The Bruce Trail Day 7: How the F Did We Get So Lost

On Saturday, April 13th at 11:45am we started back on the trail behind St Josephs Hospital (Km 36.6 on BTC map 8) where we left off the last time. It was a beautiful day (+11 and a little windy) and we had planned on covering ~20 kms from St Joes to Tews Falls in Dundas. Following our rookie move last time, we made sure to check for trail closures & reroutes and compared the BTC guide to AllTrails. We had marked where we parked on our Garmin GPS, on our phones and also had Map 8 of the Bruce Trail Guide & AllTrails on hand for reference. Needless to say, we felt like we covered our bases before heading out.

The first few kilometers of the trail were really well groomed, great for families and bicycles. The trail passes over the Dundurn Stairs (thank the Lord), goes through a tunnel and crosses a seriously over engineered bridge over a teeny tiny creek before coming to a lookout point and our first waterfall of the hike. The trail is still well groomed and we were wondering if it was going to be like the the whole way.

We crossed the 403 for the last time before crossing Fillman Road and that’s when we started to see the Bruce that we’ve grown to love. The trail is very rocky and steep with lots of stairs (yippee) leading to Tiffany Falls Conservation Area , which we were looking forward to stopping at for lunch (~9km into the hike). We started to run into more hikers the closer we got to the Conservation area so we kept our eyes open for the blue markers indicating the side trail for the falls.

After checking AllTrails and the BTC map, we figured we missed the side trail since we heard falls but couldn’t seem to find them. Just as we were figuring out the next best place to stop, lo and behold, we finally saw the Tiffany Falls side trail sign (400m from the falls – exciting!) and our first blue marker. We could hear water and rushed around the corner to see…….well…….Tiffany, if that’s you… go girl.

Pretty sure that wasn’t Tiffany, but if you are on this section of the trail good luck finding the side trail because it isn’t marked in both directions.

After leaving the Tiffany Falls Conservation area, we made our way to Sherman Falls. The trail is well groomed here and leads right to the falls. The Bruce Trail is still clearly marked and easy to follow and takes you through park to Dundas Valley Conservation area. The trail through Dundas Valley was well groomed and we saw lots of bicycles and families out enjoying the day. There is a side trail to Canterbury Falls but we opted to stay on the main trail as we were approximately 12km into our hike and had another 10km to go.

We came up to the ruins of Hermitage House, it has quite the history and you can read more about here if you like history and here if you like ghost stories.

We made our way past the Rail House and along Dundas Valley Golf course along the railway tracks heading towards Webster and Tews Falls. This is where things got hairy. After comparing AllTrails and the BTC Map 8, which were both different for this section of the trail, we decided to use AllTrails as it seemed to shave ~5km off of the hike.

The Bruce Trail comes out at Woodley Line & King Street and that is where things went wonky. When we exited the trail, we could see construction to our right and other hikers being rerouted our way to an opening that lead to the railway tracks and crosses over. The BTC trail entrance (per the map) was a few km further down the tracks but the AllTrails map showed us as almost being on the trail. We came to a Trail Closed sign and immediately thought “we should turn around” but, like lemmings, we followed a crowd of hikers & bikers past the sign and onto a very well travelled trail that split left and right. Looking at both options and the AllTrails app, and considering we had hiked this area in 2011, we thought we familiar with it, so we chose “right” and this was wrong. Very very wrong. You see, the Bruce Trail used to go through the park on the Websters Falls side but at the request of CN Rail, the trail has been closed and has not maintained.

We were still following AllTrails at this point but were not confident with our decision but we kept seeing families with small children on this part of the trail so we thought if small children can handle this trail then so can we so we kept going, all the while doubting our decision but not wanting to be “one upped” by 5 year olds. Then, like a beacon in the night, we saw the white blazes of the Bruce Trail (jubilee!). We started following them (again…lemmings) and, like lemmings, almost went over a cliff. We assumed, very incorrectly, that Webster Falls was like the good old days where you could walk right up to the edge of a waterfall, or even better, run underneath it, like we did in 2011.

As it turns out, the days of throwing caution to the wind are over at Websters falls and there is no longer a trail from the top of the falls to the bottom. Let me rephrase that, there certainly is a trail that people should NOT be using and we do not recommend taking any of the side trails from the railway tracks to Webster Falls. We didn’t realize just how wrong we were until we made it out and had to hop a fence. This also added another 5km onto our hike (total of ~28kms tracked on the Garmins) walking out of the parking lot, down a road and into the Tews lot where we parked. We got to the car at 7:15pm and were so tired we didn’t even check out Tews Falls.

4 thoughts on “The Bruce Trail Day 7: How the F Did We Get So Lost

    1. We are still undecided on AllTrails. It’s great that anyone can log a new route but there is no governance on the site to make sure the routes aren’t dangerous so we have found ourselves off track on a few occasions. What has your experience been with AllTrails?

      Liked by 1 person

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