With all those towering trees it felt like a walk through a cretaceous jungle.
The floor was carpeted with verdant vegetation.
Some uprooted trees were evidencing a tempest in the near past.
Alarm calls of invisible animals came from all directions intimidating us and making us walk with fear of the unknown. A relative of carnivorous dinosaurs from millions of years ago came in and started watching our next move.
Due to the dense forest and humidity, we were all drenched in sweat.
We were on Half Moon Valley Trail that spiraled down slowly and gradually to the valley where Bronte Creek was flowing, the first sight of which brought relief on everybody’s face. Bronte Creek has given its name to the provincial park.
Bronte Creek is a relatively small provincial park of about 6.4 sq. km. It is listed as IUCN category II (National Park). It is divided into two sections with separate entrances. The eastern section is for campers, where we camped with our motorized RV in June. The western section is the ‘Day Use area’. Since the two sections are not connected, in order to explore the activities in the latter section, we had to drive our RV there for 1 km.
This park is different from other Ontario provincial parks in many ways. For one, it is located within one of the most densely populated regions of Canada and seeks to protect flora, such as old growth forest, and urban/semi-urban fauna. It also provides outdoor recreation with a special focus on children.
It is perhaps the only park that has an animal farm, a model village, splash pad, and disc golf within its premises, in addition to forests and trails.
half moon valley trail – a hike through the wildnerness
It is located in the Day Use Area and is a 2 km long trail that had steep descents and climb back. From the ground level, we had to hike down over a well maintained trail through old growth forest carpeted with ferns all the way down to where the Bronte Creek flowed through the park.
It was a hot and a humid day, but in the end the hike turned out to be the best one could have in terms of a true wilderness experience within an urban region.
This 2.7 km linear path located in the Day Use Area meandered along the top of the valley between Spruce Lane Farm and the picnic area by Parking Lot A with the inaccessible Bronte Creek flowing at the bottom of the ravine. Due to dense foliage of June and July, we could not see the creek from the trail, but the sound of gushing water was appealing to the ears.
Trillulm trail – wildflowers galore
The trailhead is located in the Day Use Area behind the barns of Spruce Lane Farm (Lot F). We found this trail to be the best place in the park to see late spring wildflowers and catch a breathtaking glimpse of the valley floor.
The trail is wheelchair accrssible and stroller friendly.
field and forest trail – radiant insects
My son and I hiked on this short trail located in the Camping Area of the Park. We hiked through a forest and then through fields under a blazing June sun. The main attraction of the hike turned out to be the brilliantly coloured tiger beetles that flew like flies. However, I later discovered that they were predatory insects.
gateway trail – a beautiful fly
My son and I hiked on this 1.5 km trail located in the Camping Area of the Park. Our main find on this trail was gold-backed snap fly (see below).
In order to understand the ecosystem of the park, the Nature Centre deserves to be the first thing one should check out and that is exactly what we did. It is located in the Day Use Area next to the big Red Play Barn and Children’s Farm. It displays the unique natural elements of the park: ravine and creek, field and forest.
Red Play Barn and Children’s Farm
This is located close to the Nature Centre and can act as a second attraction to pass time before the sun starts setting to commence any hikes.
On our several visits to this park, we have noted that children tend to spend lot of time here, so hiker beware.
We ventured into this paved narrow trail where cute little wooden houses were decorated like little gnome houses. This was a children and stroller-friendly walking path starting near the tree line near the play barn and yellow playground. The trail passed under a tree canopy that was so dense that we could not see the sky. The light conditions were, therefore, eerie and calming at the same time.
spruce lane farmhouse
Bronte Creek Provincial Park has two interpretive centres. Spruce Lane Farmhouse is located close to parking lot F in the Day Use Area. It showcases what life must have been like for the early farmer (1890 -1905). Many demonstrations and special events highlight this one-of-a-kind living history museum.
We parked our RV in the camping site that had electricity. The Camping Area of the park was devoid of tall trees and any significant forest cover. We could visualize that one would have problems in non-electric sites during peak summer.
The advantage of camping here is that it is close to the shopping areas and if one runs short of any supplies, he/she/they can get driving short distances.
We went out for hiking on its two trails. However, most of our time was spent in the Day Use Area.
Until our next blog, au revoir! Be outdoorsy, embrace diversity, and support causes for the conservation of nature!