The Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest marked public footpath, stretching 900 km along the Niagara Escarpment in southern Ontario, from Niagara to Tobermory. The Bruce Trail provides the only continuous public access to the magnificent Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere.
The Toronto Bruce Trail Club cares for one of the 9 sections of the Bruce Trail: a 50 km stretch of main Bruce Trail, plus 61 km of side trails, from Milton to Cheltenham, primarily within the beautiful Regional Municipality of Halton.
The Toronto Bruce Trail Club section, leads hikers through lovely dense mixed forests, through meadowlands and marshes, by restored quarries, down shady road allowances, over and through rocky crevasses, past cascading waters, and along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.
Springtime entices hikers with rocky wildflower gardens: Trilliums (Ontario’s provincial flower), orchids, violets, spring beauties, marsh marigolds, and so many more. Choruses of frogs emanate from ponds and vernal pools. Deer, raccoons, and other wild critters can be seen between the trees. Careful: the trails can be slippery with mud, and even overflowing with rainwater. Bug nets and insect repellant are helpful to keep the mosquitos and blackflies at bay.
Summertime features ripening wild fruits along parts of the trails: strawberries, blackberries, grapes, plums, pears, and apples. Milkweed and Golden Rod attract monarch butterflies. Young songbirds are fledging at this time. 300-year old maple trees and thousand-year old cedars are green and teaming with wildlife. Sunscreen and lotion are a must, as is plenty of drinking water.
Autumn is the time to see Ontario’s beautiful changing trees: Maples, Oaks, Birch, Butternut, and other trees all turning bright red, orange, yellow and brown. Brilliant purple asters shine in every sunny spot. The songbirds congregate for the southbound migration. Turkey vultures, as always, sore on the warm thermal winds off the Escarpment.
Winter trails can be ice – hiking poles, and cleats or icers are very helpful. The forests become a wonderland, with tree branches sagging under the weight of freshly fallen snow. Snow also blankets the fields. Ice storms change the forest into a crystalline palace, all sparkly and shiny – don’t forget to wear sunglasses!
Interesting places along the Toronto Bruce Trail section
First Blaze and Philip Gosling
Philip Gosling is one of the four original “founders” of the Bruce Trail, our first Trail Director and the founder of the Toronto Club. At a spot on the trail just north of Cambellville Rd (near Appleby Line), there is a plaque honouring the first blaze on the Bruce Trail, painted on July 1962 by Philip.
Acidic water breaks down carbonate rocks such as limestone by dissolving them. This process is known as karst and is common throughout the Niagara Escarpment. At Limehouse the Bruce Trail passes through a crevasse known as The Hole In The Wall. Stairs allow you to access the bottom of these cracks in the limestone.
This 41-metre-long bridge enables hikers to cross a gap in the Niagara Escarpment. There are excellent views of the both the active and completely restored Milton quarries. The Kelso ski hills are visible to the south, and on clear days Lake Ontario, fertile farmlands, the cities of Brampton, Oakville, and Mississauga, and in the distance, the CN tower and downtown Toronto can be seen.
Pear Tree Park
On the main Bruce Trail in Speyside, the park is a nice jumping off point for several loop hiking and return-hiking options. Visit the plaque garden, sit on one of the flat rocks and read about some of the generous donors who helped the BTC secure the Niagara Escarpment.
A lovely naturalized field filled with native wildflowers and dotted with Bluebird houses. Conservation and restoration of this meadow continues.
Kilns at Limehouse
This area was a major source of lime for the early settlers of Ontario. Visible near the Trail are the remains of old lime kilns, a powder house and a quarry that were in production until the early 1920’s.
Scotsdale Farm was donated to the Ontario Heritage Foundation (now the Ontario Heritage Trust) by William and Violet Bennett in 1982. The 540-acres Property includes provincially significant wetlands, large areas of mature maple-beech upland forest and meadows.
A popular conservation area at Campbellville Road and Appleby Line. The Hilton Falls Side Trail follows the Escarpment brow past examples of glacial potholes, to the falls. Edward Hilton was the first to build and operate a mill at the base of the falls.
Hike with us! Become a member and help us secure and maintain the Bruce Trail.