The Bruce Trail is a massive network of hiking trails that cuts across southern and central Ontario. The main trail, comprised of a chain of nine subdivisions linked into the oldest and longest single trail in Canada, is a staggering 885 kilometres long. The side trails that emerge from the main line total an additional 440km along the length of the Bruce Trail. It’s a massive amount of ground, so more casual hikers and riders typically stick to a couple of the subdivisions for their own use.
Starting near Niagara
For anyone entering Canada via Niagara Falls, they’re in luck; the Brice Trail starts (or ends) just northward, at the small town of Queenston. Take the Niagara Parkway northward until just past the reservoirs, where you’ll run into Queenston Heights Park; the Bruce Trail’s southern terminus is marked by a stone cairn.
The Niagara portion of the Bruce Trail is a great way to admire the natural layout of the Niagara Escarpment – the tall ridges and high ground that runs through southern Ontario. The Bruce Trail’s development was actually instrumental in designating the escarpment a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
Niagara Region: 130km of trails
The Niagara section alone encompasses about 130 kilometres worth of trails. Quality maps are kept regularly updated by the Bruce Trail Conservancy and are available online.
Travel Throughout the Niagara Region
Taking the main Niagara track will take hikers through St Catharines – the official ‘Garden City’ of Ontario with its abundance of parks and gardens – and the Township of Thorold, a small town noteworthy for its numerous historical buildings and landmarks. Hikers will also pass through all for of the Welland canals, heading across farmland and through woodlands before reaching the lakeside town of Grimsby. Here, the Bruce trail enters its next subdivision, the Iroquois – an even longer section of track, heading through Hamilton and steering around Lake Ontario to strike northward.
A hiker walking the whole trail would snake through the heartland of southern Ontario before heading up the Bruce Peninsula and ending at the port of Tobermory, a major trade and tourism centre.
Tackling at least part of the Bruce Trail is highly recommended for all nature and outdoors enthusiasts. Start off at the southern terminus, keep yourself informed of any trail re-routes and take the time to explore some of the side tracks you’ll come across – they might take you on scenic routes through vineyards and reclaimed wetlands, or lead you to a small village like Jordan. Wherever one walks along the Bruce Trail, there are plenty of hidden treasures for explorers to enjoy.
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