Mono Cliffs Provincial Park has been on our list of must do hikes for quite sometime, especially in the fall when the leaves change colour. The park is located in the small town of Mono located Northeast of Orangeville, Ontario.
There is a per vehicle park fee of $14.50 payable at a pay-and-display machine in the parking lot. You will also be able to find the washrooms there before you start your hike. This is a day use only park that is open year round.
There are 8 hikes that you can choose from throughout the park that range from 600 meters to 4.8 km.
We started off hiking down the Carriage Trail that takes you through fields full milk weed plants that were blowing in the wind, and hundreds of trees letting go of their leaves for the Fall. There were few people in the park that day which make for a very peaceful hike.
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is located on 750-hectarces of land and features 30-meter cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, ponds and streams. The Bruce Trail connects through this park as well. As you leave the meadow and enter the thick forest full of colourful falling leaves, you pass some ponds and then head up a set of stairs. Once up the stairs, the Carriage Trail ends and gives way to the Cliff-Top Side Trail which you can either go North or South. When we visited, we opted to go north towards the viewing platform. The walk towards the viewing platform was stunning as the orange and yellow leaves had covered the trails and there wasn’t another person in sight.
Once we reached the viewing platform we were not disappointed with the view! It overlooks one of the large ponds in the area and provides a great view from the top of the escarpment.
If you continue to head North on the Cliff-Top Side Trail you will come to three way split where you have an option to go on the McCarston’s Lake Trail, Walter Tovell Train or the Link Trail – We choose to head down the stairs to the Link Trail. To our surprise as we headed down the stairs we found ourselves in-between two pieces of the escarpment and felt like we were entering a cave.
Between the colours of the leaves and the rocks it was quite a sight to see. The wooden boardwalk takes you through the escarpment and explains the various efforts of the park to keep it in a natural state by trying to educate those visiting the park with display panels and interpretive signs. Unfortunately, as we got to the end of the boardwalk we found the Link Trail was closed as they were trying to preserve some of the land on the trail. We ended up turning around and headed back the way we came on the Walter Tovell Trail.
The Walter Tovell Trail meets up with Spillway Trail which would return us to the Carriage Trail to complete our loop for the day. We choose to take that route as the sun was beginning to set for the day. Once back on the Carriage Trail you return back to the meadow and from there you are only a short walk back to the parking lot.
Throughout our walk we were privy to learn about the many species of animals and plants that live in the park. There are over 450 species of plants, and some of the trees found throughout the park are hundreds of years old. Taking a hike through Mono Cliffs Provincial Park as the trees are losing their leaves provides a unique perspective through it’s untouched land that is so close to such a largely developed area of of the province.