Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail Club Background
The Dufferin Hi-Land Bruce Trail Club is one of nine member clubs that make up the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
The Bruce Trail is a continuous hiking trail that runs for over 800 km from Queenston, near Niagara Falls, to Tobermory, at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. For the most part the Trail follows the Niagara Escarpment, a natural geological feature formed 400 million years ago and modfied during the last Ice Age. The Niagara Escarpment is a World Biosphere Reserve
The Dufferin Hi-Land Section of the Bruce Trail runs from Mono Centre in the south, to Lavender in the north, a total distance of 51.4 km. It passes through such areas of natural beauty as the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, the Boyne Valley Provincial Park and the Pine River Fishing Area. In addition, a number of side trails provide some added variety and the
potential for loop hikes.
How to get started
Of all recreational pursuits involving physical exertion, hiking is probably the easiest and cheapest to get into, requiring little more than an outlay of $100 or less for a sturdy pair of waterproof boots. Running shoes are poor substitutes, offering minimal ankle support and limited traction. In addition, a small backpack or belt will be required to carry water and a snack. A wide variety of suitable equipment is available at any outdoor store and a visit to one of those listed on the Contact page is strongly recommended.
So with boots firmly laced, the next step is to find somewhere to start. The simplest way is to join one of the easier organized hikes listed in the club newsletter and on this site. However, some prefer to take their initial hiking steps on their own, with friends or with family members. Fortunately, located at the southern extremity of the Dufferin Hi-Land section is the magnificent Mono Cliffs Provincial Park which within its boundaries, offers a fine range of hiking opportunities suitable for beginners and intermediates.
A six-kilometre portion of the Bruce Trail cuts through the centre of the Park, on either side of which are a variety of scenic loop trails. The main feature of the southern end of the Park is the glacial spillway which, together with the Bruce Trail, runs parallel to the giant cliffs of the main escarpment. On the opposite side of the Trail is the Southern Outlier, one of two islands of hard rock left standing after the last ice age. The resulting spillway with cliffs on each side provides a canyon-like environment for the hiker. At its northern end, a choice of trails provide some of the best views in the area and McCarston Lake, a kettle lake formed by the melting of a huge block of ice left by the receding glacier, is a unique feature of one of the woodland sections.
To reach the Park, take Dufferin County Road #8 west from Airport Road (north of the Hockley Valley) or east from Camilla on Highway 10 (north of Orangeville). Turn north onto 3rd line EHS (on the bend) about 2 km northeast of Mono Centre. The entrance and car park is on the left, about 1 km from the turnoff.
Detailed Trail Guides are usually available from the box adjacent to the car park toll machine. Also conveniently adjacent, the splendid new Park toilets, amongst the finest of their kind, are well worth a visit before hitting the trails! Details of the various trails are also shown in the BTC Reference Guide (Edition 21). The scenery and Trail system (the latter clearly defined by signposts), are so outstanding that a series of visits is recommended to explore them in their entirety.
Leaving the car park via the Carriage Trail, the main Bruce Trail is reached after about 1 km. Prior to reaching this point however, approximately 600 metres in, a turn off to the left leads to the Southern Outlier Trail. This 4 kilometre loop around the rim of the Outlier although commencing with a steep climb, provides a perfect initiation for the beginner. On the second visit, continue 300 metres past the turn off to the Outlier to intersect the Bruce Trail proper. Then, by reference to the Trail Guide, mixing and matching of the various trail options enables a series of scenic loop hikes of between 4 and 13 km in length to be constructed to suit individual requirements.
At the conclusion of each hiking excursion, and before heading for home, plans for the next visit may be plotted in the hiker-friendly confines of the historic Mono Cliffs Inn in Mono Centre!