Forks of the Credit Provincial Park has amazing hiking trails that are wonderful in all seasons. It’s a great park if you’re looking for some exercise outdoors, the chance to view a gorgeous waterfall, and nature hikes along the river.
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From vast meadows to stunning escarpment views, the Forks of the Credit trails have really got it all. The hiking trails at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park aren’t boring old flat paths. There are many hills up and down the escarpment, so it might be a little challenge for those who aren’t used to hiking a lot of hills.
I’d consider it to be a moderate hike for Ontario trails, but I still think that beginners could tackle this one perfectly well! Let me show you some of the hiking trails at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park that you can explore.
Forks of the Credit Provincial Park Trail Map
There is a map at the entrance of Forks of the Credit Provincial Park and many trail markers on the way. It’s difficult to get lost here! However, I found that one of the Bruce Trail side trails that I used on the outskirts of the park was missing from the map. As the provincial park hiking trail map was a little incomplete, I decided to make my own (posted above).
The parking lot is off McLaren Road where the Trans Canada Trail (green line) meets the Meadow Trail (red line). Here is the legend for the map:
- Meadow Trail (red)
- Trans Canada Trail (green)
- Bruce Trail (orange) – Portions of the Bruce Trail also called the Dominion Trail in the park
- Bruce Trail Side Trail (dark blue)
- The Quarryman’s Side Trail (light blue)
- Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail (purple)
Forks of the Credit Provincial Park Trails
Unless you’re on a Bruce Trail end to end hike, you’ll likely start at the main parking lot for the provincial park. From the parking lot, you can take the Meadow Trail or the Trans Canada Trail. Before I start writing about the hiking trails, I want to make note of the closures at the park and the waterfall.
Hiking to Cataract Falls
For several years, it’s no longer possible to stand on the viewing platform at Cataract Falls. The park closed a portion of the hiking trail by the waterfall so it no longer connects in a loop. Even though you can’t get quite as close to Cataract Falls, it’s definitely still worth visiting. You can still see this beautiful waterfall, just at a slightly farther distance away.
Thankfully, the park staff have made it really easy to hike to the waterfall. On every trail sign post, there’s a small sign that says “Falls” with an arrow. Follow these signs and you’ll get to the waterfall, no problem. Instead of a loop trail, this is now an out and back trail. Walk to the waterfall, and then you’ll need to retrace your steps back from where you came.
My Hike at Forks of the Credit
There are several routes to take for shorter or longer hikes in the park. Many of these trails form a loop, so it’s really a bit of a choose your own adventure. For my hiking trip, I followed all of the “Falls” small signs to reach Cataract Falls. I started on the Meadow Trail, continued down the escarpment on the Quarryman’s Side Trail, and then hiked the Bruce Trail / Dominion Trail to the waterfall.
Then, I turned around and ventured back down the Bruce Trail. I took a slight detour on the Bruce Trail side trail to walk down by the river. Then, I connected back up with the Bruce Trail to the very edge of the park. The Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail is a connecting trail back up the escarpment that joins up with another section of the Bruce Trail.
I took the Bruce Trail in a westerly direction back into the provincial park. Then, I headed northwest on the Trans Canada Trail, around Kettle Lake, and back to the starting point. This loop hike was a little under 9km and I hiked for approximately three hours at a leisurely pace in the snow.
Now, let me tell you a little bit about the trails themselves, along with some photos!
Starting on the Meadow Trail, you’ll hike on a fairly open space. This is a wide path with a few ups and downs. After a short time, you’ll reach Kettle Lake. Of course, it was completely covered in snow and ice when I visited. You’d barely know that a lake was even there.
There were many footprints across the lake, so it was completely frozen when I was there. If you want to walk across a frozen lake in southern Ontario, Forks of the Credit Provincial Park is a great place to do so.
Continuing along, you’ll ascend up a hill with some great viewpoints of the surrounding meadows. Eventually, you’ll reach the white Bruce Trail blazes. While this trail is marked as the Bruce Trail within the park itself, it’s noted as The Quarryman’s Side Trail in my Bruce Trail guide.
The Quarryman’s Side Trail
On the Bruce Trail / The Quarryman’s Side Trail, you will descend down the hill. It’s a gradual descent and there are wooden planks that will help guide you down if you need them. I was wearing my microspikes, so I ended up sticking mostly to the hill itself as I had great traction.
Slowly but surely, you’ll find your way down to the bottom of the hill. There’s a little building with some restrooms in case you need them. This is where the side trail connects with the Bruce Trail, also known as the Dominion Trail within the park.
Bruce Trail / Dominion Trail to Cataract Falls
Hang a right on the Bruce Trail / Dominion Trail to hike to Cataract Falls. The trail meanders through a shady part of the forest with lots of trees. It’s mostly an uphill climb here, and there were a couple of places that were icy. If you have the proper footwear (microspikes or icers on your shoes in winter), it won’t be a problem at all.
The trail reaches at dead end at the trail closure. You can look out from here to view the beautiful Cataract Falls. It’s pretty frozen in the winter months. The waterfall is super pretty, even if you can only see it from afar.
Once you’re done admiring the waterfall, turn around and head back to where you came. You will have the choice to continue on the Bruce Trail or take the side trail, as denoted by the blue blazes. I suggest taking the Bruce Trail Side Trail. It’s not that much of a detour as it reconnects with the Bruce Trail further down the path. Plus, you have the chance to see some different viewpoints.
Bruce Trail Side Trail
The Bruce Trail Side Trail is relatively short, but you’ll be able to walk right along the river. It’s super pretty in the winter time. There’s snow and ice building up along the riverbanks, surrounded by trees.
On my hike, there were a couple of places where I could stop to admire the spectacular river scenes. I found these to be even prettier than the waterfall views!
Bruce Trail to Dominion Street
Back on the Bruce Trail, this stretch of the hike is a pretty long, flat path. It’s very peaceful and I didn’t encounter a single other person on this section of the trail. Most visitors to the park will hike to the waterfall and back without venturing any farther.
It’s definitely worth continuing your hike on the Bruce Trail towards the southern end of the park. It’s very calm and quiet, and I love those moments in nature.
Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail
You can keep hiking on the Bruce Trail out of Forks of the Credit Provincial Park or take the Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail. This side trail is a short cut that connects back up with another part of the Bruce Trail. This trail creates a loop within the park.
This was the steepest section of the hike as there are a couple of sections that feel more like staircases upwards. There are some wooden planks that will help you hike to the top. The trail gets a little more narrow here, so be careful as you hike along the edge of the escarpment. It’s nothing treacherous, but something to be mindful about.
Back on the Bruce Trail
You will see the white trail blazes once again as you reconnect to the Bruce Trail. If you keep walking straight, you’ll still be on the Bruce Trail. To enter back into the park and loop back around to the parking lot, take a left here.
I found this section of the Bruce Trail in Forks of the Credit Provincial Park to be the most scenic and interesting. The trail gets very narrow as it winds around the hilltop. You’ll enjoy great views down below as you follow the path. There aren’t too many hills here as you’re already at the top. Enjoy it!
Trans Canada Trail
The Bruce Trail connects to the Trans Canada Trail. This path is very wide and for the most part, flat. You’ll find yourself on the opposite side of Kettle Lake, looking down on the lake from above.
Keep walking and you will eventually reach the parking lot. This is my suggested hike for Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. Of course, you’re welcome to simply hike around some of the trails for a shorter hike or you can even continue on the Bruce Trail at the southern or eastern edges of the park. These trails stretch beyond Forks of the Credit Provincial Park to connect with other parks, like Belfountain Conservation Area.
Plan Your Visit to Forks of the Credit Provincial Park
Forks of the Credit Provincial Park is open all year long, though the trails are not maintained throughout the winter months. This is a pretty popular place to visit, so the snow was packed down. You can go snowshoeing here in the winter, but I didn’t find the snow to be too deep. I’d definitely consider wearing microspikes in the winter because it is quite hilly and there are icy sections.
There is no camping at the park as it is meant for day use only. There are washroom facilities at the main parking lot and at the base of The Quarryman’s Side Trail / Bruce Trail. During the warmer months, there is a picnic area with a grassy area near the parking lot.
Parking costs $7.50 for four hours or $14 for the day. I highly suggest picking up an Ontario Parks annual pass. With an Ontario Parks pass, you and whoever is inside the car with you can visit any provincial park for the day. After five visits to provincial parks in Ontario, the pass pays for itself.
Forks of the Credit Provincial Park is a very popular park, even in the wintertime. I recommend visiting on a weekday or earlier in the day, if possible. The parking lot fills up pretty quickly. Plan accordingly!
What to Bring on a Winter Hiking Trip
Your packing list for a winter hiking trip will look much different than one in the summer! Here are some important things to consider bringing with you on a winter day hike.
- Waterproof day pack
- Water bottle for cold drinks or insulated bottle for hot drinks
- Hand warmers / toe warmers
- 3-in-1 jacket (for men and for women)
- Insulating layers (base layer top for women and for men)
- Base layer tights (for men and for women)
- Snow pants
- Swiss Army knife
- Warm hat, scarf, and mittens
- Waterproof hiking boots or winter boots
- Fast Mask neck gaiter
- Portable charger for cell phone (phone battery dies quicker in the cold!)
- Flashlight or headlamp (the sun goes down more quickly)
- Hiking poles
- Snacks / trail mix
- At least one change of hiking socks
More Nearby Hiking Trails
There are lots of amazing hiking trails in Peel region, Caledon, and the surrounding area that you can check out for next time. If you’re planning to visit for a few days or more, I recommend going to these trails after you hike at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.
More Nearby Provincial Parks
Looking for more Ontario Provincial Parks in southern Ontario? Here are some that I loved visiting:
Where to Stay in Caledon
Here’s a handy booking tool where you can see all of the Booking.com accommodations and Airbnbs in one place. It’s easy to compare prices and find the best rate for your trip to Oakville.
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