Saturday, September 7, 2013

'Old Baldy'

Undoubtedly the most popular hike on the Bruce Trail in the Beaver Valley is the walk out to the stunning cliffs of 'Old Baldy'.  It's not a long walk, but the view is spectacular.  It's become something of a tradition for many families around here to do the walk on Thanksgiving weekend, when fall colours are at their peak.  You can easily see 40-50 cars in the parking lot or along the road at any one time on that weekend.  It's worth the walk!

These are the cliffs from across the valley, in October.  The cliff is a 'bioherm', essentially a 400 million year old coral reef, where the Amabel Formation rises in a dome, and the Queenston Shale lower down erodes into a steep slope.  The Bruce Trail follows the edge of the cliff through the picture.

Once you get there, the view is spectacular, this picture looking south from atop the cliffs, down into the narrower part of the valley.  The area of open slope in the distant right is the Beaver Valley Ski Club.

The view north, or at least north-west, shows the slopes of the former Talisman Ski Resort, as well as the village of Kimberley in the bottom of the valley, on the left side of the photo.  This photo is two years old; the ski slopes are abandoned and looking overgrown now.  The Bruce Trail follows both sides of the valley here, heading south from Old Baldy into the narrowest part of the valley, and then turning north again up the west side, along the rim of the valley in this photo.
Old Baldy is also a popular rock climbing spot, though a challenging one.  One day while I was taking a photograph this climber appeared around the side of the cliff, hanging there what looked like 100 feet in the air.  A few minutes later he was safely on top.

But the views from the cliff are just the most obvious part of Old Baldy.  There is now a loop trail back through the forest, the Mac Kirk Side Trail, which is a wonderful walk at any time of year.  It's a particularly great place to see spring wildflowers around  here.

This view of the woods is taken in early spring, in mid-May, when the Ostrich Ferns are just unfolding.  The leaves on the trees aren't out much yet, and there's plenty of sunlight on the forest floor.  That's when the best showing of spring wildflowers occurs.

These are Dog-Tooth Violets or Trout Lilies, just one of over 25 species we saw last spring on our wildflower walk.
Just as many love a walk out to Old Baldy when the fall colours turn the valley red, orange and yellow, I love the walk in the spring - when the trilliums carpet the ground.

Hope you enjoyed my four favourite walks on the trail.  Tonight is the grand celebration of the 50th Anniversary; I'll be back here on Monday.


  1. It is definitely very beautiful! I love the view and the brilliant colors. :-)

  2. What wonderful sights to see. I like you photos of the wild flowers.

  3. That is just so beautiful there! What a fabulous view at every turn! No wonder you like going there.

  4. What stunning views! Absolutely beautiful. I can't imagine that person hanging from the cliff and climbing it. Not me! In fact, I wouldn't be that close to the edge taking the photo either. lol The woodland forest is beautiful in fall and spring. I have never seen so many trilliums before. Thanks for sharing this beauty.

  5. The views along the escarpment are all amazing. A dry Fall is my favourite time of the Year ... Happy 50th Anniversary !

  6. Happy anniversary!

    Beautiful views! I'm going to Google Old Baldy to see what comes up.

  7. Beautiful fall color! What a special walk for your anniversary. The trilliums carpeting the forest floor are amazing, the triiiums in my yard are in isolated clumps.

  8. Happy Anniversary, hope you had a lovely day! Nice view of Old Baldy and the fall colors look pretty. Thanks for sharing your walk, have a happy week ahead!