The Sydenham Section of the Bruce Trail winds its way along the Niagara Escarpment for about 170 kilometres between the now abandoned pioneer settlement of Blantyre, on Grey County Road 7 and Bluewater Park in downtown Wiarton.
Along the way, it passes through hardwood forests and farms, past wetlands, small creeks and features some beautiful lookouts over the Big Head valley.
Turning north, the Trail soon arrives at the Bognor Marsh Management Area. Bognor Marsh includes upland forests, three major marshes, natural regeneration areas, and several small springs feeding the marsh and stream system, which are home to a variety of waterfowl and other marsh-living animals, birds and plants. The Trail passes by an education shelter, and follows boardwalks with interpretive signs, and a viewing tower from which to enjoy the marsh and its inhabitants.
The Trail then heads out to the Bayview Nature Escarpment Reserve, with broad, sweeping outlooks over the Meaford Tank Range, and beyond to Georgian Bay and as far as Collingwood.
Returning toward Owen Sound, you hike through the Sydenham Forests, and soon arrive at the Centennial Tower, with its exceptional views of the Owen Sound re-entrant valley. From the Tower you head south again through some spectacular fern glens and then you follow community trails to spectacular Inglis Falls at Inglis Falls Conservation Area. Heading north from Inglis Falls the Trail reaches the "West Rocks" at West Rocks Management Area and past some great lookouts over the city.
Heading north from Owen Sound the Trail enters the Pottawatomi Conservation Area where you can stand atop the lip of Jones Falls looking straight down as the water plunges over the Escarpment.
The Trail leaves Owen Sound via the Georgian Bluff Rail Trail, and soon arrives at The Glen Management Area. This horseshoe shaped indentation in the Escarpment was carved millennia ago by glaciers. As you walk along the cliff tops, you can look down into a sea of green that contains a significant wetland and waterfowl population.
Continuing north, you’ll hike through the Lindenwood property, which was purchased by the BTC in 2009, with donations from many members and other conservation minded individuals, to preserve and protect a large tract of Escarpment land for perpetuity.
Further north, you will climb an old road allowance over Kemble Mountain [Kemble Mountain Management Area] before coming out along a road section. The section from Kemble Mount to Dodd's Hill is filled with fissures and is another SBTC fern paradise - watch for walking ferns and much more.
After passing by the 'Slough of Despond' you come to what is viewed by many as the gem of the Sydenham Section - the 11 km stretch from Skinner's Bluff to the Bruce's Caves Conservation Area parking lot. [Skinner Bluff Management Area]
Along here there are many spectacular lookouts over Colpoys Bay and many great spots for a picnic lunch (see picture to right). Another 7 km past Bruce's Caves will bring you to Bluewater Park in Wiarton where we link up with the Peninsula section.
Overnight camping areas are located at or near:
km 1.6 (Map 28, Edition 27), Ambrose Camp
km 20.0 (Map 29, Edition 27), Bighead Campsite
see Map 32, Edition 27 and Harrison Park Side Trail, Harrison Park website 519-371-9734
km 118.3.0 (The Glen; Map 33, Edition 27),
km 0.4 Peninsula section, Map 35, Edituion 27 - at Bluewater Beach Park (519-534-2592) in Wiarton
Open fires on the trail are not permitted and any natural water source should be considered unsafe unless boiled.
Many of the natural areas are noted for their varied plants, especially ferns, some of which are quite rare.
There is ample opportunity for skiing or snow shoeing in areas like Massie Hills, Inglis Falls, above the Owen Sound's west rocks, and in 'The Glen'. There are several enjoyable side trails - consult your up-to-date Bruce Trail Reference for more information.
Waterfalls of Grey County
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words... - Owen Sound Area Internet Community (OSAIC)
Grey County Tourism
County of Grey - includes links to Trails in County Forests, Grey Roots: Your Heritage & Visitor Centre, and Visitor Information.
Street map of Wiarton
... more links to local website.