Kolapore Uplands – Beaver Valley, ON

Kolapore Uplands Resource Management Area offers the curious and adventurous hiker access to biodiversity, rugged terrain, and some very cool caves. After visiting the area, I can affirm that the experience of hiking here is well worth the drive. I couldn’t believe that I was still in Ontario, Canada, my homeland and stomping grounds – I thought myself in another country, on another planet, transported to another world, while hiking this natural area.

The Kolapore Uplands comprise a 12, 000 hectare tract of land which includes mature deciduous forest, swamp, and pine plantations reverting to forest (Discover Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment). The Kolapore Trail begins at the Duncan Crevice Caves (now called the “Metcalfe Crevice Side Trail“)  which is in itself a fantastic place to visit and go caving (Fun Places, 2014). Ownership and management of the property are the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, and Grey County (Discover Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment). Community groups, such as the Kolapore Wilderness Trails Association, are also involved in both recreation and conservation within the managed area.

If you’re a cross-country ski enthusiast, this is definitely a place you should explore. An Outing Club associated with the University of Toronto developed 60 kilometres of marked (but not groomed) ski trails here in 1973 (Discover Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment). The challenging terrain is assisted by the presence of outliers (outcrops of rock separated from the main rock formations through erosion) at Mount Dhaulagiri and Red Death Hill (Discover Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment). After a long day out skiing on the trails, you can warm up at any of the great local accommodation facilities – for example, the Ravenna Hill B&B or the Deercliff House Bed & Breakfast.

Similarly, hiking at this great spot can last anywhere from one to six hours, depending on your individual preference (Ontario Trails, 2014). Kolapore has one of the highest levels of biodiversity of any spot along the escarpment – expect to see 500 species of vascular plants (some of them unusual or rare – e.g. American ginseng), 10 species of orchids, 98 species of birds, 19 mammal species, and 12 reptile and amphibian species (Discover Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment). Of course, this high level of biodiversity is fragile and can be easily damaged by human use – please take care in your hiking activities, respect the Bruce Trail User’s Code, and be sure to keep your dog on-leash.

To get to the parking lot for this trail, simply follow Grey Rd. 2 through Ravenna and continue south for about 10 kilometres. Below are some of my pictures from this great location.

Some beautiful sights along the Metcalfe Crevice Side Trail.
Some beautiful sights along the Metcalfe Crevice Side Trail.
That's ice in August in one of the caves!
That’s ice in August in one of the caves!
Sign at the entrance.
Sign at the entrance.
Interpretive displays at the entrance.
Interpretive displays at the entrance.
People love this trail - you can tell by the quality of its bridges!
People love this trail – you can tell by the quality of its bridges!
Signs point you in many directions.
Signs point you in many directions.
Fungi on a tree.
Fungi on a tree.
This cedar root grew into a neat structure.
This cedar root grew into a neat structure.
These caves are deep, dark, and dangerous to know. But fascinating!
These caves are deep, dark, and dangerous to know. But fascinating!

 

 

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