On the outskirts of Wiarton, ON leads a long, winding, tree-lined road that makes its way up the rugged Niagara Escarpment and into a dense and secluded forest.
This upland hardwood forest is lush, speckled with smooth boulders coated in thick green moss, lined with delicate ferns tangled roots from seasoned trees, and is complete with a trail that snakes its way to protruding rock that is home to one of the most dramatic views in Grey County.
With a view like this, you might think that this place would be busy, with a constant flow of hikers. However, it can actually be a bit difficult to find (we got completely lost in the woods our first time trying to find it, and took the longer trail to the outlook), so it’s still pretty quiet compared to it’s nearby cousins like Lion’s Head Lookout & The Grotto.
Check out the video from our latest visit (October 19th, 2016):
How can you not want to visit this place immediately?
Now, we certainly don’t want to promote excessive tourism to relatively secret spot–but we’d still love to help you find it a little easier. So, here are 44N Media’s directions on:
How To Find Skinner’s Bluff
- Assuming you’re coming from anywhere South of Wiarton, take a right at the lights on the intersection of Berford Street (Highway 6) and Frank Street.
- After a slight curve in the road, Frank Street becomes Grey Road 1. Continue.
- Enter the town of Oxenden, and take a right on Zion Church Road (across from the large grey & red building).
- Veer left on Concession Road 24 (do not continue straight on Zion Church Road).
- Follow Concession Road 24, past Charles Lake, all to the way to the end.
- Turn left on Centre Road.
- Take a right off of Centre Road onto Colpoy’s Range Road (do NOT continue straight up the hill on Centre Road–a sign warning of no winter maintenance marks where to stop).
- Follow Colpoy’s Range Road into the woods to the trailhead. Keep an eye out for the trailhead sign, it is not marked well. But, if you find yourself driving down a steep hill, you’ve gone too far.
Map directions from Wiarton
Zoom in for details.
- The full trail is a 7.4 km loop.
- There is also an 11km trail linking it to Bruce’s Caves.
- The trailhead is an unlisted address on Colpoy’s Range Road.
- Rated easy.
What To Know
- Most GPS’s accept “Skinner’s Bluff” if typed in, but you could also try searching Longlane Farm Bed & Breakfast for the initial drive, and simply drive further up the road to find the trailhead. But, you’ll be best off to screenshot our step by step directions above!
- You can park at the entrance to the trail, but there is not a great deal of space. It’s a narrow road in the forest, with a small shoulder to pull onto. There are signs warning you not to block the farm gate that is across the road, so be sure to pull far enough ahead. If there happen to be other cars there, drive further ahead, or park back down the road and walk up. Parking is not accessible during winter and early spring, but you can park at the start of the road and hike/snowshoe up to the trailhead.
- Follow the blue paint markers (they are called Bruce Trail Blazes) to take the longer trail (about 1 hour to complete), or follow the white paint markers to take the short cut (about 5 minutes to the outlook).
- The last part of the road to the trailhead is quite bumpy and consists of dirt, loose rocks and gravel. We would recommend a Jeep or SUV, as opposed to a small car–but a car will do the job, as long as it’s not too wet.
- Wear proper footwear for hiking, as there are lots of flat rocks on the trail, twisted tree roots, and uneven ground.
- Watch out for Poison Ivy on the trail (there are a few signs marking it).
- You must step over a wide crack in the rock to access the outlook. Use the help of a friend, or grab onto a tree branch for balance.
- There is a small second outcrop next to the main one, that provides the best vantage point for photos of the lookout itself. It doesn’t really have a trail to it, so you’ll need to walk through the bush.
- Take caution along the cliffs.
- Keep your dogs on leashes.
- There is forest and farmland below, and the water seen in the distance is Colpoy’s Bayy and the Islands of White Cloud and Griffith.
- There are no garbage bins, so bring compostable items, or carry your own trash back out.
- Bring your camera!
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