Last weekend, I finally took my long overdue trip to the Elora Gorge. Although we didn’t go tubing, the area itself was full of life and we enjoyed a hike along the trails. We also went to see the “Kissing Bridge” not long ago, walking across and snapping a few photos. Aside from the day trips close to home, Ontario has so much to offer!
Our visit to the Elora Gorge this past weekend featured a 2km nature walk along the Grand River. The trail was a little muddier than preferred due to the overly rainy weather lately (and the mosquitoes were feisty too as a result), but the scenery was lovely and I even saw two hawks near the lookout point. We also stopped to take a few pictures of the rushing river and some shots at “Hole-in-the-Rock”. The conservation area was well maintained, but the trails were a little difficult to navigate at times due to varying levels of rocks as well as mud. It also got busy very fast. We arrived early at about 8:30am as I suspected the crowds would be rolling in late morning due to the long weekend and turned out I was right. By the time we got back to the car (about 10:00am), the parking lot where we had parked earlier with just one other car was nearly full. I would like to plan a trip to check out the Elora Quarry another time.
Additionally, we stopped at the Pilkington Outlook enroute to Waterloo, which was surprisingly stunning (though we didn’t go all the way down) – worth a quick stop.
Planning your trip: Visit following a few days of dry weather and go early if possible. The trails are mostly shaded and will be muddy if venturing out after a few days of rain. There are lots of spots for a picnic lunch (with tables provided), so pack a meal if spending the day. Also, bring bug spray and lots of it!
For my birthday, I wanted to go to the “Kissing Bridge” (West Montrose Covered Bridge) as I had heard that it is one of the oldest local landmarks in the Grand River Area (and the last covered bridge in Ontario) and was curious to see it. We visited in the morning on a Saturday and it was fairly quiet with very few tourists around (it’s located off the main roads near some residential houses). Some historical information about the bridge was posted nearby and a new kiosk had just gone up with heritage and trail information. The bridge itself is quite picturesque and located right over the Grand River. There is a small shop across the bridge as well, which was unfortunately not open.
We decided to stop by Huron Natural Area in Kitchener on the way home, which was also lovely. The park had various trail options, washrooms, was family and dog friendly, and offered easy to navigate paths.
Planning your trip: Bring a camera (and a wide-angle lens if possible)! Parking is located close by the bridge, but is limited so try to go early or during off hours (biking there might also be an option).
Tobermory is one of my favourite spots, with crystal clear waters featuring sunken ships and a cute little harbor town – the whole area is beautiful and incredibly scenic. I visited many times as a kid and into my later teen years, but it has been 5 years since I was last up near the Bruce Peninsula. At the time, there was a campground there called “Cha Moa Zah”, where we had stayed on a few occasions and that offered teepee camping and a taste of Native culture (which unfortunately has closed in the last few years). We also stayed often at the Peacock Inn, which features small cabins or motel style rooms for 2-8 people and is a short walk from town and the water – I highly recommend it.
Being able to swim in both Lake Huron and Georgian Bay is also pretty cool, as the water experiences vary greatly depending on where you swim (large waves versus calm waters). Little Cove (rocky beach with deep waters) and Dunks Bay (sandy beach with shallow waters and a few sand bars) are tourist hot spots on the Georgian Bay side, and Singing Sands on the Huron side is, in my opinion, the most family oriented beach (all sand and you have to walk quite far out to reach deep waters). I visited Flowerpot Island as a child and also quite enjoyed the glass bottom boat tours and seeing the sunken ships. Taking the Chi-Cheemaun ferry across to Manitoulin Island during a lightning storm with a dog was also quite an adventure! The Tobermory area is also a hot dive spot for those interested in what lies beneath… I still need to visit the Grotto, which I regret not doing sooner.
Planning your trip: The Peacock Inn was in high demand 5 years ago and I image even more so these days, so book well in advance if you need accommodations. Book a glass-bottom boat tour – you won’t be disappointed! Plan out which beaches you want to hit up and go early – take an afternoon drive to explore the area, looking for local and hidden beach fronts…
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.