Boyne Valley and Murphy’s Pinnacle
We took just over three hours to enjoy this loop in the eastern part of the Boyne Valley Provincial Park. Lots of hills to climb, resulting in amazing views, forests and meadows to enjoy, and some small creeks and rivers – and therefore mud, even in October! Part of the hike involves walking along a quiet side road for about 10 minutes – well worth it to complete the loop.
Location of the hike
- About an hour drive north west from Toronto or about a 20 minute drive north from Orangeville
- Parking lot is at the very end of Centre Road, south of Side Road 5, beyond the private driveways at Lat: 44.117492, Long: -80.128456
- Dufferin Hi-Land section of the Bruce Trail on Map 20
Map of Boyne Valley and points of interest
Driving and parking:
- Coming from the south take Hwy 10 north through Orangeville
- Continue straight (north) on Hwy 19 (Prince of Wales Rd) at Hwy 89 (past the parking lot for the Primrose trail – or park there and do the hike slightly differently)
- Turn right (east) on Side Rd 5
- Turn right (south) on the gravel Centre Rd to the very end
- The parking lot is at the very end of the road, down the hill from the private driveways. Be sure to follow all municipal parking signs and do not block the driveways.
I intended to start this hike by parking in the same lot on Hwy 19 as the Primrose and Prince of Wales hike, and suggest doing that, but instead I ended up at the parking lot on Centre Road just south of the 5th Sideroad. It is all a loop, so it worked out OK.
From the parking area on the Centre Road, head south a bit (respecting the private property east and west of the trail) to the Boyne Valley Ontario Parks sign, and note there is no camping, fires, or motorized vehicles allowed, no horses, and no bike riding.
Leave all those rules and requirements behind and turn left (east) to take the loop clockwise. You’ll have private fields to your left, while you hike through forest and fields, and wonderful rolling hills. The main trail (white blazes) then starts down into valleys and small creeks. It seems like my favourite hike is always my most previous hike, but this section stands out!
After about 25 minutes from the car you’ll notice the main trail turns left and climbs up the steep valley edge. Good news, today we’re going to take the flatter Boyne Valley Side Trail (blue blazes) straight ahead instead. Its about 400m further through the forest until you’ll reach the road (1st Line East). Turn right (south) and carefully walk down the quiet road, enjoying the multiple crossings over creeks and river.
The road turns to the right (with a wonderful wall of trees south) then when the road starts to turn left again, watch for the entrance back into the forest on your right.
We’ll now head west to complete the southern part of the loop, through more deep forest, and across a few bridges and muddy spots, some with boardwalks to make the going easier, and to keep your feet dry. A physical reminder that there are lots of volunteers that keep the trail open (maybe you one day!). The sidetrail will eventually turn to the left somewhat (south) and end back at the main Bruce Trail (white blazes) where you’ll turn right (north). There was a picnic table there in the fall of 2020.
North we go on the main trail, across an additional larger river (pause to enjoy the sound of running water) and try and keep your shoes dry.
Then the trail starts to climb again – watch for the Primrose Loop Side trail to your left. You can either continue straight and complete the loop, or as we did, turn left (west) to take the sidetrail towards Country Road 19. It was about a 25 minute hike to the road, then we turned around and came back to this spot. Stopping for photos, it will take just under an hour.
Remember when I said the earlier part of the hike was one of my favourite? Well this upcoming 1.2 km section was amazing too… You’ll start by walking just south of a huge hill – we’ll get there in a bit. Instead look to your left, south out across the hills while walking through the grass before the trail re-enters the forest, continues south-west, then a steep downhill to the road. You can cross the road and get to the the Primrose and Prince of Wales hike linked below.
Instead, retrace your steps all the way back to the eastern end of the Primrose Loop Side Trail which ends at the main Bruce Trail, and turn left (north) to finish the loop. But there is one more sidetrail to enjoy – the short, 70 metre Murphy’s Pinnacle Side Trail on your left, which takes you to the top of the hill we noticed earlier. Technically the hill is a ‘kame‘ – a conical hill deposited by meltwater during the last ice age, or so describes the sign. Up you go to enjoy the views, try and trace the route we’ve taken, and read the sign, in memory of Samuel A. Rea Jr and the support and donations he made to the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
Once you’re done, return to the main trail, turn left (north) to finish the loop back to the parking lot. More fields, forests, and and old apple orchard. The trail will turn to the right (east) and you’ll see the end of the private fields to your left. Watch for the short path back up to the parking lot on your left.
Other hikes nearby:
- Connects to the Primrose and Prince of Wales hike east of this hike
- Splitrock Narrows Nature Reserve is 8.2km south (10 minute drive)
- Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is about 14km south (15 minute drive)
Reference and related links:
- Boyne Valley Side Trail Loop Map from Brucetrail.org