Limehouse Conservation Area is one of the best hiking trails near Toronto, nestled between Halton Hills and Georgetown, Ontario. There are a few conservation areas and hiking trails in the vicinity of Halton Hills and Georgetown: Limehouse Conservation Area, Silver Creek Conservation Area, and Terra Cotta Conservation Area. The Bruce Trail is the main hiking trail that connects all three conservation areas.
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Why is Limehouse Conservation Area a notable place to go hiking in southern Ontario? There are unique rock formations and escarpment landscapes that you can explore. You can spot a pretty arched bridge across the river on your way to discovering a piece of local history: lime kilns, mill ruins, and an old powder house. There are several scenic hiking trails through the forest, making for a brilliant day spent in nature.
Limehouse Conservation Area Map
Here’s a map of Limehouse Conservation Area. Feel free to reference it as you hike. The Bruce Trail is the purple line and it is very well marked along the way. Follow the white trail blazes of the Bruce Trail from one end to the other. The Black Creek Side Trail is also marked with blue blazes, and it’s also very well marked (most Bruce Trail side trails will feature many blue trail blazes on the path).
There’s also an orange path on the map, marking a Credit Valley Conservation trail. This conservation area trail is not marked at all on the way. We accidentally took this trail when we were meaning to hike on the Bruce Trail at one point in time. We noticed that there weren’t any white trail blazes, so we backtracked until we found our mistake. On the way back to the parking lot, we walked on the CVC trail and did not see one trail marker the entire way. There’s nothing wrong with taking this trail as it’s a scenic walk through the forest. However, don’t be alarmed when you don’t see any trail markers on this trail at all.
Hiking at Limehouse Conservation Area
There are a few hiking trails at Limehouse Conservation Area that loop around and take you back to where you began. First, you should definitely hike the Bruce Trail at Limehouse. The most interesting features and formations of the park are right along the Bruce Trail. Then, it’s up to you whether you hike on the Black Creek Side Trail, the Credit Valley Conservation Trail, or both.
Limehouse Side Trail
The Limehouse Side Trail is a short hiking trail that connects the main parking lot to the Bruce Trail. It’s only 0.2km in length, and it’s a little trek through the forest.
Bruce Trail at Limehouse
This section of the Bruce Trail near Georgetown is the main reason why you should visit Limehouse Conservation Area. There are scenic sections through the forest where all you’ll see are trees. Head north on the Bruce Trail when you reach it from the Limehouse Side Trail. Eventually, you’ll reach the Hole in the Wall, the old lime kiln ruins, and the powder house. From there, you can continue your hike on the Credit Valley Conservation Trail or the Black Creek Side Trail.
Credit Valley Conservation Trail
Justin and I decided to hike on the Credit Valley Conservation Trail (nearly 1km in length). Please note that there aren’t any trail markers to show that you are in fact hiking on this particular trail. Eventually, you’ll reach one end of the Black Creek Side Trail. We didn’t hike on the Black Creek Side Trail this time around, but I’d like to return to Limehouse Conservation Area to check it out. We decided to loop back around with the Bruce Trail on our way back to the car.
Black Creek Side Trail
The Black Creek Side Trail runs parallel to the Credit Valley Conservation Trail, and it’s a little bit longer at 1.5km. I don’t have too much to say about this trail as we didn’t hike it. If you’re making a loop with the Bruce Trail, you’ll need to choose either the Black Creek Side Trail or the Credit Valley Conservation Trail. However, if you’d like to make a longer hiking day trip, you can choose to hike all three (but you’ll end up hiking one of the trails twice as you hike back to the car).
The Kiln Trail is an incredibly short little trail (50 metres) off the Bruce Trail that leads to the powder house. I didn’t even notice that I was on a different trail, and there aren’t any trail markings for it that I could see. As long as you follow the Bruce Trail, you’ll reach the powder house.
Interesting Features at Limehouse
There are so many cool features at Limehouse Conservation Area that will make you want to visit ASAP. This isn’t your ordinary hiking trail! You’ll be able to hike through some of the most accessible caves in Ontario. There’s a pretty little bridge that’s super photogenic. And then you’ll stumble upon some fascinating local history. Allow me to take you on a little tour of Limehouse Conservation Area!
Hole in the Wall
The Hole in the Wall is a section of karst that the Bruce Trail runs right through, and you’ll be able to traverse through spaces in this escarpment landscape. Karst is fairly common throughout the Niagara Escarpment. It happens when soluble rocks, like the limestone rocks here, dissolve and form underground caves and sinkholes.
At Limehouse Conservation Area, there are big spaces in between the rocks up above. Watch your step on the trail as you navigate across the rocks. It’s possible that you could fall through the spaces between the caves, so take care on this part of the Bruce Trail. Eventually, you’ll reach a ladder. Make your way down below using the ladder. From there, you can walk between these cracks in the limestone. Some of them are just wide enough to squeeze through! It’s a bit of a maze, and it’s a lot of fun to climb around these rock formations.
Near the ladder, you can exit the karst and continue along the Bruce Trail to the next interesting feature, the old stone bridge. Follow the white blazes so you don’t venture off the trail (it’s easy to follow the Credit Valley Conservation trail by mistake like we did!).
Stone Arched Bridge
As you walk across a new, wooden bridge across Black Creek, you’ll spot an old stone arched bridge that also spans Black Creek. It’s a very picturesque scene: the old stone bridge across the gently flowing water, framed by trees and foliage.
There’s a fence on either side of the creek to protect this old bridge. It has lost stones over the years as people try to climb across it. There are a couple of signs asking that visitors stay behind the fence and do not climb on this bridge. It’s the only way we can preserve it for future generations to enjoy.
Lime Kilns & Mill Ruins
Next to the pretty old bridge are some more stones from an old mill. These are the mill ruins and all that remains from the old mill. As you continue to walk on the trail, you’ll quickly come across a large old lime kiln.
It was once 16 metres high in the mid-1800s, and unfortunately has deteriorated over the years. There are some wood planks against the lime kiln to stabilize the stones and save them from crumbling further.
The Powder House
Last, you’ll come across the powder house just off the Bruce Trail. This powder house displays the date of 1850. It stored the blasting powder that was used to break up pieces of limestone. The powder house hasn’t been used since the early 1900s when blasting using these methods came to a halt.
Plan Your Visit
Here is a map of where you’ll find Limehouse Conservation Area. Google Maps will direct you to the main parking lot off 5th Line. The parking lot is fairly large, and there are some picnic tables near the entrance. The Limehouse Side Trail begins at the end of this parking lot. It’s free to park here and access the trails. There aren’t any restrooms or facilities at this conservation area.
More Credit Valley Conservation Hikes
There are several Credit Valley Conservation Areas in Mississauga, Halton Hills, Georgetown, Caledon, and beyond. Here are all of the Credit Valley Conservation Areas:
- Silver Creek Conservation Area
- Terra Cotta Conservation Area
- Cheltenham Badlands
- Island Lake Conservation Area
- Belfountain Conservation Area
- Ken Whillans Resource Management Area
- Elora Cataract Trailway
- Limehouse Conservation Area
- Meadowvale Conservation Area
- Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
- Upper Credit Conservation Area
- Riverwood Conservancy (owned by CVC & City of Mississauga)
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