Spirit Rock Conservation Area, Wiarton, Corran Ruins

There's a secret trail in Ontario that takes you to abandoned ruins

It sounds like something out of a fairytale: a hidden spiral staircase down a steep cliff, ruins of a 19th century mansion and secret gardens, a secluded beach—but it's not.

This magical sounding place is known as Spirit Rock Conservation Area, and it has one of the most breathtaking views in Southwestern Ontario.

Located in Wiarton, Spirit Rock Conservation Area is a hidden gem along the Bruce Peninsula that features unparalleled views from the Niagara Escarpment and over five kilometres of lush hiking trails.

But, what really makes this Conservation Area stand out is the epic spiral staircase that leads you down to the rocky shores of Colpoy's Bay, where you'll feel totally isolated from the rest of the bustling peninsula.

Nearby, you'll also find the historical ruins of what is known as the "Corran." 

Built in 1881 by Alexander McNeill, the Corran was a 17-room mansion adorned with gorgeous carvings, ancient weapons, tapestries, and book-lined walls in its prime. 

McNeill, who lived here for many years with his wife and son, developed the land into manicured gardens and orchards.

Sadly, a series of unfortunate events (vandalism, fires, etc.)  lead to the downfall of the mansion and its eventual demise. Although the estate is a shell of its former self today, its ruins are still hauntingly beautiful.

Once you've finished exploring the Corran, be sure to take in the epic views from the escarpment's rocky lookout point. You can also access the Bruce Trail easily and the pristine beaches that surround the turquoise waters of the area.

Spirit Rock Conservation Area is open year-round and you can check out the online map here of all the must-see spots.

Lead photo by

Robert Taylor


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