September may still feel warm but it ushers in what many Grey County natives feel is the most beautiful time of the year in our area. In a few short weeks – maybe even days – everywhere you turn in Grey County, you’ll be surrounded by red, orange and gold foliage. Whether you take these colours in while walking the dog, hiking a section of the Bruce Trail or going for a drive, Grey County is one of the best places in Ontario to enjoy the season.
If a comfortable walk in the woods is your ideal way to spend a fall afternoon, Flesherton Hills is a great spot to start. The “Hills” is a 100 acre wooded area that is well loved by locals and well used by both MacPhail Memorial Elementary and Grey Highlands Secondary schools. Full of trails, ponds, small wildlife and a picnic area, it’s a great spot for a stroll. Located at the end of Campbell Street in Flesherton, there’s plenty of parking in the MacPhail parking lot.
If a leisurely drive is more your speed, one of the best driving routes of the season takes you through the village of Kimberley. From Highway 10 and Grey Road 4 in Flesherton, head East to Grey Road 13. Along 13 you’ll notice Top O’ The Rock and the Kimberley General Store are conveniently located to provide you with snacks or drinks along the way. The drive along 13 allows you to see the glory of the Beaver Valley from the top down, passing alongside ski hills, the escarpment and through the quaint village.
For those looking for a little more exercise, consider a hike along the top of “Old Baldy”, or if you’re up for it, hike to the top rather than driving. Old Baldy is an outcropping of limestone along the Bruce Trail, taking its name from the fact that there is a look-out point that is bald of trees and clearly visible from the road below. If you’re driving to the top, there’s an access road (Sideroad 7B) that takes you on a right turn off of 13 beside a large municipal sand/salt storage dome. Fair warning: the gravel road can be quite loose, bumpy and steep. There’s a parking lot at the end of the access road. Leave your car there and follow the path through the field and into the woods to the Old Baldy trail. At this point, the trail is 152 meters above the valley and the views of the village of Kimberley, small farms and ski hills can be quite spectacular.
If you’re up for something a little more strenuous, there is a path that allows hikers to make their way up the back side of the Old Baldy trail. There isn’t a designated parking area, but those in the know will find a parking spot in Kimberley and walk along Grey Road 13. A few kilometers before Sideroad 7B, there’s an unmarked access point that allows you to join the trail. The hike is not for the faint of heart, can be quite steep and there aren’t any facilities, but the scenery and the fresh air make it all worthwhile.
The summer may be ending and taking the warm weather with it, but in beautiful Grey County we don’t really mind. Fall triggers sunny days, crisp nights and therefore beautiful autumn colours. If you’re going to be outdoors, take along your camera. Like they say in the commercial, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and Grey County is one of the best locations in Ontario to enjoy it!