about 5 h
Beginner (based on trail); Intermediate (based on length of hike)
This Mono Cliffs Provincial Park hike has varied flat sections and undulating hills. There is a cliff face to climb and descend on trail swirchbacks.
Parking fee @ pay-and-display machine. Parking Fees: 1 hour $3.00, 2 hours $5.00, full day $11.00; Hours of Operation: 8:00am - 10:00pm
The trailhead has basic washrooms. Bring change for parking machine.
At Lookout Point; McCarston’s Lake; many others at ponds and along the trail.
13 Oct 2003, 17 Oct 2009
Not wheelchair accessible
Trail map updated
Some loops may be removed
Outlier cliff; Jacob's Ladder; McCarston's Lake; Lookout Point
Mono Cliffs Provincial Park
The Mono Cliffs Provincial Park hike takes place among some of the oldest, intact, old growth White Cedar forests in eastern North America. Research has shown that some cedars have survived on the escarpment face for over 700 years and are now the oldest living trees in Ontario. Despite their age, they may be no more than five centimeters thick and a metre high. The cedars have endured the worst elements of cold and constant winds that rob the shallow soil of moisture, carry away nutrients and leave the roots exposed. Their twisted shapes are testimony to their struggle.
This 750 ha park also contains some 450 plant species including rare ferns. The Bruce Trail passes through the park and there are a number of marked trails interconnecting in the park. The trails here are enjoyable any time of the year but are especially lovely in the fall when the maples and beeches in the park exhibit spectacular colour. You are asked to stay on marked paths to protect the flora and fauna.
Mono Cliffs contains a significant section of the Niagara Escarpment, including crevice caves, an upland limestone plain, and talus slopes. The park features two prominent masses of rock, separated by erosion from the main rock body. When this occurs, the resultant feature is called an outlier.
Botanists have noted that the local vegetation includes a particularly rich diversity of ferns. Park visitors need to be responsible and stay on the trails because the natural features in the park are fragile.
Prime attractions include walks through mixed hardwood forests and above and below tall cliffs. There are two prominent outliers, crevice caves, a glacial spillway, a kettle lake and a kame moraine. The park also features the phenomenon called Jacob’s Ladder and the fabulous views of McCarston’s Lake and views from Lookout Point. This park is sure to be one of your favourite hiking destinations. There is a parking fee charged at the pay machine.
South Outlier Loop Trail: This 3.5 km trail leaves the main trail past waypoint (002) at the top of a steep switchback up the cliff. At this point you can head either to the left or right along the loop. Heading right takes you along the top edge of the outlier through a cedar forest. Heading left takes you through a forested area that descends to waypoint (003).
McCarstons Lake Trail is a 600 m shortcut trail from Jacob's ladder that takes you past scenic Lake McCarston and on to the Lookout Point.
Lookout Side Trail is a 1.1 km trail that leads west to a great lookout point that is 550 m above sea level. From here you can see the South Outlier and far in the distance, on a clear day, the CN Tower.
Orangeville, Ontario (March 26, 2010) – David Tilson, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, and Ontario Minister of Natural Resources, Linda Jeffrey, Member of Provincial Parliament for Brampton- Springdale, today announced stimulus funding that will benefit local workers and the local economy in the region of Dufferin-Caledon, and improve local infrastructure for years to come. Today’s investment of $25,000 in joint federal and provincial funding will upgrade Mono Cliff’s Provincial Park by extending Jacob’s Ladder Trail, as well as providing signage along the trail to offer users opportunities to learn about regional features and other information.
We look forward to seeing this improvement in the near future.
Right off the bat, The Mono Cliffs Provincial Park hike, starts with a bang with a switchback cliff to climb and get the juices moving. The Outlier Trail takes you through some mixed woods on the way to Jacob's Ladder and then over to the beautiful McCarston's Lake and up to the remarkable Lookout Point. The return takes you along the Bruce Trail past some cliff caves before swinging around to follow the other branch of the South Outlier Trail along the high cliff edge and through a white cedar forest of aging trees clinging to the escarpment edge for dear life. This is a beautiful hike to enjoy the fall colours.