Cradled within the beautiful landscape of Blue Mountain lies a nature lover’s paradise, where hikers can surround themselves with the wonders of the environment. As you set foot on these scenic trails, you’ll encounter a variety of flora and fauna. Some of the local plant life will be your friends, offering sweet treats and fascinating discoveries, while others may be potential foes, hiding hazards you need to avoid. Read on as we explore what hidden gems Blue has to offer along its hiking trails.
As you begin your hike, the vibrant hues of sumac will catch your eye, decorating the start of the Grind and covering hillsides. Amidst their vibrant red clusters these hardy shrubs bear edible berries, and although these may not be the sweetest treat, using them for teas and spices is a must-try!
2. Apple Trees
Venturing further along the trail as you near the lower section of the Grind, you’ll stumble upon a surprise — wild apple trees! Nature’s generosity provides you with a sweet reward for your journey.
3. Raspberry Canes
Alongside the path, as if someone had planted them for weary hikers, vast patches of red raspberry bushes flourish. Additionally, you can find black raspberries along the lower Grind, Sticks & Stones, and throughout Cagey, which are different to black berries. These vibrant berries draw you to enjoy their juicy goodness.
4. Wild Leeks
While venturing through Outer Limits and Cagey trails during the Spring, you might stumble upon patches of Wild Leeks. The aromatic scent of these edible delights fills the air, inviting you to experience the flavours of the forest in a responsible and sustainable manner.
5. Sugar Maple Trees
The lower Grind area reveals another marvel, a Canadian favourite: Sugar Maple trees. Their brilliant foliage during the fall months sets the landscape ablaze with their vibrant colours. These trees hold a special place in the region’s heart, not only for their look but also for their maple syrup production… obviously!
Watch Out for These Foes
1. Giant Hogweed or Wild Parsnip
Amidst the natural wonders, a word of caution is essential. In the lower Grind area you might come across two big patches of Giant Hogweed or Wild Parsnip. While their appearance might be striking, do not be deceived, for they are highly toxic plants that can cause severe skin irritation.
2. Poison Ivy
As you explore the upper Village Way on the banks of the switchback trails, as well as in the forested sections around the top station of the Orchard chairlift, beware of the familiar trio of leaves – Poison Ivy. The itching and discomfort it will cause is not to trifle with, so stay on the trails and avoid any accidental encounters.
While walking up Village Way, next to and above Timber Challenge High Ropes in the Spring, keep an eye out for Fiddleheads – the young, coiled fronds of the Ostrich Fern. These charming spirals represent the first signs of new life, a symbol of growth and transformation within our environment.
2. Eastern White Cedar
During your ascent into the Upper Grind section, you’ll encounter sections filled with Eastern White Cedar. These interesting trees, with their aromatic foliage, add an enchanting ambiance to the trail.
During the Spring a true treasure awaits as you venture out on 1940 and Outer Limits trails; keep your eyes peeled for beautiful Trilliums. These elegant three-petaled flowers, the official emblem of Ontario, create a beautiful tapestry of white, pink, and dark red blooms, a sight to behold and cherish.