Trip Report: Bayview Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve

Bayview Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve

We decided we were taking full advantage of the weekend this time, even though the weather was being even less cooperative than yesterday. Packed up the cottage and headed out towards Meaford again, towards the Bayview Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve. This is just off of Highway 26, on St. Vincent-Sydenham Townline.

We started out later than anticipated, waiting for a little sunshine and warmth to melt the freezing rain from last night (at least from the roads).

Bayview Escarpment Trail Map

There are 3 roadside parking locations here. The first from 26 will get you on the main Bruce Trail. The second and third will set you on to the loop we did today. We chose the second stop, and parked at the beginning of the River Kwai side trail.

Bayview Escarpment 01

The roads were nice, but the trees and trail and bush were covered in ice.

Bayview Escarpment 02

The sun made the ice shine on those treetops, but I still think yesterday’s trees were nicer, even with the overcast sky.

Bayview Escarpment 03

We wound our way through a bunch of small, gnarly (crab apple?) trees and bushes and tall grass. Our trekking poles kept getting hooked on everything.

Bayview Escarpment 04

We eventually made our way in to a real forested area. Pretty sure it was haunted, or at least that is what the fog wanted us to believe.

Bayview Escarpment 05

At this point it started to ‘rain’ chunks of ice on us from the treetops swaying in the wind. Luckily we were sheltered from the wind, but the ice made it like rain so I tucked my camera away for most of the trek. One less thing to worry about.

Besides the wet, the trail here is also not well marked. We lost it. Several times. Sometimes the blazes say turn, but there’s a bog there and you can see another blaze on a tree straight ahead. Sometimes the blazes don’t tell you to turn but (after some searching) you’ll find a blaze on a tree some distance to your side. A lot of the time, the blazes just don’t exist so we just carried on in the general direction of the trail until we found another blaze.

Bayview Escarpment 06

The turkeys, however, know the trail very well. We followed their tracks for several kilometers up this eastern side of the loop. It sure seemed like they knew where they were going. At the upper northeast corner of the Bayview Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve, the trail skirts around the Meaford Canadian Forces Base. It looks like this white barrier was erected fairly recently, though a few trees have fallen, like this rogue tree, trespassing right next to the No Trespassing sign.

Bayview Escarpment 07

There were a few fallen trees over the barrier. One was heavy enough to take all four lines down, and kindly invited us in. Naturally, I couldn’t say no and stepped over #rebel. I didn’t go far, since we were wet and fairly miserable at this point, so we carried on the Bruce Trail and came across this sign, on the same barrier I just hopped over.

Bayview Escarpment 08

And that’s the story about how I almost died today.

As we neared the top of the loop, there is a side trail that cuts off the top loop. We decided to take it based on the description on the plaque.

Bayview Escarpment 09

It was a bad decision. This was clearly not the section of the loop that overlooks the Training Base. We were very disappointed.

Bayview Escarpment 10

No matter where you park, the road is a part of this trail through the Bayview Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve. We came out at what I guess is the official start at the end of the road (the third parking area) and then marched along the road back to the car.

Bayview Escarpment 11

3hrs 9 mins
252m elevation gain

Bayview Escarpment Trail Route

Have you ever gone somewhere you shouldn’t have, only to later find out there is actually a really good reason you shouldn’t be there? Tell me about it in the comments!

Happy Trails,

About Mia

I'm a weekend warrior, escaping the bustle of Toronto by exploring a new trail in south central Ontario nearly every weekend. Hiking, camping, backpacking, crafting, baking and beer are a few things you'll find here.

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