Jennie Elmslie
Certified nature nut - lover of all things natural, above and below the ground
Beaver Valley Locator Map

One of the things I love most about Grey County is the Niagara Escarpment, and through my company Free Spirit Tours, I have been able to introduce thousands of people to this natural wonder. Who knew a geological feature could provide so much?  

It’s a ridge of limestone rock, sort of like a spine, that winds its way from the Niagara region up to Tobermory. Not only is the Niagara Escarpment home to the Bruce Trail, providing world-class hiking opportunities; it also boasts some of the best rock climbing in Ontario.

Rock Climbing

Climbing is very much a personal experience with the rock. Even though you have a partner who is belaying you (holding the rope as you climb), it truly feels like it’s just you and the rock. Each time you climb, it's an opportunity to start a conversation between the rock and yourself. It’s also an opportunity to get to know you better.

When rock climbing, you can’t think of anything else but the act of climbing. Where is your next handhold? Where to put your feet? What is the texture of the rock? Any other concerns don’t matter when you are climbing. All that matters is that you are on that rock face and this experience belongs to you.

One of my personal favourite locations to rock climb is Metcalfe Rock. There are loads of climbs for all levels of climbers here - from beginner to advance. It never disappoints.

Another fun experience Metcalfe Rock has to offer is its caves. However, these caves are definitely not for those who are claustrophobic.

Dad and son caving

I love caving because it's so physical; having to use every part of your body to get through so many different small spaces. Also it’s like being a kid all over again; exploring areas where you don't know what's around the corner or in front of you. Yes, it's that dark!

Caving is hard to describe. It’s exciting, challenging, a wee bit scary, but super fun. Exploring caves should never be done alone, and it is recommended that you always go with someone who knows the caves.

Even though both rock climbing and caving can provide profound individual experiences, they are also experiences that are fun to share with others. Whether they are able to coach you through a tough section or just congratulate you when you’re back on solid ground, it’s nice to know that others can share in your joy of doing something you love.

I encourage you to go out and explore the Niagara Escarpment. Give rock climbing and/or caving a try. It’s always a treat to be out in nature taking in the beauty of the area while trying a new sport. It will invigorate your soul.

Metcalfe Rock

The Niagara Escarpment in Grey County provides magic. The magic of climbing, feeling elated when you get to the top of a really tough climb. The magic of caving, discovering a new passageway to an area that you never knew existed. Who doesn't like magic?

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