruins of the “Corran” which was the home for Alexander McNeill, a Federal member of Parliament from the late 1800’s. There a number of information boards that provide some interesting background on McNeill and the estate grounds and home. In addition to the ruins of the home, there are also foundation and wall structures of barn which is located just a short distance from the home.
Following the obvious path from the ruins, a short hike will bring to a lookout platform that provides a great view across Colpoy’s Bay. At this point you can access the spiral staircase down to the Bruce Trail and the water’s edge.
We walked a short distance on the Bruce Trail which follows the edge of the water. It doesn’t get much better when:
- sun is shining
- warm temps
- escarpment face on one side
- beautiful breeze and view of water on the other
There can be a bit of a back up of people going up and down the staircase. But, the view from the top combined with a great walking location along the water from the bottom, makes any delays WELL WORTH IT.
After spending some time hiking and exploring the Bruce Trail and the “Corran Estate”, we decided to head back through Wiarton to Owen Sound. Just before Owen Sound on Highway 6 is the Pottawatomi – Jones Falls Conservation Area. We decided to check out Jones Falls which is a short flat hike from the Visitor Information Centre parking lot accessed from the highway.
The trail is flat and an easy short walk from the Visitor Information Centre. The Bruce Trail passes through the conservation area, but we didn’t spend anytime exploring it further as our dog who is getting up in age was getting pooped from all the excitement.
Unfortunately, we only have one picture of Jones Falls that I took with my phone. Still, pretty awesome spot!! The sound of the water cascading over the rock face is both soothing and mesmorizing at the same time. Love it!
All in all, it was great day to be out. Although we didn’t hike very far, the spots we did manage to visit made for an excellent outing. In addition, our outing introduced us to all the little communities and shops north of Owen Sound along Highway 6, that are begging us to come back to visit.
If you had the opportunity to read any of previous blogs or follow along on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll have read that we’ve fallen in love with both the Grey and Bruce County areas of Ontario. This area of the province, never fails to deliver when it comes to outdoor adventures. I would encourage you to take the time to check this area out. You won’t be disappointed. With neat places to visit; great trails to hike; excellent local shops to take a look at; wonderful restaurants – why wouldn’t you want to come up?
So, when your up here take the time to check out Spirit Rock Conservation Area, as well as making time to hike to Jones Falls. In fact, even on just a day trip, you could visit many of the water falls located throughout Grey County, including Weaver Creek and Inglis Falls in Owen Sound.
Hey, thanks for reading. Hope it encourages you to check out this area of Ontario.
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