Hiking Devil’s Pulpit in Caledon
On the hunt for hikes within a couple of hours of my home in Simcoe County, with views and some sort of interesting story, I stumbled upon the Devil’s Pulpit and Ring Kiln Side Trail in Caledon. Located next to the Belfountain Conservation Area in the Caledon Hills, the Devil’s Pulpit trail can be accessed at the end of Chisholm Street, off of Forks of the Credit Road. The Devil’s Pulpit trail is also a part of the Bruce Trail – Canada’s oldest and longest footpath.
A friend and I headed out early to enjoy a full day of hiking in the Caledon area. We arrived at 9am and were excited to find we had the trail to ourselves. The initial trail is a mix of rocky terrain and steps made from the forest floor and old wooded railway ties, and is on a bold incline. Then the dense forest parts where a railway line travels through. After crossing the train tracks you’re surrounded again by thick forest and the ascent becomes steeper. It feels like you’re moving through an enchanted forest with large moss covered rocks, and ferns stretching to meet the delicate rays of the sun penetrating the canopy.
Eventually you come face to face with a massive cliff face. Here you’ll find a steep, crude stairway made of janky railway ties and jagged rocks. Proceed with caution and don’t be shy to use the cable to help pull yourself up and steady yourself on the narrow path. Once at the top of the escarpment you are rewarded with stunning views over the Credit Valley through what feels like a forest window.
You can continue up and along the Bruce Trail, which I highly recommend. You’ll find a mix of habitats, from meadows to marshy areas and what looks like a serene lake but is actually a peat bog. This section of the Bruce Trail continues on until you reach Creditview Road.
This isn’t a loop trail so you’ll have to return the way you came. But rest assured it’s mostly all down hill. Plus, there is a side trail on your way back down, just after the devil’s staircase and cliff face. Here you can take the Ring Kiln Side Trail to the Hoffman Lime Kiln ruins. The trail to the ruins is a steep descent over rocks and it has a bit of a drop off to the right. The ruins come right out of the forest as if they’re Mayan ruins. But the Hoffman Lime Kiln was in service over 100 years ago and was used for burning dolostone, that’s found in the area, to create lime. Moss clings to the old stones creating a carpet-like wall. The trail is a loop around and through the ruins. After you have to retrace your steps up the trail and back to the Devil’s Pulpit trail to continue down and out.
I was completely enamored with this trail! The trail offered challenging ascents, moss covered rocks that bring to mind enchanted fairy tales, and a wealth of wildlife to encounter. We saw a wide array of song birds, a skunk, garter snake, and even a fox. The Devil’s Pulpit trail is definitely one of those trails you can hike again and again as you’ll continue to discover new treasures and still be awed.
Level of Difficultly – Challenging
Time – Can be done within 1 to 2 hours dependent on if you continue past the Devil’s Pulpit viewpoint.