Many years ago, I had the privilege of spending some time hiking the Tobermory section the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada alongside Fido. The scenery was filled with some of the most spectacular views and lookouts I have ever seen, the weather was incredible, and overall it remains one of the most phenomenal hiking trips I have taken.
I recently was invited to explore some more of the Bruce Trail, though this time with snowshoes on, and a little known section just outside of Flesherton, ON called Hoggs Falls. Surprisingly accessible, the parking lot for Hoggs Falls is just 2 km outside of the downtown center.
View Hoggs Falls
To be perfectly honest I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Flesherton is a quaint community located about an hour and a half north of Toronto, it is winter, and my experience with the Bruce in Beaver Valley was next to none, but you’ve got to start somewhere I suppose. Fido and I packed up the car and away we went. After a bit of difficulty finding the parking lot – it turns out it just hadn’t been plowed, we parked along the narrow dirt road behind some other cars and began our adventure. The snow was incredible, and with a plethora of wide open fields it was the perfect place for Fido to get a really great romp in. There were a number of steeper climbs, but overall the trail was pretty well used during them so it wasn’t too difficult.
About an hour into our adventure, that all changed however. I cannot say whether it was a reflection of the fact it is winter, or if this is just a common problem along many side trails off the Bruce, but all of a sudden the path we were on disappeared. Snowmobile trails jutted in one direction, directly opposite the direction we needed to follow, while deer tracks took off in another. So after making a quick check of the compass (definitely a mandatory requirement on this adventure!), off we went to break some trail. The hills suddenly became much steeper, the snow much deeper, and as it would turn out there is a large amount of flowing water in the area – something to make sure both you and Fido are quite wary of.
Trail breaking through this area is not exactly a cup of tea, and although a many good laughs were had, this was not an experience for the novice dog or owner. Although some of the views were well worth the adventure, overall this section of the Bruce Trail was found to be quite poorly marked in winter, and aside from the odd snowmobile track, not well maintained at all. The Bruce continues to be one of my favorite places to feel totally in the wild while just outside of the city – though its important to recognize that with that comes all of the necessities of wild spaces. You need to come prepared. Although the adventure on snowshoes was fantastic with so much snow, with so little packed trail if Fido is not used to it s/he will fatigue much quicker than usual. In the end though, if you are willing to find it, Hoggs Falls is well worth searching for!