nottawasaga lookout

This trail near Toronto leads to giant caves and an incredible lookout

Nottawasaga Lookout is a six-kilometre trail along the Niagara Escarpment that leads through towering cliff crevices before reaching the cave's edge for expansive forest views.

Just two and a half hours from Toronto, this nature reserve 10 kilometres south of Collingwood is a dream for anyone itching for a last-minute summer adventure. 

You can park at Eagle Crescent and Osprey Clearview Townline to access the trail. Just keep in mind no facilities are provided for visitors at this non-operating provincial park.

Although the one-hour hike along a section of the Bruce Trail is plenty rewarding as is, your adventure can be extended by venturing off the main trail. Both the Singhampton Side Trail and Standing Rock Side Trail have crevice caves to explore. 

The towering moss-covered rock formations, once part of the cliff face and shaped during the ice age about 10,000 years ago, are definitely the main draw of the area. 

Years of erosion have created plenty of narrow, deep crevices that open to the sky. A clamber through the tight quarters is worth it for an enviable snapshot and an up-close look at the millennia-old rock. 

The side trails by the caves make for a more difficult hike so it's recommended to do the loop trail counterclockwise once it snows to avoid any slips and falls.

Expect to spot a variety of rare plants along the way. The reserve protects over 20 different species of fern, some of which are restricted to the Niagara Escarpment.

The area is also known for having one of the best displays of Trilliums in the region, making it the prime spot to find Ontario's official flower. 

The breathtaking Standing Rock lookout is the payoff for anyone who withstands the uphill climb. The rock face looks out at the mature Pretty River Valley and the view goes for miles. 

If you plan on visiting and exploring Nottawasaga Lookout this summer, make sure to practice safe physical distancing and pick up after yourself to leave the area as beautiful as you found it.

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