Keyhole side Trail
Bruce Trail, Map 22
Distance- 6-10 km depending on route
Difficulty- Mostly easy
I took an unplanned hike on the Bruce trail (map 22) last week. Parked at the concession 10 and 12/13 side road and followed the main trail around until reaching the Keyhole side trail. Took this short trail back to the main trail and returned to the car. Unfortunately, we did not have time to wander over to the lookouts or the Hamilton Bros. side trail. Having seen both several times before I can attest that it is worth while doing.
From the beginning it was wet. It is evident everywhere that lots of rain has fallen here this spring. The first kilometre is part of the old road and even if I can say there were no ponds, the puddles were numerous. Feet mostly dry we climbed into a section of mature hardwoods and shortly turned into a cultivated field. From there into a field being over taken by trees.
At the bottom end of the field you can see the remains of a large pond now over grown with long grass and a small stream running through it.
Next you move through a section of bush that has grown densely around the trail and enter a small cedar section, then back into ahardwood section. This trail has a amazing diversity of plant growth in a very short distance. Following along you regain a semblance of an old road and eventually come into another old field and a boardwalk across a marshy section. Look close you can see the remains of a foundation up against the bluff.
A short walk brings you to the base of the bluffs on one side and the swamp on the other. Can you say “mosquitos”? If you survive you will eventually come out at a parking lot (mile 20.4) and from here you turn down another old road that is great for walking. Once off the road you must pay attention to the trail markings, there are side trails and old roads that are not trails, pay attention.
We continued along the main trail until we hit the keyhole side trail. Who can resist a walk through a rocky, cold ravine where you can touch both sides with your hands. Even if you are continuing on the main trail do not miss spending some time here. If you have kids then be prepared to spend a lot of time. The actual area is not large but is fun to explore. We got lost. How you can get lost following a ravine that towers 20 feet over your head is a mystery but we did, and we loved it. The other spot not to miss is the lookout, just watch the kids and dogs because it is not fenced and trees grow right up to the edge in places.
Finally, back on track, we followed the Nottawasaga side trail down and over a bridge with a decent size stream running under it (dog cooling spot) and back out the way we had come.
For me this is a great place for the family to spend the day. You can just do the lookout and the keyhole if you want or others with more stamina can do the whole loop and side trails.
Please support the Bruce Trail. Become a member, benefits are numerous and your support does make a difference. Visit http://brucetrail.org . Second buy a map, maybe the best 3 dollars you will spend. Not only do you get a map but also a written description of the trail, scenic points, side trails, parking locations etc.