Thursday, August 29, 2019

Inglis Falls, Owen Sound, Ontario, August 21, 2019

Inglis Falls via Harrison Park, Hub and Bruce Trails, Owen Sound ON, 8/21/19.

Mileage: 4.2 miles RT

Elevation gain: 270'

Directions to trailhead: Hike begins at Harrison Park, 75 2nd Ave E, Owen Sound, ON, Canada. Once in the park, access the trail via Mile Drive Trail or through the campground.  Trail entrance is adjacent to a park bridge (see map below).

The Bruce Trail is a 550 mile long point-to-point footpath in Ontario that stretches from the Niagara River to Tobermory.  It is the oldest and longest marked hiking trail in Canada. The trail offers spectacular bay and cliff viewpoints as it follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. Click here for more information on the Bruce Trail.

Hiked with Toby today.  We did a quick hike in Wiarton in the morning (to Spirit Rockbefore heading southeast to Owen Sound.

At Harrison Park we parked the car and walked past picnic tables and playgrounds looking for the entrance to the trails. The camp office helped us out with directions and a park map. (This map is limited to park amenities and shows only the entrance to the trail system.)   

Instead of passing through the campground, we opted to cross a lower bridge and walk "Mile Drive Trail" to the end, where we crossed a second bridge and found the trail entrance on the left.

Park entrance (Photo courtesy of Woodall's).

Just past the bridge is a sign. Turn left.

Trail starts slightly uphill.

The route to the falls is well marked and getting there is easy provided you pay attention to blazes and signs.  There are plenty of lefts and rights; a labyrinth of trails - all lovely paths.  

There's a left up ahead.

Blue blazed side trail connects to the Bruce Trail. Turn right.

We crossed power lines - with beautiful wild flowers.

The route is an entertaining combination of woods, streams, fields and power lines - and an arboretum!

There's not a lot of uphill trekking, particularly in the first half of the hike.

After you pass the buildings and parking of the Grey Sauble Arboretum, the trail swings left and downhill.  There are cross trails in this area but the main trail is pretty obvious.

Approaching the arboretum.

Slight downhill.

Cross the Sydenham River here.

There's a trail junction here where the side trail from Harrison Park (blue) meets the Hub trail (red). Follow the red and blue to the junction of the Bruce Trail.

And just like that, we were on the Bruce Trail.

It's exciting to be on the Bruce Trail -  I wanted to follow it to the end!  (That would take us weeks.) But today Inglis Falls will be our turnaround.

This portion of trail briefly follows the river; very cool and soothing. Salmon make the swim from Georgian Bay to here to spawn in the fall.  Many come to view this event.

There are several boardwalks over wet areas.

And just as we were feeling zen, the path turns rooty and rugged, giving us our first serious incline. 

One of a series of uphills (got our blood going).

Love this little path between a mini "escarpment."

The uphill is short lived and we're back on the flat in no time.  We'd pretty much topped out; the falls is a few minutes' walk from here.

We passed restrooms and the Discovery Center, crossed the parking lot and continued for a few hundred feet to an overview of the falls.

The approach.

The Discovery Center is housed in an old mill.

The falls are a spectacular 59 feet tall. Beyond the falls the Bruce Trail continues with a series of stairs leading down, allowing visitors access to the bottom of the cascade.  

Witness the Sydenham River spilling down the Niagara Escarpment.

View from the top of the falls.

After many photos, we headed back to Harrison Park, following the signs and blazes through the many rights and lefts that led us back to our car. On the way back we stopped in at Big Bay General Store for ice cream!

The falls are a must-see and for sure I will be back on the Bruce Trail in the future.  

Map of Harrison Park.  Trail head is at the top.