This Forks of the Credit Provincial Park Hiking includes not only the park trails but also sections of the Bruce Trail and Trans Canada Trail crossing this park located just a short drive north of Toronto.
Right from the start at the trailhead standing next to the park map display you have sweeping views to the west over kettle lakes and the hilly terrain you are about to tackle. Head off down the Meadow Trail to the right which dips down to water level before rising again on a low hill. Once we spotted deer in this section but today there was only the hill to climb. When you reach the Trans Canada Trail continue straight across it until reaching the Bruce Trail at the top of the hill (white blazes).
Turn right and follow the Bruce Trail as it winds along the rim of the hill passing a scenic viewpoint (with bench) of the valley below and town of Cataract on the other side. You can also see the Elora Cataract Trailway across the valley, used by cyclists and walkers heading to Elmira and Elora.
Shortly after turn left and take the stairs down the hillside to the bottom. It is worth a short detour to the right to the bridge to see the raging Credit River. Return back to the stairs this time still following the white blazes of the Bruce Trail and you soon pass the Hydro Station ruins. After a short distance you arrive at a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Cataract waterfalls as the Credit River drops to the valley floor. To the west you also have excellent views as the valley curves to the left, in the autumn it is very colourful. Also across the way are railway trails currently used at times for a scenic train ride from the city.
The Bruce Trail follows the river and you should too as it winds through the forest. After a few kilometres you intersect with The Quarryman’s Side Trail and you can also see some washrooms on your left. A great lunch spot is to the right by the river with views of the valley walls and fast flowing Credit River. The park staff have some information signs about the various types of fish that can be found in this section of the river.
Continue following the white signs of the Bruce Trail until reaching the gate at the south end of the park. A nice side trip is to walk along Dominion Street in the quaint village of Brimstone admiring the homes until you reach the Forks of the Credit itself. Return to the south gate.
Just past the south gate you will notice the Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail (named after long time hiker and Bruce Trail supporter) on your right which is not fully shown on the park maps as it is outside the boundary. Follow the blue blazes up the hill with ropes in sections to hang onto as you walk up the steep steps. After a while you come to a clearing on the hill and should turn around to view the valley with the ski hills in the distance. Continue to the end of the blue blazes (marked by a “T” blaze) and turn left on the main trail again (while blazes). You are still on private property at this points so be sure to be respectful, a sign will remind you.
The trail at this point wanders through sumach trees and along a ridge with great views. There is a style to assist you over the fence when you arrive back in Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. This section can be very icy in the early spring. The first trail you intersect with is for mountain bikers but a short distance further along take the turn to the right.
You will soon join the Trans Canada Trail again which you will follow a little to the right (with the ruins of a barn and kettle lakes on your left) as it curves before bringing you right back to the parking lot.
Reference: Bruce Trail map 15, Cataract. Suitable for any level
An excellent resource is Caledon Hikes: Loops & Lattes by Nicola Ross which includes detailed instructions about 37 different loop routes all in Caledon, available at MEC.
Directions: From Hwy 401 head north on Hwy 410 until it merges with Hwy 10 and continue north. Turn left (west) on Forts of the Credit Road and go for about 3 km, turning right on McLaren Road. Continue for about 3.5 km before turning left onto a long lane leading to the parking lot. There are washrooms located here.
Click here to view some of our other hiking opportunities a short drive from Toronto. The best time for Forks of the Credit Provincial Park hiking is early October to catch the autumn colour but this park is a joy to hike anytime from April to November.