Metcalfe Rock & Duncan Crevice – a spectacular late-autumn day

Below Metcalfe Rock, Niagara Escarpment, Bruce TrailIt couldn’t have been a more splendid day for a hike on the Bruce Trail. Here it is early November and we are enjoying temperatures in teens and sunny days.

The day started off misty and foggy and we drove north to our destination: the Kolapore Uplands of Grey County. At 70kmin size, this beautiful natural area is one of central Ontario’s largest. We typically go up in winter for a day of nordic skiing but thought we should check it out in the autumn. Spectacular!

We parked on the 10th Line and hiked the short distance up the Main Trail of the Bruce Trail to the top of Metcalfe Rock (Map 25 – Kolapore Uplands). On the way up there were great views of the golden deciduous forest, moss-covered rocks and sheer cliffs. The moss was a rich green colour from the warm fall we’ve had. This contrasted with the golden yellow aspen and birch leaves covering the ground.

Slit Cave, Metcalfe RockWe carried on down the Chuck Grant Side Trail which took us down to Mill Creek, set in a wide valley typical of the glacial spillways formed thousands of years ago by the huge volumes of glacial meltwater. The water now flows as a placid , meandering brook with overhanging trees and grasses. A bridge took us across for the hike back up the valley side to Duncan Crevice Provincial Nature Reserve.

On the was up we passed through a beautiful sunlit forest of maple and beech. The beech leaves were backlit and stood out like panes of stained glass in a cathedral of trees. Further up the valley we entered a large field and looked back to see the scar of Metcalfe Rock; ahead of us were the deep and dark crevices – slit caves that give Duncan Crevice its name. They ran for many metres along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment as they do in other locations such as nearby Metcalfe Rock, but also Mount Nemo in Burlington and Rattlesnake Point in Milton.

Metcalfe Rock across MIll Creek, Grey County, OntarioEventually, we came to Pinnacle Rock – a huge, house-sized piece of rock which appears to have been wrenched off the Escarpment and flipped on its side. From there we had a very pleasant hike through untouched deciduous forests carpeted with orange, yellow and ochre leaves, a few mushrooms and myriad ferns including Maidenhair and Hart’s-Tongue – indicators of just how special these forests are.

A hot cup of tea from a Thermos back at the car ended what was a perfect Bruce Trail day!

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