Heading home from the cottage, we made a stop along the Blue Mountains section of the Bruce Trail to check out Devils Glen Provincial Park and the Mad River. This is one of the hillier sections of the Bruce Trail; if you aren’t going up, you’re going down again, with one very small exception along the top of the ski hills.
Parking is within the Devils Glen Provincial Park, which is a small lot off of Highway 124, between Concession 10 and Concession 8 Nottawasaga Roads. (You could probably also park within the Devils Glen Country Club, but I don’t know if they charge anything.) From the parking lot, the Bruce Trail heads both north and south; you’ll want to follow it south, away from the road. Not far in, you’ll come to a fork.
The Devils Glen signage points you in the right direction, and you head down in to the valley of the Mad River. If you carry on straight, you will be brought to a viewing platform.
I do love informative signs, though we were heading in the opposite direction of the highest point in Southern Ontario. Just another trip to add to the list.
Despite it being a quite bright and sunshiney morning, the descent in to the Devils Glen was rather gloomy. At some point, the trail must had descended even further in to the valley, but seems to have been diverted for some time now. Still a good set of stairs to use elsewhere.
The gloom subsided as we climbed back out of the deepest point of the trail, and sunshine filtered back through the trees as we neared the Mad River.
With a name like Mad River, I had much expected a more rapids-full waterway, but it was actually quite calm. And low, considering the amount of rain we’d been getting.
We followed it for a time, and were lead in to the Devils Glen Country Club grounds (right at the parking lot, where you may or may not be able to begin your journey.) From here, you cross the Mad River and keep right to follow it along the opposite side you just passed.
Somewhere between some of the little buildings there, we managed to find the Bruce Trail again, hidden in the bush. It keeps you closer to the Mad River, but you can also make your way across the ski hills and in to the forest on the far side to find the trail again.
This is of course the Most Difficult section of the trail. Thankfully, it is still early on, and we have some sort of energy reserves still with us. Normally, we laugh at the Difficulty Ratings, just as we did at the bottom of this switchback. However, I will be the first to admit that this was actually pretty difficult, considering we were not only climbing the escarpment but also battling the mud sliding us back down.
Needless to say, I didn’t take many pictures here.
Up at the top, we get a slight reprieve from all the ups and downs. This is about as flat at this trail gets, so enjoy it.
A few more ups and downs, and we’re brought out to some fields with a lot of intersections. Just keep heading straight, along what might be the Country Club’s trail 1.
After the fields, there is some zig-zagging through a small bit of forest, then you get dumped out on the a single lane access road. To your right is the Mad River Side Trail. To your left is the main Bruce Trail, leading over to the Nottawasaga Bluffs Conservation Area.
This is also the Western Terminus of the Ganaraska Trail. The Mad River side trail follows it east for a bit, until they split in Glen Huron at Concession 8 Nottawasaga Road.
We made a quick descent along the access road, also known as Sideroad 15 and 16 Nottawasaga, also known as the Ganaraska Trail, also known as the Mad River side trail.
It offers some great views of the Ontario farmlands.
The Mad River side trail follows Concession 8 into Glen Huron. From here, you cut past the Hamilton Bros building to once again meet up with river.
Say hello to the furballs as you pass. We tried to pet this guy, but he wasn’t having it.
This part of the trail is by far the most overgrown. And wet. Very wet. You have the Mad River on your right, barely a foot below the bank your walking on. On the left, there is a ditch filled with more water. Despite this, the trail wasn’t nearly as soggy as expected but I wouldn’t be surprised to find this section impassable after very heavy rains.
Back in the Devils Glen Country Club’s domain, you’ll come across old Sly’s Cabin.
We tried to take a closer look, but didn’t want to risk losing our shoes in the mud. This was snapped accidentally as I tried to haul myself back out of the mud pit I’d walked in to.
As it turns out, we were indeed following the Country Club’s trail 1 for the most part, which seems to carry two names.
Nearing the end of our loop, we found one slightly more angry part of the Mad River. But only slightly.
Back through the parking lot, welcoming us to Devils Glen Country Club. From here we continued on back to our parking lot within Devils Glen Provincial Park.
391m elevation gain