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Places to visit near Owen Sound

A road trip: places to visit near Owen Sound

We thought we had explored every part of southern Ontario (anything south of Sudbury), but it seems that we just found a new area for future road trips. There are many places to visit near Owen Sound, a city of about 21,000 residents, located on an inlet of Georgian Bay.

On Labour Day weekend  in 2012, we headed out on a mini-day trip. My husband Frank woke me up early and we were hopping into our car in the wee hours of the morning (try a 4:30 a.m. wake-up and hitting the road at 5:15 a.m.). Grabbing a Tim Horton’s coffee from a delightful older lady who is truly an early morning person, we hit Highway 6 heading north for about two hours to Owen Sound.

Frank was driving. I was taking photos along the way. Like this one of horses grazing in a misty field:

Horses grazing in the morning: places to visit near Owen Sound

Our early morning departure meant that there were few cars on Highway 6, which is often one of the busiest roads during the summer period.  We didn’t have a conga line in front or behind us, as is usually the case later in the day on a long weekend.

The early morning start also meant we were seeing some interesting things on the road, from a red fox bounding across to the other side; a momma deer with baby walking through farm fields; numerous cows grazing; and the dew which blanketed the countryside and occasionally the road. Since the cool air was hovering over the ground, it was also trapping the smells that naturally come with cows grazing… methane… i.e. farts!

We took our time getting to Owen Sound, stopping in one of my favourite towns – Elora – to see what had changed since our last visit. Not much had changed with the exception of the historic Elora Inn being closed for renovations (it’s still closed as of August 2015). The beautiful Grand River waterfront view from the bridge continues to be the highlight of every stop we make in this town.

Elora, Ontario - Elora Mill Inn

We passed through other small towns such as Fergus, Arthur and Mount Forest. All of them were covered with a morning mist, eerily quiet and devoid of any movement except for the occasional car passing through.

Ontario farm early in the morning

Heading up through to the Owen Sound area, we veered onto several side roads to explore the area of Georgian Bluffs and the Grey and Bruce Counties.

We fell in love with the shoreline of Grey Road 1, between Kemble and Wiarton. Along this road we stopped at Colpoy’s Lookout Conservation Area to check out the rocky beach. This is a perfect spot to stop, stretch your legs and have a picnic. In the distance you see the Blue Mountains, which are part of the Niagara Escarpment, running all the way from Niagara Falls, north to Tobermory.

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Wild chicory growing at the rocky beach at Colpoy’s Bay.

Places to visit near Owen Sound - Colpoy's Bay

Just a bit further west along Grey Road 1, we stopped at the Bruce’s Caves Conservation Area to check out the largest caves we’ve seen to date in Ontario.

Bruce Caves - places to visit near Owen Sound

Bruce Caves

The caves are carved out of the Niagara Escarpment – according to the Grey Sauble Conservation website they are very unique:

Bruce’s Caves Conservation Area derives its greatest significance from the unique cave formations found along the escarpment face. These caves were formed by the wave action of post-glacial Lake Algonquin, 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. The significance of the cave formations lies in their dramatic illustration of past weathering processes and impresses upon us the magnitude of the post-glacial lake levels. The caves also illustrate the different physical and chemical weathering rates of various sections of the escarpment (soluble limestone and Amabel dolomite).”

Places to visit near Owen Sound

The woods at Bruce Caves Conservation Area

Taking a little detour through Oliphant – the kiteboarders dream location on Lake Huron – we turned eastwards once again and headed to one of our favourite waterfalls – Inglis Falls.

Cascading over limestone that is part of the Niagara Escarpment, Inglis Falls are very impressive after a good rainfall. Inglis Falls is spectacular in the winter as well, creating a thick ice shelf.

Inglis Falls: Places to visit near Owen Sound

Taking a moment to shoot some photos and stretch our legs, we clambered on the rocky path at Inglis Falls. Unfortunately the rocky descent down was a bit too much and we opted to take the view from a safer position.

We continued eastwards through the small, pretty town of Meaford, Ontario and then south to Eugenia Falls.

Here we had a good view of the falls from a little distance away. Unfortunately due to little rain over the past few weeks, the falls were more of a trickle. We can only imagine what they would be like after a good rainfall.

We ended our meandering mini-road trip by heading back via county roads, through Bellwood, bypassing Guelph to criss-cross through Campellville and into our hometown of Burlington.

While it wasn’t a long trip, we saw many areas to explore in South Bruce County and Grey County. We’ve had several day trips into the area since then, and we continually find new roads to explore.

What are your favourite places to visit near Owen Sound?

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