|Hike Length:||13.7 km|
|Total Ascent:||552 m|
|Terrain:||Hockley Valley is very hilly with some rolling sections. A good cardio workout.|
|Parking/Fees:||None -free parking in Bruce Trail lot located on Hockley Road east of the trailhead.|
|Lunch Spot:||Along the stream at the bottom of the Snell Loop or on logs along the route.|
| Last Hiked:
||17 May 2005, 11 Oct 2008|
||Not wheelchair accessible.|
|Updates:||The main trail has been rerouted at waypoint (002).|
||You can leave out any of the side trails to shorten the hike|
||Numerous trilliums in the spring; the Snell loop pond; the numerous crossings of the Nottawasaga River.|
The Site: Hockley Valley Provincial Park
Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve is located within the rolling moraine landscapes of the Niagara Escarpment which was created by a long process of erosion. Through the centre of the nature reserve can be found a scenic deepcut tributary valley to the Nottawasaga River. In this valley a wide variety of locally unique vegetation communities, vascular plant species and wildlife can be found. Between Lake Erie and Ontario, the escarpment gives rise to Niagara Falls, then curves around Lake Ontario and reaches northward to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and beyond, ending at Manitoulin Island.
The Nottawasaga River cuts a deep gorge across this escarpment. Forested moraines and open meadows are located upstream, and swamp and bottomland forest spread across the valley floor, stretching for several kilometres. Hockley Valley is part of the Niagara Parks System, and the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve. There are no visitor facilities, but Hockley Valley is a favourite site for hiking and nature appreciation. The Bruce Trail, as well as several side trails, wind through the reserve.
The 378 hectare nature reserve is located approximately five kilometres north east of Orangeville, in the Town of Mono, County of Dufferin. In the summer this scenic area offers local residents and tourists opportunities for hiking along the Bruce Trail. During the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities. Visitation peaks in the autumn during the fall colours period.
The Caledon Hills Club, a member of the Bruce Trail Association, cooperatively maintains the trails in the park. It is hoped that in the future a trail will be opened to Canning Falls which is located in the northwest quadrant of the park.
This hike takes us along the main Bruce trail as well as the Snell Loop, the Glen Cross Side Trail and the Tom East Side Trail. There are erosion problems on slope areas along the side trails (i.e., Tom East Side Trail, Glen Cross Side Trail and Snell Loop). Rehabilitation of these sites will occur with proper trail engineering and continued monitoring.
Snell Loop Side Trail
This side trail of length 2.2 km was named after Cam Snell who was a former superintendant for Ontario Parks as well as a strong supporter of the Bruce Trail. Beginning at waypoint (006), the trail heads west along a stream at the bottom of the valley. The trail crosses the stream and then climbs through undulating woodlands to emerge into an open area. The trail then curves past two scenic ponds before heading back into the woods where it heads east to rejoin the main trail at wayoint (007).
Glen Cross Side Trail
This is a 3.2 km trail that heads east from waypoint (004) and soon descends a set of steps to meet a stream at the valley floor. The trail passes through a meadow and parallels the river through a dark and dense cedar forest. Passing through rolling meadows and coniferous woods, the trail descends, crosses a stream, and climbs into a mixed forest to rejoin the main Trail at waypoint (005).
Tom East Side Trail
This 2.5 km trail is named after Tom East who was the Caledon Hills BTC president. He laid out a good part of the Caledon Hills section of the Bruce Trail in the 1960s. From waypoint (002), the trail heads north along the 2nd Line EHS road allowance, passing throughundulating woodlands until it reaches the old original road allowance of 10 Sideroad. Here it heads east for over 500 m until it descends to an old bush road. The trail continues along this wide track before rejoining the main trail at waypoint (003).
This is a memorable hike for me and takes me back to my less fit days when I did this hike with my sister, Joan, on one of the Bruce Trail organized hikes. I found the hike very challenging with all the ups and downs -especially all the ups near the end of the hike when I didn't need them. I was inspired to see this quite elderly white-haired gentleman hiker just motoring up those hills effortlessly. It didn't help that our hike leader got lost and we went a half hour out of our way when I wanted less, not more. I've redone this hike many times since then and now I find it a good cardio workout hike but not particularly difficult if you are in good shape. Anyways try the hike and see if it tells you something about the current state of your fitness.
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