Saturday, October 10, 2020

Fall at the Forks of the Credit

Caledon is the king of Fall in the GTA, where thousands make the trek through roads choked with traffic fighting to see fall colours before the leaves become crispy and brown. Some of the destinations that are most valued in the tree rich area include the Cheltenham Badlands, the Bruce Trail and the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. The rail line at the north end of the park is shown in the picture at top.

The Elora Cataract Rail Trail enters the park in the north off of Mississauga Road near Cataract Road. When you get in the park, crossing two pedestrian bridges, you cannot bike further because the Dominion Trail is blocked and you would have to climb a long set of winding stairs up the steep hill. You can still walk the trails and enjoy the park without having to endure the crowded roads while looking for a parking space.

The bridge over the railway from the Elora Cataract Trail into the park

From the park's website, "Forks of the Credit Provincial Park has implemented measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing. Park operating hours are 8am-7pm Monday to Thursday - no further entry permitted after 5pm and 8am-8pm Friday to Sunday-no further entry will be permitted after 4pm (Friday to Sunday - Park gates may be closed at any time of day if park capacity is reached) Visitors should plan accordingly and make alternate arrangements in the event that the park gates are closed."

The Credit River passes under the pedestrian bridge
The Credit River downstream of the bridge. This section of the trail is closed

From the park's website, "The Forks of the Credit Provincial Park Mill site viewing platform is temporarily closed. Ontario Parks is currently reviewing options for the replacement of the platform.
To view the falls, travel along the Meadow Trail until it intersects with the Bruce Trail. Follow Bruce Trail west until it intersects the Dominion Trail. Go north until it ends at the closure. Be advised you will be required to return the same way."

The provincial park is tucked between Cataract and Brimstone, an astonishingly set of grim names for a pair of small settlements. Remember that parking is in short supply and towing is always a favoured action of the local constabulary and their restrictive bylaws. 

To bypass the problems with parking I have taken the Elora Cataract Trailway which runs 47 km between Elora and Cataract on the old Credit Valley Railway right of way which was acquired from the CPR in 1993. There are many spots for parking in between the terminal points and you can ride right into the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park from the trail. I had previously rode from Belwood Lake to the park and back with a distance of 58km but it didn't leave much time to explore the park before I was riding back in the dark, soaking wet due to the rain. This time I chose to park in Erin and make the approximately 10km one way journey to allow more time for adventure.

The park is full of trails that lead along the Credit and through the Forks of the Credit, some cutting up from the river to the top of the valley. The beauty of the river valley is incredible, fall colours as of October 10, 2020 are at 80% with a leaf fall of 20%. There is not too much time left to take in the splendor of Fall in this park.

You can check on twitter for the latest parking updates and it doesn't take long to fill the parking lot. "Forks of the Credit Provincial Park @ForksCreditPP October 10,2020 - 9:45am Forks of the Credit is at 100% capacity - no further entry will be permitted. travel safely!"

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