It was a gorgeous May long weekend Sunday – perfect for a hike. Devil’s Punch Bowl is a popular Ontario destination and been on my visit list for many years, which is why I decide I would finally make the drive and check out what all the fuss was about for myself.
In addition to my picnic food, water, maps, sunscreen, whistle, hat and first aid kit, I added an 8.5 lb bag of rice to the bottom of my back. This is part of my training for the WTC.
I tried to find the Oakridge Drive side access trail, but had no such luck, even after asking a few of the locals out doing their garden work. The New Mountain Rd was much easier to find. The trail starts with crossing the train tracks after a few stairs. These tracks are active – be cautious when crossing.
The beginning of the trail is a very normal forest walk. It then opens up to to two options ascend by steep hillside trail or descend by steep uneven and well worn stairs. I chose the latter which led to the lower area of the Devil’s Punch Bowl. Here, I took time to explore the side trail , part of which had been washed away from recent rain, requiring toe edging root clinging to pass. The falls were nice, but not as dramatic as I was expecting.
From there I carried on. It’s an interesting section of the trail with lot of ups and downs and log clambering that feels very much in nature, but parallels Stoney Creek.
One of my favourite sections was crossing along the tracks under a car overpass.
Another favourite, was a steep incline leading up to the Felker’s Falls area. The incline wasn’t so fun. A couple of times, I wondered if continuing was worth the effort. Then I came a cross an area where 6 pairs of running shoes were hanging from the trees. Imagining this is where other hiker’s chose to “throw in the hikers” so to speak the humour raised my spirits enough to carry on.
Reaching Felker’s Falls made my day! These were the best waterfalls. There is a beautiful peaceful river area at the top of the falls perfect for a picnic. There were other hikers there soaking up the rays. I joined them for a bit before heading back.
And, because curiosity gets the better of me, I had to climb up the steep hill trail at the top of the Devil’s Punch Bowl stairs. The ascent offered a good view of the town and the escarpment.
Overall I was please with diversity of this section of trail in landscape and difficulty and look forward to section North of Felker’s Falls.
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