Pretty River Loop Trail
The Pretty River Loop Trail is a fantastic hiking route near Collingwood that will lead you through the beautiful terrain that can be found within Pretty River Valley Provincial Park. While out hiking this trail, you will make your way along the winding banks of the Pretty River before climbing uphill to one of the high points along the Niagara Escarpment for some amazing views overlooking the picturesque Grey County landscape. Try timing this hike for late-April to May when the trilliums along the trail are in bloom.
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Route Description for Pretty River Loop Trail
The Pretty River Loop Trail is a great hiking route that features a variety of terrain along its length, some of which may be challenging for beginner hikers. While out on the trail, you will need to hike up steep hillsides, traverse the edge of an escarpment, and make your way along pathways that are often muddy during the spring/autumn seasons. Be sure to wear proper hiking footwear when setting out on this adventure. Additionally, you will need to share the path with mountain bikers that frequent this route, so keep an eye out and allow ample room for others to pass.
Although portions of this route are a bit challenging, the views along the upper portion of the trail are well worth the effort made to get up there. From your perch atop one of the highest points along the Niagara Escarpment, you will enjoy views that sweep across the fertile farmlands of Grey County towards the blue waters of Georgian Bay just beyond Collingwood. This is a fantastic hiking route for a great weekend getaway outdoors in southern Ontario.
Setting out from the trailhead, make your way to the northwest along the waters of the Pretty River, where you will come to a fork in the trail after 250 m. Take the path on the left and keep straight through the following junction, steadily climbing uphill along the river for the next 285 m. Turn right here and continue on for 47 m, crossing over a creek to pick up the trail on the left.
From here, continue uphill along the water’s edge, keeping straight through any junctions for the next 1.0 km to arrive at a junction near the base of the escarpment. Head left along the trail to begin the steep climb up the hillside that will eventually bring you up to the highpoint of the trail. Reaching another junction, head to the right and keep straight along the edge of the escarpment for 0.5 km to reach a fork that marks the upper loop portion of this hike.
Take the path on the left and keep straight through any junctions for the next 0.8 km, taking some time to appreciate the natural beauty of the tranquil forest atmosphere before arriving at the edge of a side road. Head to the right here and follow the road for 0.6 km, where you will find another trail on the right side. Take this and follow it south along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, pausing at the lookouts along the trail for some breathtaking views overlooking Grey County.
After 1.3 km of hiking along this scenic lookout trail, you will arrive back at the fork in the path that kicked off this loop portion of the trail. Turn left here and follow the path for 433 m, taking a left at the intersection in the trail to begin your descent of the steep hillside. Keep left for the next 1.91km, making your way downhill around a series of two small ponds before arriving at a junction near Sundown Lake. Take the path on the right and once again keep left to work around the scenic shores of this charming body of water, working your way further downhill on the final leg of the journey.
Upon leaving the edge of the water behind you, you will head right at a junction in 195 m, continuing downhill for another 0.5 km to arrive at the initial junction along the trail. Turn right here and follow along the flowing waters of the Pretty River until you arrive back at the trailhead having completed the Pretty River Loop.
Insider Hints for Pretty River Loop Trail
- Hikers should take note that cars parked here sometimes receive tickets, even though parking at the roadside is showcased on the official Bruce Trail trail map. If this is a concern, backtrack along the road for 1.5 km to find a parking lot at the side of the road and make the journey into the trailhead by foot.
- Time your hike for late-April to May for views of trilliums.
- Be sure to wear proper hiking footwear for this adventure.
- Arrive early if you are looking to secure parking by the trailhead and beat out the crowds.
- Keep an eye out for passing mountain bikes on the trail.
Getting to the Pretty River Loop Trail Trailhead
To reach the trailhead for the Pretty River Trail Loop from Collingwood, make your way south on Hurontario Street for 2.7 km and continue straight onto Simcoe County Road 124 for another 3.7 km. Turn right here ontoSide Road 33 & 34 Nottawasaga and follow iit for 5.4 km. Continue straight onto Pretty River Road for another 2.0 km to find roadside parking on the right.
Pretty River Loop Trail Elevation Graph
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