The Dufferin Quarry hike features typical Bruce Trail terrain with many dramatic features making this a great hike and one to be remembered. Many wet areas so not recommended in mosquito season.
Roadside parking on Townline Road. See Trail Map for other locations.
On the 19 km hike, one portajohn unit at waypoint (008).
A few good places along the escarpment edge or at the display area at the Dufferin bridge (but no shade at the bridge.)
Not wheelchair accessible
Trail map revised 05 Apr 2010
Unless you have more than one car, you are committed to the whole hike.
Large pond between (002) - (003); swampy areas through (003) - (004); views from the escarpment edge; Dufferin Quarry bridge & display
The Dufferin Quarry - Hilton Falls
The large mixed forest of the area includes wooded swamps, beaver ponds, streams, wetland pools and upland hardwood bush. This rich environment creates a habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal species. Significant plant species include walking fern and yellow lady’s slipper. Over 100 species of birds are known to breed here including 22 kinds of warblers such as the Nashville Warbler. The area also supports a large population of white-tailed deer as well as mammals such as the northern flying squirrel, beaver, and the American water shrew. As well four species of salamander can be found in the same wetland pools. This trail skirts around the very large Dufferin Quarry and sounds of the quarry operation can be heard occasionally.
The quarry is growing in size and so is beginning to encroach on some trails. This hike is a large loop and you can begin at various points along the trail, but my favourite place is to begin the hike is on Townline Road which ends in a large turn circle just past where the Bruce Trail crosses the road. This makes it very easy to find and there is no through traffic and lots of parking. A word of warning: Don't even think of doing this hike in mosquito season unless you enjoy being a feeding post. Also in early season, crossing some of the swollen creeks will be an adventure. A hiking pole or a stick will help you to stabilize yourself in stepping from rock to slippery rock. The Hilton Falls trail is an interesting one that will take you through a number of wetlands and ponds to the edge of the escarpment where it meets the Bruce Trail. There you will get incredible views of the surrounding farmland and watch Turkey Vultures soar on the updrafts created by the cliffs.
Very old Eastern white cedar trees grip the rocky edges and you can't help but be amazed at how the cedar trees, clinging for dear life to rocks and edges, manage to stay upright!
At the long Quarry Bridge that spans the entrance to the quarry, there is a nice seating area with an informative plaque that outlines the history of the quarry and surrounding area. Beyond that here is the large loading station as one truck after another drives up to be loaded. Past 6th Line, we leave the main Bruce Trail and circle around through the Hilton Falls CA and back to Townline Rd.
Dufferin Quarry Expansion
Recently Dufferin Aggregates has received approval for the expansion of their quarry in north Milton and the Town of Halton Hills. The expansion will take place on both sides of the Nassagaweya-Esquesing Townline and will result in the roadway occupying an isthmus perched approximately 35m above the quarry floor. For obvious safety reasons, a temporary closure of this roadway took place in 2008/2009 until restoration of the quarry lands took place and a safe environment was re-established. The Townline Road has now reopened (2010). Dufferin Aggregates does not have permission to quarry the rock under the Townline Road and the road can still be used to access the Bruce Trail -at least for the time being. It's a bit disheartening to see this quarry growing so much and encroaching on, if not threatening, the Bruce Trail.
The Dufferin Quarry hike is a long but very fascinating hike that has everything that makes a hike excellent. The creek to cross near the start, the large pond and the numerous wetlands on the way to the Escarpment edge with it's great views of the surrounding farmland make this hike special. This is followed by a walk through part of the Hilton Falls CA, past a beaver dam and more wetlands and forest to circle back to the starting point.