Nottawasaga Bluffs Loop


Nottawasaga Bluffs Loop

Distance: 4 km

Difficulty: Moderate with strenuous sections in the caves

View Trail Map Here

The Nottawasaga Bluffs Loop is a local favourite due to the stunning lookout and intricate system of caves and crevices that the trail offers.


The Keyhole Side Trail is one that will be sure to delight. It descends the Escarpment slope past huge, broken rocks, passing through small crevices and narrow openings. Ferns and mosses cover the walls as the crevice narrows to shoulder width. Finally the Trail leads you down to the Keyhole, where you have to take off your pack, set it on the other side, and then pop your body through the rock opening (if it is too difficult you can cross over the outcrop before descending into the final crevice).

The Trail then joins the Nottawasaga Bluffs Side Trail. Turn left, and follow the Trail uphill to rejoin the Escarpment plateau. Soon it meets the main Trail, and here is a short blue-blazed trail that goes out to the bluffs. Your view will be the talus slope below and the farms and green fields to the south. In the fall the coloured leaves can make it a spectacular view. At the end of these lookouts are the Best Caves, named after a local landowner. About 30 to 40 caves honeycomb the area, and make another playground for the adventurous. The largest is The Well, 10 metres deep with four levels, the deepest of which is covered in ice even in summer.

After another 100 m, follow the blazes on the right for a short distance as they drop down to Freedom Rock, an outcrop that has separated from the Escarpment. What is so surprising is the collection of social aphorisms that have been lovingly inscribed in the rock. Many concern some aspect of freedom: access to the courts, the right to free education, and the need for land rationing.

Returning to the top of the Escarpment, continue straight ahead to the east. You traverse
pleasant woods as the Trail swings north (or left) on a ridge. After 1.5 km you reach the 15-16 Sideroad, at this point a seldom-used track, which leads you in a westerly direction (left) back to the parking area.

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