Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve is an amazing hiking trail nestled high up on the Niagara Escarpment 15 minutes near Collingwood. Featuring series of winding crevasses, miniature caves and beautiful forested slopes blanketed with mosses and spectacular displays of trilliums, the atmosphere is uniquely different from most trails in Ontario.
The first stretch of the Nottawasga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve is relatively flat as you follow along the edge of the Escarpment through a dense forest. Hopefully, you bathed yourselves in some sort of deep wood insect repellant spray, because around here, the mosquitoes are out in full force.
Although the beginning of the trail is relatively flat, there were many interesting rocks and crevices cloaked with bright green mosses to enjoy. However, the real highlight of this hike is the Standing Rock & Cave Side Trail which forms a 1.2km loop with the main Bruce Trial.
The side trail heads down the Escarpment to a tall standing rock pillar and leads through, around, under and above large boulders, rocky crevices and small caves encrusted by thin layers of green mosses and tiny ferns. A beautiful sight to enjoy as you scramble through narrow wedges between rocks to fully explore all the splendors that Standing Rock & Cave Side Trail offers.
It is fascinating to be able to explore these crevices and caves as these rock formations have been around for at least 10,000 years, shaped during the ice age. Pressure from the melted ice cap caused the shale and dolostone that was located underneath to dislodge from itself. This natural phenomenon sent the rocks everywhere, creating the crevices and narrow caves you see now at the Nottawasaga Lookout Nature Reserve.