Bruce Trail hike - Credit Valley, Scotsdale Farm, and Bennett Heritage sidetrail


It often seems like my most recent hike is my favourite hike, and this is no exception. Not far from Toronto, this area has a number of trails and sidetrails, so you can pick and choose according to how much time you have. While the escarpment edge isn't as dramatic here as it is in other locations, there are wonderful views, relatively deep forest, and a number of beautiful streams.

This hike is a loop, starting and ending from the interesting Scotsdale farm, with plenty of free parking, although apparently no facilities

(I've designed this page to be simple with no pictures on it so that you can print a copy and take it with you. The pictures are linked at each stage, with a camera icon and are all contained on the pictures of our hike in the Credit valley around the Scotsdale Farm page. Please send us any comments/corrections to brucetrail [at] Click here to return to the main page,) or grab some water, your hiking shoes, compass, GPS, and camera and take a hike!

Location and details of the hike:

General Location:Just east of Georgetown, north of the 401
You can see the location of this hike with other Web sites in the same area Show this hike location along with entries from other blogs!
Bruce Trail Reference 20.0StartMap #13 Credit Valley
Toronto Club
 Total Bruce Trail Distance6.7 km
(km 27.1 to km 33.8)
 Bennett Heritage Side Trail Distance3.6 km
 Irwin Quarry Side Trail Distance1.2 km

Directions to the starting point of the hike:

  1. Take the 401 West from Toronto to Trafalgar Road (exit 328)
  2. Take Trafalgar Road north
  3. Turn left at the light onto Hwy 7/Trafalgar Road
  4. Veer to the right on Trafalgar Road
  5. Continue through 27th sideroad, then at the top of the hill you will see the entrance on your right to the long driveway up to the Scotsdale Farm
  6. At the end of the driveway, through the trees, is a large parking lot, no need to park along the drive.

Hike details

We'll start by heading south on the end of the Bennett Heritage Sidetrail, then walk north up the main Brucetrail, around the Irwin Quarry Sidetail, and back down to the start of the Bennett Heritage Sidetrail back to the car. Stopping for a bit of lunch, and lots of pictures, this hike took me about 5 hours.

Part 1: South along the Bennett Heritage Sidetrail to the main Brucetrail

Leave the car and head back down the main driveway, south, towards Trafalgar Road. You'll notice the blue blazings along the trees. Ignore the first, wide trail to your left, and watch for the spot towards the top of the hill where the trail leaves the driveway and heads into the forest on your left.

The trail heads to the right, southwards back towards Trafalgar Road along a double track trail. You'll follow along an old fence line, with the sound of the traffic getting louder. Just before Trafalgar Road, the path turns to the left, and after about 15 minutes from leaving the car, down to the main trail at kilometer 27.1.

Part 2: North up the main Brucetrail

The trail here is deep in the forest, with a high canopy overhead, and crosses a creek or two. Volunteers have built a number of raised walkways over the wet parts of the trail. At times the path heads out of the forest and along the side of an old field. I noticed a few mountain bike tracks in the sections of the trail that were a bit muddy, even in October after little rain.

After about 40 minutes of hiking on the main trail, you'll see an old stone pile fence, and the Maureen Smith sidetrail (which heads west back to the Bennett Heritage Sidetrail). Continue on the main path to your right.

10 minutes later there is a short path on the left to a view across the 27th Sideroad of a barn, a map of the farm, and the sound of running water. Keep on the path, to the left, we'll see the rapids in a while. This section is a bit tough going, as there are many flat, moss covered boulders, so watch your step, while enjoying the view as well.

You've been walking roughly parallel to the 27th Sideroad for about 10 minutes before crossing the street at around kilometer 29.6

At this point the escarpment edge appears, with various small fisures and boulders. and back into the woods. (For those of you with GPSes, this is about 4335'18.45"N 7958'25.60"W)

The trail gets rockier and rockier, so it is important to watch for the white blazes on the trees, as the trail becomes more difficult to follow. You may also want to stop every so often and look up and around you, there is lots to see. You'll pass a small pond of sort, climb a few small rock hills, until on your left you'll see yet another side trail -- the 17th Sideroad trail. Keep to your right along the main trail at this point.

About 10 minutes after you pass the side trail you'll arrive at a T; turn to your left along the main trail, ignoring the wider trail to your right. You'll cross a wooden bridge, then arrive at a muddy double track road of sorts. This is the intersection of the 17th Sideroad and 3rd Line closed road allowances. Turn left (west) and follow the muddy track about 5 minutes until the trail turns to the right (north) under a chain between two trees. An informational sign on your left describes the 4 distinct environments of the area (Successional Meadow, Mature Forest, Silver Maple Swamp, and Escarpment Bedrock).

You'll see a number of remarkably man-made looking stone walls where the escarpment edge has broken up through the ground. As you continue north (north east) through the forest you'll start to hear the cars on the 4th Line, and colours of the auto-wrecker to the left, and a pond to the right. Part 1 of the hike ends about an hour and forty five minutes after leaving the car, when you arrive at the 4th Line and the Dixie Truck Centre. (At about 4336'53.13"N 7958'30.45"W on the GPS)

Part 2: Farmer's Fields

Head left (east) along the road just a little bit, then head north again over a stile just across from the truck centre. Apparently there is a foundation of an old farm house in the small wooded area here, but it is really overgrown. Head north along the narrow path at the east side of a corn field. In early October there were lots of berries, apples, and of course corn. I only saw one Bruce Trail marker, but the path is quite clear.

The trail will go over another stile and turn to the right, then through a small wood lot. There were lots (and LOTS) of crows in the trees when I was there. The trail continues north through the woods for a bit, then under the power lines and turns left (west) along the back end of the corn field. You'll pass by two of the towers then the trail turns right (north) through another set of fields (along the west side of the row of trees). There was a farmer out with a sheep dog taking care of the sheep. (For a city boy like me this was quite interesting.) Part 2 of the hike ends when you get to the 5th Line and an old stone farm building. It took me about 45 minutes to walk this section.

Part 3: Limehouse Conservation Area, 'Hole in the Wall', and the remains of an old mill along the Black Creek

Cross the 5th Line and head to your left (west) a bit, then scramble up a slight rocky hill and back into the forest. Even in October I was glad to be out of the sun of the fields. After about 10 minutes you'll see the blue-blazed Black Creek side trail, but continue on the main trail to your left. We'll come back along this side trail on our way home.

As you continue north-west the ground starts to get interesting, with more and more deep moss covered fissures. It is tough NOT to explore, but stay on the path and try not to disturb the moss, ferns, and other plants growning in and around the rocks. We'll be heading down through an even bigger fissure in just a few minutes, and you'll see what happens to the plant life with so many people around. It is also interesting to notice a few distinct rock outliers which remind me of the large southern outlier in the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park.

Pass by the the short side trail to your left, which leads to the Limehouse parking lot at the baseball diamonds along the 5th Line.

Just past the side trail you will soon see why there is a warning about the 'dangerous cliffs and slopes'. There are even more deep fissures and then you'll see the first ladder down the Hole in the Wall. As you climb down the solid wood ladder it becomes a few degrees cooler. Once you are in the Hole in the Wall you have a great view of the rock walls. Take a look around, then head to the left of the ladder under a small bridge and back out into the forest, below the escarpment edge.

Enjoy the view back up then head to your right, along the old Toronto Suburban Radial Railway, across a small bridge with marsh lands to your left.

It is almost time to head back north, and soon you'll see the other end of the Black Creek side-trail, but before turning right follow the sound of the running water, along the main path, to rapids just up river from the old mill. Continue along the trail to a new looking, very solid bridge that provides a great view of the one old arch that is remaining.

The main trail continues across the bridge and up the riverbank, but it is about 2 hours back to the car, so instead retrace your steps back to the blue-blazed Black Creek side trail, and head east along the river (which will be on your left) and enjoy the views down to the river.

At the end of the side-trail you'll continue straight ahead on the main trail, heading south, following the same trail we took to get here.