Getting outside is the perfect way to enjoy fall in Grey County, and doing so safely is important. Brilliant fall colours are close to peaking, and the weather has definitely been on our side. In order to avoid crowded hiking locations this fall, we suggest discovering some of these lesser known gems, where the colours are just as stunning and you won’t have to wait in line for the perfect photo op.
We've also mapped our public outdoor locations including waterfalls, trail access points, and scenic lookouts so that you can find comprehensive and accurate information, including notes on crowding and foot traffic.
This recently acquired section of the Bruce Trail has it all—the story of a mysterious plane crash, a selection of great fossils and the remains of an early homestead, complete with an abandoned well. To begin your Silent Valley adventure, park at the North end of the 2nd Concession South near Bognor. From here, you will take the Silent Valley Side Trail. Depending on the length of hike you’re after, you can take the longer Avalanche Side Pass or the shorter Wilson Homestead Side Trail. If you choose the Avalanche Side Pass you will see where glaciers made their way along the Niagara Escarpment, depositing giant boulders along the edge of the cliff face. If you take the Wilson Homestead Side Trail, you’ll be visiting the ruins of an early settler’s homestead, complete with a hand-dug well. Just past the homestead, you’ll find the wreckage of a 1970’s plane crash with an educational plaque explaining what happened.
Managed by the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, this property is located between Hanover and Durham, just south of Grey Road 4 off Allan Park Road. With over 160 hectares of rolling forest landscape and the impressive pond area, the fall colour views are pretty amazing. There are just over 15km of trails that cater to a wide range of users, using boardwalks, gravel and dirt surfaces. The scenic land characteristics within Allan Park are part of the Horseshoe Moraine. The rolling topography, reaching an elevation of 30 metres (100 feet), gives way to kettle lakes and cold water springs. Hike to the top of the hills nearest the parking lot to enjoy an overview of the gorgeous scenery! While most of the trails consist of hard-packed surfaces, gravel and boardwalk are also incorporated.
One of the largest marsh systems in Grey County, if you haven’t visited the Bognor Marsh yet, put it on your fall must-see list. The fall colours often peak early in swamp lands so you’re in for a real treat. It’s located along Grey Road 18, just east of Rockford and managed by Grey Sauble Conservation Authority. This amazing area is a favourite spot for birders and is teeming with fish, reptiles and amphibians. It includes 668 hectares of escarpment upland forests, three major marshes, a Ducks Unlimited dam, Bruce Trail access, reforested areas and several small springs. While there are 11.9 kilometres of trails, you can take even young children on an easy hike through the marsh along the boardwalks and up the observation tower for a great view of the entire marsh deck out in colour for fall. Take time to read the interpretive plaques along the way, and be sure to pack your binoculars to see how many bird species you can spot. *Please note that the northeast portion of the property has a logging operation going on and is therefore closed.
With 4.6kms of trails, including shorter loop options, this is the perfect hiking spot for families or beginner hikers. Located west of Dornoch off Grey Road 25, you will head north on Chatsworth Township Concession 6 a short distance until you see the parking area on your right. Many natural springs, swampy areas and small ponds add to the beauty of the rolling landscape in this 141 hectare property. Managed by the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, this property is adjacent to Ontario Nature’s Krug Forest, one of the few remaining old-growth forests in the area. The area is characterized by irregular, stoney knobs and ridges of glacial till.
This 108 hectare property with roughly 2.5km of hiking trails, is an area of great diversity, overlooking the beautiful waters of Georgian Bay. It is managed by Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and there is a small parking fee for the day use area. It also features an interpretive 1.7 km trail loop with 15 information stations that was constructed by the Friends of Hibou group. It can take up to 1.5 hours to complete this hike, if you stop and read at each station. There is also a sandy beach, picnic pavilion and washrooms on site. You will be able to see the Georgian Bay shoreline dotted with the reds and golds for some distance, along the east side. The truly hearty may want to try and squeeze in one last open water swim here. With the right weather conditions, the water in this part of Georgian Bay can stay warm right up until Thanksgiving weekend!
Please remember to hike responsibly and stay safe:
- Obey all on-site signage
- Practice physical distancing from those outside your family unit/bubble
- Bring your face coverings
- Avoid touching built structures where possible
- Carry water and hand sanitizer
- Have a bag to pack out your garbage
- Some picnic tables and picnic shelters may be off limits