Written by: Caitlin Foisy, follow her adventures at @runhardmomhard
Being an active mom with 3 kids, I’m always looking for fun activities to do with the family (and also local trails I can tackle on my own for some ‘me’ time). This year our family purchased the ‘explore’ pass, and we’ve been taking advantage of the new hiking trails and gondola access! My kids are 1, 3, and 6, and here’s my ‘insider info’ on our favourite routes to do as a family, or solo.
Full disclosure- I carry my 1 year old in a hiking knapsack, and when we hike together we take our time to enjoy the scenery, look at bugs, and have LOTS snacks. Some of the spots have tricky footing, so we always wear running shoes, hats and sunscreen as the trails can be exposed. Remember to hike within your ability level, and have fun!
Memory Lane: Short and Sweet hike (from the top)
Memory Lane is a great loop trail that starts and ends at the top of Blue Mountain. This trail was a downhill mountain bike trail, so make sure to wear appropriate footwear as you will go over a few bridges and rock gardens.
Village Way Up: Short (but challenging) Family hike #1
We love hiking village way up, then taking the gondola down. This is just over a 1km hike. We enjoy the route because it starts in the Village, takes you by all the neat attractions (say hi to the Blue Mountain Goats (at the woodlot)), then you’re in the forest and shaded for most of the remainder of the hike. The trail is well marked, and there are some fun bridges for the kids to run over. There’s also a great lookout about ⅔ of the way up where we usually have a snack and water break. Bonus- at the top you merge onto the Bruce trail. Did you know the Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest footpath? It spans approximately 895km from Tobermory all the way to Niagara Falls!
Cascade trail up: Short (but challenging) Family hike #2
We love Cascade because it’s such a unique and beautiful hike! It’s a hard uphill hike, but all in the forest and sheltered from the sun. Wear close-toed shoes to help with grip as this trail can sometimes be muddy. This trail has lots of stairs, but you are rewarded with a great workout and views of a waterfall most of the way up. If you’re hiking over to the gondola after, there’s a few great lookouts to snap pics, but be aware it’s more exposed so wear a hat! It’s also a longer hike across the top to get to the gondola compared to Village way.
Longer Hikes for adults and older kids:
Cascade up, Ebb and Flow down (approx 5k round trip)
Want a longer hike or to avoid the village? Try Cascade up, go left at the top and across Mission Road Side trail, then take Ebb and Flow down. Ebb and Flow has some fun flowy sections (it was a downhill mountain biking trail), some bridges and rock features, and weaves in and out of the forest. You will come out by the Orchard Chair on the South Side of Blue Mountain. This is about a 5km round-trip hike
Village Way up, across the top and down Ebb and Flow.
This is a route I will often run. It’s about 5-7km if you make it into a loop. Best to go during quiet times if you are running and don’t want to be passing lots of families 😉
*note, there are more up options than down options, and each ‘down’ hike is located at opposite ends of the resort. There is no ‘down’ option very close to the gondola, which is why we usually hike up then take the gondola down.