Grey County Tour
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Flesherton to Hoggs Falls:
From the centre of the village of Flesherton take Hwy. 4 east for 1.7 km. Following the directional sign for the Lower Valley Road, turn left and proceed 0.9km until you come to 'The Old Pepper Mill' on your left. Turn right directly opposite the Mill. This road traveling beside the Boyne River leads to the Ministry of Natural Resources' parking area, 0.8 km along the road on your left. Hoggs Falls are a short walk upstream along well-beaten paths.
The small village of Flesherton was named after one of its first settlers, William K. Flesherton, who started a grist and small mill on the Boyne River. Take the opportunity, to explore what it has to offer, multitude natural features, historic architecture and fine art and crafts galleries and studious. During the fourth week of September, Flesherton is home to the Split Rail Festival, which celebrates arts, crafts and heritage.
Here in the steep-sided and narrow upper Beaver Valley is the first of our Escarpment waterfalls. The Boyne River's 7 metres cascade is a sheer and shimmering curtain of water over the rock face. Hoggs Falls is Grey county's best kept secret. Much of this land has been reclaimed by the forest and only faint traces remain of William Hogg's long-ago mill. Today the site is protected as a forest reserve managed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The clear waters of the river abound with speckled trout and other species and fishing is permitted, in season, within the 83 hectares of posted public lands.
Hoggs Falls to Eugenia Falls Conservation Area:
Return out along the Lower Valley Road and then to Hwy. 4 and turn left. Continue east for 2 km and turn left onto Grey Road 13 at the directional sign. Stay on G.R. 13 for 3.5 km entering the village of Eugenia and turn left as indicate by the Eugenia Falls Conservation Area sign.
Eugenia Falls Conservation Area:
This spectacular waterfall is where the Beaver River takes its 30-metre plunge over the sheer Escarpment cliff.
There was a small gold rush here in the 1850's until it was discovered that the shiny metal sparkling through the water in the gorge was only worthless pyrite - fool's gold. But the roaring waters have yielded treasure of another sort - water power to turn mill wheels and electrical turbines.
The ruins of a generating plant, built in 1895, can still be seen from the lookout. In 1905, Ontario's second hydroelectric plant was built here by the Georgian Bay Power Company. The Conservation Area, managed by the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, comprises a 23-hectare site with picnic facilities, walking and cross-country ski trails through forested area and a war memorial.
Eugenia Falls Conservation Area to Hydro Flumes:
Proceed north again on G.R. 13 for 2.6 km. On your left, at the crest of the valley, are the surge tanks. Off to your right you can see the pipes that carry water down from Lake Eugenia, under the road to the tanks and then down the steep slope to the Hydro generating station in the valley below.
In 1915 Ontario Hydro utilized the height of the Escarpment and built a hydro-electrical plant north of Eugenia Falls and created a reservoir, Lake Eugenia in order to have greater control over water levels. After more than 90 years Eugenia is still producing, feeding 3500 kilowatts into the Ontario grid. Wooden stave pipes carry water from Lake Eugenia, the storage basin, to the surge tanks at the lip of the valley. These tanks absorb any surges of water and prevent vacuums from forming and collapsing the pipes. The water then drops through a steel penstock to the turbines that feed two fully automated units. These operate unattended 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The difference in height from intake up at the lake to the tailrace water beyond the plant is 168 metres, giving Eugenia the highest head in the Ontario basin.
Flumes to Old Baldy Conservation Area:
Head north once again on G.R. 13, the 'Beaver Valley Ski Club' is nearby. You will soon see an impressive view of Old Baldy rock face to your right.
A venerable landmark, much photographed and much admired, this majestic rock face stands almost 452 metres above the sea level. Highly glaciated during the last great ice-age, the valley was widened, its sided scoured smooth by the immense rivers of ice that surged along its length. The glaciers eroded the soft underlayers of the Escarpment, leaving the harder dolostone cap exposed at the top. Impressive and rugged, sheer-sided Old Baldy is one of the most distinctive of the Escarpment features that crown the cliff-lined corridor of the Beaver Valley.
This 72 hectare conservation area, is managed by the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and offers impressive views of the Beaver Valley, wooded areas, regrowth occurring in former fields, ski hills and of the village of Kimberley. The Conservation area offers very minimal facilities, other than parking. The Bruce Trail runs through the conservation area and those seeking to partake in rock climbing may do so by obtaining climbing permit for the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority.
Along the way, don't forget to experience the Grey County's apple country:
Sheltered by the Escarpment's high ridge and benefiting from the moderating influences of the waters of Nottawasaga Bay, the mouths of the Beaver and Bighead Valleys are perfect apple country.
This area produces 25% of Ontario's apples annually. Approximately 2,430 hectares of orchards grow heavy each summer with crisp Macintosh, tart and tangy Northern Spy and sweet Red Delicious. These and other varieties add up to a yearly harvest of two million bushels with an annual farm-gate value of 8 million dollars making this triangle of land Ontario's major apple-producing area.
Old Baldy to Epping Lookout Conservation Area:
Proceeding north for 1.8 km on G.R. 13 pass through the village of Kimberley.
Just beyond Kimberley, G.R. 13 swings northeast.
Bear a left onto Grey Road 7 and continue traveling north over the Beaver River, the 'Talisman Mountain Resort' is nearby, you will find the Epping Lookout Park on your right at the top of the steep valley slope.
The village of Kimberley is located in the heart of the Beaver Valley. The village offers recreational opportunities for all seasons.
In the winter, visitors can enjoy skiing and in the summer months it becomes a haven for golfers and hikers. In July, the village hosts its annual Summerfest and Thanksgiving Apple Harvest Festival in October.
Epping Lookout Conservation Area:
Serene and beautiful the valley stretches out below you and offers dramatic views in all directions. Far across its width loom the Blue Mountains.
The Beaver Valley splendour should never by hurried and this 5 hectare park with its picnic facilities invites the visitor to stay awhile. Perhaps it is the contrast of the gentle tree-lined river and the patchwork quilt of pasture and orchard set against the stark cliffs of the Escarpment that makes this panorama so compelling. But it is a breathtaking vista and there is nothing else quite like it. The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority manages this area.
Epping Lookout to Walters Falls:
Leaving Epping Lookout Park, turn right on G.R. 7. Continue north for 7 km and turn left at the first road past the junction of G.R.'s 7 and 40. Proceed west on this road past two stop signs for 7.9 km and turn left. Follow this winding road for 4.8 km until you reach the stop sign at the end of the road. Turn right. As you enter the hamlet of Walters Falls stay on this road until the stop sign at the corner of Victoria Street. Turn left onto Victoria Street and head down the hill. The Walters Falls Milling Co. is on your left, a millpond on your right.
The hamlet is named after John Walter, who harnessed the water from Walters Creek to power his mills. Along the Escarpment waterfalls, the crumbling remains of his mills are abandoned and silent. The still water across the street was once the pond for his sawmill that was destroyed by a fire in 1984. The remains stand in mute testimony to the vanished age and inspire a rustic experience.
Walters Falls to Bognor Marsh:
Stay on Victoria Street and continue west, up the hill and past the lumber mill. 0.8 km beyond the feedmill at Walters Falls turn right onto Grey Road 29. Proceed north on G.R. 29 for 3 km until you come to a crossroads with a church on the left. There are pioneer tombstones behind the church. Grey Road 29 swings west at this junction. Turn left and stay on G.R. 29 following the road as it heads west dropping into the Bighead Valley. After 1.4 km, signs indicate where G.R. 29 turns north once more. Stay on G.R. 29, turning right, and continue north for 3.7 km through Bognor. Turn left at the sign for Grey Road 18 for 2.9 km until you see the sign and parking area for the Bognor Marsh Management Area on your right.
The diversity of this 668.6-hectare Forest Management Area makes it perfect for educational studies and orienteering but easily important, it is a beautiful and fascinating natural environment to explore and enjoy. Walk along the boardwalk by the still waters or climb the lookout tower for a broader view of this haven for waterfowl and wildlife. Hike the trail that takes you through the swampy lowland, up the Escarpment to the hardwood forests and cliff-top lookout. But step carefully as you go, for the marsh edge and Escarpment slope are favourite spots for fragile wildflowers and delicate ferns. This area is managed by the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and is one of the largest marsh systems in Grey County.
Bognor Marsh to Inglis Falls:
Head west again on G.R. 18 for 12.5 km, crossing over Hwy. 6/10. As indicated by the Inglis falls Conservation Area signs, turn off G.R. 18 at first right past Hwy. 6/10 and follow this road 0.5 km to the park entrance on the right.
The conservation area is 200 hectares of scenic woodland paths, cross-country ski trails and picnic facilities with the Sydenham River running through the property. Tumbling over rocks and boulders, the river is churned white with foam as it cascades over the Escarpment. The river's drop of 30 metres has carved a deep gorge at the base of the falls. Peter Inglis harnessed this tremendous power when he built his gristmill here in 1895. His original millstones, relics of a bygone era, are on display in the park. Above the falls the weir that stored water for the long-vanished mill still stands. Although it no longer turns millwheels, Inglis Falls has lost none of its power to enchant. There is a viewing platform in the area that allows visitors on a clear day to see beyond to Owen Sound. The trails in the park, include the Bruce Trail and allow visitors to see 20 different species of ferns and engage in bird watching.
Inglis Falls to Owen Sound:
Heading back out through the park gates turn right onto the Inglis Falls Road and continue past the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority Administration Building. The road follows the Sydenham River and travels between steep rock walls where fresh springs bubble. Follow the road to the stop sign and turn right onto 2nd Avenue East in the City of Owen Sound
In this place the Indians once called 'Wadineedon', meaning the beautiful valley, is the charming city of Owen Sound. When Samuel de Champlain passed this way in 1616 he saw a large native encampment on this site. The first settlers came to harvest tall timber and rich furs but some stayed to clear and farm the land.
By the end of the last century the natural harbour of the Sound was busy and bustling as ships loaded with cargo and passengers steamed in and out. The settlement was perfectly situated for shipping to the lakehead and in 1920 Owen Sound was incorporated as a city. The Great Lake Elevator Company built a million-bushel grain elevator here in 1925 and later enlarged the capacity to 4 million bushels.
Today, Owen Sound is a city of 21, 431 (2001) that combines modern facilities with unequalled scenic beauty of the Niagara Escarpment and the Georgian Bay. Located at the hub of one of Ontario's most beautiful year-round vacation areas, the city itself has over 50 hectares of parks and playgrounds. The vibrant downtown offers excellent shopping with ample parking.
Community services - library, art gallery, farmer's market, Chamber of Commerce, Tourist Information Centre - are all within walking distance. Artist Tom Thomson created a distinct style in his portrayal of the rugged landscapes of northern Ontario. Thomson grew up in the Owen Sound area and the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery has an impressive collection that also includes work by his associates in the Group of Seven and other examples of Canadian art from the 19th century to the present. Owen Sound is also the hometown of Canada's World War I flying ace, Billy Bishop. His family home on 3rd Avenue is identified with a historic plaque.
The boom days of the lake steamers are long over and today the harbour is alive with pleasure boats and yachts. The waters of the Sound are dotted with bright sails of windsurfers and the giant ferry Chi-Cheemaun has her safe winter berth here. The Sydenham River, once tapped to turn the mill wheels that echoed to the fierce battles of the Huron and Iroquois are today rolling farmland. Although much has changed, one thing remains constant; Owen Sound, by the blue waters of Georgian Bay, still nestles in its beautiful valley.
Owen Sound to Pottawatomi Conservation Area:
Take 2nd Avenue through the business section of Owen Sound. At 10th Street West, turn left and continue for 3.2 km. 10th Street heads west where it becomes Hwy. 6/21. Continue along Hwy. 6/21 to stop lights marking junction with Hwy. 6 north. Turn right. The main park entrance is off Hwy. 6 at the Tourism Information Centre.
Pottawatomi Conservation Area:
Hiking trails including the Bruce Trail leads to a vantage point with the best view of the surrounding lowlands and the scenic Jones Falls. The scenic waterfall is the Pottawatomi River's 12 metre plunge over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. The river below the falls is teeming with life. Rainbow trout and coho salmon use this spot as a spawning ground and both brown trout and splake feed here. Within the 116-hectare conservation area are picnic and water facilities, hiking trails and cross-country ski trails.