Snowshoe Gourmet

Over the crest of the Escarpment bluffs that form the Blue Mountains, the ski hills give way to forest. Here you’ll find secluded trails and lofty viewpoints. If you feel like escaping the crowds for a quieter winter activity, try this snowshoe hike on the Bruce Trail in Grey County.

Just a short snowshoe from the Maple Lane parking area and on the south side of the trail, there are some interesting rock formations.

The Trail passes just above the Escarpment ridgeline and the best time to take advantage of the views is in winter, with no tree leaves to obstruct your vision of Georgian Bay far below.

The Bruce Trail in winter provides amazing views of Blue Mountain and Georgian Bay.

Where Maple Lane ends (see map, below) you can pull over to the side of the road and park. You’ll see the white blazes of the Trail; follow them in a northwesterly direction (left). You’ll probably encounter a snowpacked trail already established. If you’re making first tracks, keep an eye out for the blazes and stay on the trail, which will take you through hardwood forest and over spring-fed waterfalls cascading out of the rock. This trail skirts the summits of three of Ontario’s major alpine ski terrains: the north end of Blue Mountain Resort, as well as the Craigleith and Alpine Ski Clubs. The trail is mostly tucked inside the forest except where you emerge briefly at the top of the Craigleith chairlift (make sure you follow the white blazes).

Getting kids out in cold temperatures is challenging but rewarding.

When you come to the sign indicating the Intercept Side Trail, you have a choice: you can turn around and follow your tracks back to where you started, or you can hike out 300 metres to the 21 Sideroad road access, if you left a car here. Either way, make your way to County Road 119 (see map, below) and then drive the short distance to Ravenna, at the intersection of 119 and County Road 2.

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Here you’ll find Ravenna Country Market, one of those friendly, independently-owned-and-operated spots far removed from heavy traffic and filled to the rafters with gourmet goods.

The Ravenna buttertarts have a formidable – and well-deserved – reputation.

Offering sit-down or take out, you can choose from homemade entrees, soups and sandwiches, pies sweet and savoury, pastries, fudge, locally roasted coffee, and much more.

Potato, bacon and leek soup with a flatbread grilled cheese: The cold is quickly forgotten.

Entrees-to-go include goat cheese stuffed chicken, Sicilian meat loaf and vegetarian fare. The Market is a conveniently located backcountry food-and-hot-drink hub, situated a short drive from Kolapore Uplands, the Bruce Trail, Metcalfe Rock, Duncan Escarpment Nature Reserve, and Scenic Caves. It’s the ideal place to rest your snowshoe legs.

For more about winter in Grey County, click here. Stay tuned for Snowshoe Gourmet #2: The Waterfall and the Flying Chestnut.

Map by Aaron Roininen.

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