001 - 002 | 0.6 kmTo begin the Elora Gorge hike, especially if it isn't a busy day at the Elora Gorge, you should be able to park in the main shopping street in Elora (Mill St) . On busy days you can park in the municipal lot (Metclafe at Carlton St) located to the left just before you cross the bridge over the river. In the middle of the quaint shops is a rest/observation area where the hike begins. At the foot of Mill Street stands the Elora Mill , one of the few early Ontario five-storey grist mills still in existence. It now serves as an upscale inn and two restaurants. You can follow Mill Street past the Old Mill Inn to the end where there is a lookout platform (closed in winter) that provides a good view of the cataract below. Return and head uphill on Price Street.
Near the top, turn left and enter a park like area where you will see the black chain link fence. You will be following this fence for most of the hike. Soon you will arrive at a stone platform with steps leading down to a small lookout area (002). This is known as Lover's Leap , a legendary spot where an aboriginal princess is said to have jumped to her death when she found out her beloved had been killed in battle. This lookout provides an excellent view of both the Grand (on the left) and the Irvine (on the right) gorges and the Irvine River below. The main gorge is wider at this point and is locally known as 'The Cove'.
002 - 003 | 0.8 kmLeaving Lover's Leap, continue along the fence line where the "trail" arrives at a set of stone steps with railing allowing you to descend to the river below. Note that is staircase is closed in the winter months. Once down the steps you can easily get to the river edge and walk along the edge with some rock scrambling. Water flows are typically very low in the summer so it is easy to walk along the gorge bottom. You can go almost up to the David St bridge (and perhaps further) and return on a higher route underneath the rock overhang where you will see a small cave. Across the gorge you will see a number of caves from large to small in size. You can also walk downstream towards the main gorge but you can only go so far due to the absence of a continuous dry rock ledge. When you've had enough exploring this area, climb back up the staircase (003).
003 - 004 | 2.0 kmContinue along the fence to David St. Turn left and cross the bridge over the gorge formed by Irvine Creek. At Wellington 7 Road, turn left along this road. Wellington 7 Road crosses over the Grand River before arriving at Carlton Pl. (004)
004-001 | 2.5 kmTurn left on Carlton, then left on Metcalfe St. Before Metcalfe St crosses the bridge, there is a nice lookout area by the parking lot where you can view the river and the back of the historic downtown area. Cross the bridge and return to the starting point (001).
Trail Guide Elora GorgeTo get to the Elora Gorge Conservation Area, cross the Bridge on Metcalfe and keep right onto McNabb St. which becomes Wellington 21 Rd. Turn right on 2nd Line E to the Elora Gorge CA gatehouse pay station. Distance from 001 = 400 m. Park in lot. The distance is restarted from zero at this point.
P - 006 | 1.0 kmFrom the Visitors Parking lot head towards the Gorge and then walk south on the park road. You could continue on this road but it's more interesting to follow the black chain link fence. There is no well defined path but the whole area is filled with cedar trees and park picnic tables. There is a stream to cross. if the stream is full of water you can use the road to get around it. The fence ends and an inner fence can be seen closer to the gorge in some areas. Soon you will hear the waterfalls across the gorge. Here it is relatively easy to descend to view the falls close up from the river edge. You can also explore the area a bit to your right along the river edge but you need to return to the falls area to climb back up as the cliff walls soon become very high and steep. (006)
006 - 007 | 2.2 kmClimb back up and contine south along the black outer chain link fence. The road swings down to a concrete Low-Level Bridge crossing over the Grand River. In early Spring with the snow melt, the bridge may be underwater requiring you to remove your boots to cross (007). This point marks the end of the tube ride down the Grand.
007 - 008 | 4.5 kmCross the bridge and walk back up to the road and turn right along the park road. You could continue on this road but it's more interesting again to follow the black chain link through the cedar woods. At one point the woods changes dramatically into brush and deciduous trees so you will have to get back to the road. Along the road you will see numerous numbered campsites. There is no well defined path but the whole area is filled with cedar trees and park picnic tables. Eventually you will come to a small creek that flows over the edge of the cliffs to form a waterfall. While you can't see the waterfall from this side of the gorge, it is the waterfall that you descended to view earlier in the hike. The park road cyrves down so you can view the High Bridge over the gorge. (008) If you wish you could continue further north to the Tube launch area and then return to the High Bridge.
008 - 009 | 5.0 kmCross the High Bridge and head north. There are some good lookouts along this area as the trail follows the gorge edge with some of the black fence replaced by stone edging. There are great views of the turbulent water below and firemen from across Canada and the USA often practice live saving skills in these rapids. Soon a metal staircase leads down to the turbulent waters of the gorge below. This is a good spot for photographs. (009)
009 - 010 | 5.3 kmThe trail swings away from the gorge edge a bit and returns near a staircase on your right which looks like a large hole. In fact his is known as the Hole in the Wall. A set of steps leads down through the hole and out the other side to a platform. You can walk down further around this fenced-in area.(010)
010 - 005 | 6.5 kmReturn south past the High Bridge. The trail crosses a plank bridge and from here you can head about 300 m back to the parking lot.