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New Side Trail Honours BVBTC Trail Blazer!

Bruce Trail blue blaze side trail marker. Photo Marg Yaraskavitch 2018.
Photo © Marg Yaraskavitch, 2018.

In June, the Beaver Valley Bruce Trail opened the latest side trail addition. The Stew Hilts Side Trail is a 480 metre trail taking hikers to the base of a beautiful waterfall that has rarely been seen before. The waterfall tumbles over the escarpment edge before flowing down the valley slope toward the Boyne River in the upper reaches of the Beaver Valley near Flesherton.

This trail is named to honour Stew Hilts, who is a longstanding member of the Bruce Trail and an active volunteer with the Beaver Valley Club. He has served on our Board as Land Steward Director, has led slowpoke hikes and shared photos and stories from his many forays through the valley in Beaver Tales.

Stew Hilts first discovered this waterfall several years ago whilst exploring the upper Beaver Valley, in search of interesting natural features along the trail. The idea of a side trail was first proposed by Stew and was initially flagged by Stew, Cathy Little and Will Overton.

The trail was never approved and was almost forgotten until it came up in discussions between Kim Sayer and John Burton, the Zone Leader for this section of the Beaver Valley Club. After some discussion, it was agreed that the trail idea could proceed and the original route was reflagged with some minor changes. Jill Smith-Brodie, Adam Brylowski, and Brian Popelier were then invited to walk the proposed route which was subsequently approved. Trail work commenced in the fall of 2018 and completed this spring thanks to the BVBTC’s Flying Squad volunteers.

The Stew Hilts Side Trail will see some further transformations. Phase 2, scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2020, will involve the construction of a bridge over the stream below the falls along with a boardwalk and stairs leading to a viewing platform with a bench closer to the base of the falls. The trail will then continue from the platform and eventually connect with the main trail to the south to provide hikers with a loop rather than an in-and-out trail. Once completed, there will be views of Old Baldy to the northeast, as well as the Cuckoo Valley and Eugenia Falls to the east.