Hiking the Sydenham Section 

About the Trail

The Sydenham Section of the Bruce Trail continues northbound after the Beaver Valley section, starting in the quiet little hamlet of Blantyre, on Grey County Road 12, and then winds its way along the Niagara Escarpment for about 170 kilometres until it arrives in Bluewater Park in downtown Wiarton. 

Leaving Blantyre, the Trail passes through hardwood forests and farms, past wetlands, small creeks, the lovely Walters Falls, 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 soon passes through the BTC’s Silent Valley property, a fascinating area to explore geology, history, and cultural heritage.  Read the book for more details!  This property is one of many purchased by the BTC in recent years, with donations from many members and other conservation minded individuals, to preserve and protect tracts of Escarpment land for perpetuity.

The small community of Woodford soon greets the hiker, with Side Trails to visit more of the local geology.

The Trail then heads out to the Bayview Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve, with broad, sweeping outlooks over the Meaford Tank Range, and beyond to Georgian Bay and as far as Collingwood.

Returning toward Owen Sound (the city), you hike through the Sydenham Forests, and notice occasional outlooks to Owen Sound (the bay). The Trail soon arrives 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 the BTC's Palisades property on the “East Rocks”, eventually arriving at the well-known 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. Or take the Memorial Forest Side Trail down to the base of the falls for a closeup view!

The Trail leaves Owen Sound via the Georgian Bluff Rail Trail, wanders through the Fossil Glen property, 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 BTC's Lindenwood property. Be sure to check out the Donor recognition plaques near the parking lot!

Further north, you will visit the recently-acquired Kemble Wetlands and Kemble Rock Nature Reserves, and climb over Kemble Mountain before coming out along a road section. The section from Kemble Mountain 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 another gem of the Sydenham Section - the 11 km stretch from Skinner's Bluff to the Bruce's Caves Conservation Area parking lot. Along here there are many spectacular lookouts over Colpoys Bay and many great spots for a picnic lunch.

Another 7 km past Bruce's Caves will bring you to Bluewater Park in Wiarton where we link up with the Peninsula section.

Please Note:


A very important resource for hiking the Bruce Trail is a map!  

The Bruce Trail Reference Guide is a full set of 42 maps for the entire Bruce Trail.  Or if you just need 1 map, you can download singles here.  

Alternatively, to view maps on your phone, the new and improved Bruce Trail App is now available for Android and iOS.

Or, if you just plan to hike in the Sydenham section, take a look at some of the options listed under Sydenham Hiking Guides.


The establishment of the Bruce Trail is a work in progress. For various reasons there are changes to the trail between publications of the Bruce Trail Reference.

The Bruce Trail Users' Code

For more information, review the 'Bruce Trail 101' resources posted on the BTC website.

Trail Safety

2023 Hunting Season in Sydenham Section

Before you go, check to see if hunting is allowed in the area that you plan to hike.  If you are hiking during hunting season, wear orange clothing so that you are highly visible eg. orange hat and jacket or safety vest.

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) well known for its sap that causes an itching rash. "Leaves of Three, Let Them Be!" 

3 common forms:

Poison ivy has three almond-shaped leaflets. Leaf colour ranges from rusty brown in early spring, to light green, to dark green, and then turn bright red in fall. The milky sap of poison ivy darkens after exposure to the air.  

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed is an invasive species of plant which can also cause severe itching, skin burns, and blisters.  For more information, see the Government of Ontario Information Page.

Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases

Blacklegged Tick (also known as Deer Tick) populations which carry the infectious agents that can cause Lyme Disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus, are expanding in Ontario.  See the Government of Ontario Lyme Disease Infomation Page for prevention recommendations and further info.


Although encounters are not common in the Sydenham Section, here are some wildlife you should be aware of:

Thunder & Lightning Storms

Lightning strikes can cause serious injury and be deadly.  The trail is not a safe place to be in the middle of a lightning storm.  Review the Government of Canada's Lightning Safety Overview for more information.


There are several areas along the Sydenham section where there are deep crevices in the rock formations along the trail.  As the snow falls the crevices may become covered in snow and form snow bridges. Therefore you may not be able to see where some of the crevices are located.  Some crevices may be only 30 cm (1 foot) deep but others may be as much as 30 metres (100 feet) deep.  Stepping into a crevice could result in a knee sprain to broken bones or even death.  Crevices occur frequently along the edge of the Escarpment, but they can be even as far as a kilometre or more from the edge of the Escarpment.  Please be aware of this and keep in mind that there is a risk factor in these areas.  Whenever you snowshoe or hike, whether it be on a club hike or not, you do so at your own risk.

Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries and regions. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC. Poison Ivy photo by SWMNPoliSciProject Giant Hogweed photo by  Böhringer