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shorthills-provincial-park-456-trail-guide

An old farm harrow beside the trail

 



TRAIL GUIDE

001 - 002 | 1.5 kmThe trail leaves the parking lot and the nearby basic washroom and shortly arrives at a signpost where you turn left to follow the Black Walnut Trail, here marked as Trail #2. This trail crosses a road to the Boy Scouts camp and continues on a wide gravel path into the woods. You may occasionally hear loud retorts that sound like gunfire. These are sound canons installed in some of the grape vineyards to chase away birds.  The trail crosses a rapidly flowing creek over a metal and wood bridge where the sound of a blue jay can be heard from the surrounding trees. The trail wanders along through fairly open woods alongside the creek and through some wetland areas where the calls of chickadees are heard in abundance. The trail once again crosses a small wooden bridge over a creek.
The main Bruce Trail continues to follow Trail #2 through the woods along the edge of some short hills to the right. The trail now climbs a steep incline that provides good views of the surrounding areas. At the top of the hill, a wooden structure made of old tree branches can be seen before the trail enters a meadow like area and passes under the hydro transmission lines before entering the woods once again. A locomotive whistle can be heard in the distance. Soon the Black Walnut Trail and Trail (# 2) meets (002) with the Bruce Trail going off to the right. Turn right and follow the Bruce Trail.

002 - 003 | 2.3 kmAlong the way American goldfinches can be seen and heard as the trail leaves the meadow and gradually climbs back into the woods along a winding path curving to the left. A number of informal side trails leave the main trail at various points along the way. The path comes out to a paved road and Trail #2 continues to the right into the Wiley Road parking lot (003) and a metal gate.

003 - 004 | 2.7 kmThe trail continues past the fence gate along an old farm road between two meadows until you arrive at a small signpost indicating the start of Trail #6 (004) to your right.

004 - 005 | 4.6 kmThis is the beginning of the Terrace Creek Trail (#6) which passes under the hydro transmission lines once again and curves around the edge of a meadow inhabited by numerous grasshoppers. The trail curves along between woods and meadow before entering a Maple forest where a small chipmunk notes our presence and continues nibbling on a snack.
The trail passes through this forest of tall trees with the number “6” painted on numerous tree trunks to mark the
trail. The trail curves around and descends a slope crossing a bridge over a small creek at the bottom and entering a very scenic area. The route crosses another wooden bridge over a small dry creek and climbs a set of wooden stairs with a single railing up to the top of the hill. Here the path heads off to the right through an open meadow along the tree line. The trail continues along between the edge of a meadow and the edge of the escarpment on the right before descending along a gradual slope and across another flat wooden bridge over a stream.  A white crown sparrow marks our arrival at the intersection of Trail #6 with Trail #4 (005) where a map of the park trails can be found.

005 - 006 | 5.1 kmTrail #4, named the Scarlet Tanager Trail, goes off to the left climbing a slope and giving a great view of the creek to the right and then follows the top of the ridge. Wandering through the woods along the edge of the escarpment brings you to a bench (006) where you can rest for a bit to admire the views of the valley below.

006 - 007 | 5.6 kmThe path now leaves the woods and enters a field approaching the hydro transmission lines where hawks can be seen screeching overhead. At the intersection with Trail #5 (007), go right and follow the Hemlock Valley Trail.

007 - 008 | 6.3 kmThis trail, which passes almost immediately under the transmission lines again, passes through a fairly open field with sparse shrubbery. The path passes a stand of young soft-needle hemlock trees as it wanders along the edge of the ravine on the right. Soon you will arrive at the intersection of the Trail #5 loop (008) where we head off to the right continuing our counter-clockwise movement along the trail system in the park.

008 - 009 | 6.5 kmDeer are prominent in this area of hemlock trees as are wild turkeys. Soon an old rusty harrow (009) comes into view as the trail wanders close to the edge of the ravine where nuthatches can be seen in the hemlock trees.

009 - 008 | The route crosses one wooden bridge and then another flat wooden 8 m long bridge over a dry creek. The trail makes a U-loop and passes over another long flat wooden bridge with a fallen tree across the span. Arriving back at the beginning of the loop (008), turn right.

008 - 007 | Continue back to intersection (007) where you also turn right back onto Trail #4 and head downhill.

007 - 010 | 9.6 kmSoon you cross another bridge over a small creek with a blue jay screaming overhead.  The trail crosses through the bottom of the valley and comes to a second resting bench before crossing a creek bed and continuing through the woods.  Passing through another open meadow area you arrive at the intersection of Trails # 2, 4 & 6 (010). Take Trail #6 (BT) off to the right.

010 - 011 | 10.2 Then at the fork be sure to take Trail #6 (BT) to the left as this area can be confusing. The trail comes to a creek without a bridge and is difficult to cross when there is a volume of water in the creek. Follow the informal trail along the creek to the right where it is much easier to cross by stepping on stones in the creek bed near the fallen tree across the creek. Make your way back to the trail on the other side and continue on.
The trail comes to the spectacular Terrace Creek Falls (011) with its double stream of water and then climbs a steep hill up to the crest of the falls and then follows along the edge of the escarpment.

011 - 012 | Trail #6 meets Trail #2 (012) where you turn left onto Trail #2 (BT) a short ways until you come to the continuation of Trail #6 on your right.

012 - 013 | 12.8 kmThis continuation of the Terrace Creek Trail wanders through the tall beech trees of Cataract Woods before entering a field of small shrubs, golden rod, Queen Anne’s Lace, chicory and some milkweed before coming out to the farm lane again (013).

013 - 001 | 15.3 kmTurn right and follow Trail #2 (BT) back to the starting point. Keep a lookout for deer along the way back.

Enjoy the hike and the day! [hike updated 09 Aug 08 & 07 Jan 2012]

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