One of the most awe-inspiring places to explore in Ontario is Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, a 750-hectare natural wonderland just an hour and a half north of Toronto.
Located on the Niagara Escarpment, the woodland park is an explorer's dream, filled with hidden caves, moss-covered cliffs and surging waterfalls throughout its 19-km, seven-trail network. It is one of the most biodiverse locations in the province, featuring a multitude of bird, mammal, fish and reptile species in distinct ecosystems like forests and wetlands.
Perhaps the most striking features of the park are its collection of ancient rock formations, which have existed for over 11,000 years. They were left behind when the last glacier of the most recent Ice Age shifted north, causing sedimentary rock layers in the area to erode into dolomite and limestone escarpments.
Hikers can walk among the centuries-old rocks using the park's Clifftop Side Trail, a three-kilometre footpath that cuts through an old canyon and leads to wooden boardwalks, staircases, cedar forests and crevice caves. The trail also leads to multiple viewing points atop the 40-metre cliffs in the area, which give a stunning panoramic view of the Niagara Escarpment.
While Ontario Parks suggests the best time to visit the Mono Cliffs is in the fall, it is still a beautiful spot to day trip to in the summer months. The park is open year-round for day use, so you can head there any time of the year.
There are no campgrounds in the area, however those who would still like to go camping can head over to Earl Rowe Provincial Park, which is just a short 19-minute drive away.
For more information, visit the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park Page on OntarioParks.com.
Cover photo by @jameswilliambothwelliv