My last two Travel Tuesday posts have been out-of-town trips but it’s just as rewarding to Explore in your own hometown! This easy daytrip cost only bus fare and was still packed with winter adventure and fun. Leaving first thing in the morning, we caught the Brock Bullet Shuttle but quite a number of St. Catharines Transit routes go through the Isaac Brock Circle Transit Hub at Brock University. From Brock we followed the classic distinctive white blazes of the Bruce Trail out and around Lake Moodie to visit local heritage sites Decew House, Decew Falls and Morningstar Mill (for those not wishing to hike the trail, all sites are also accessible by car).
Google Maps is a surprisingly good resource for this section of the Niagara Bruce Trail [click here for map of today’s route] but hikers and backpackers interested in completing longer sections of the trail really should look into some of the excellent map resources available in print and PDF form. Today’s trail section is covered by Map 3 – Shorthills.
The trailhead is a bit hard to spot in winter, but walking from Isaac Brock Circle by Theal House (built in 1837 with stones from the Niagara Escarpment) and between Parking Lot S and Lot T, the trailhead is visible on the left, marked with white blazes. Entering scrubland and crossing a boardwalk this 1.5 km section of the trail winds around Lake Moodie to a bridge at Decew Road. Across the bridge the trail passes the remains of Decew House “Laura Secord’s destination when she set out on her celebrated trek from Queenston over the rough terrain of the Niagara Escarpment in June of 1813 to warn the British military of an impending American attack” which are still visible despite the deep snow. For a short (3km round trip) hike, one can turn around here.
For the longer (8km round trip) hike to Morningstar Mill, the trail next follows the Lake Moodie shoreline passing behind the DeCew 1 Power Generating Station “the oldest continually running hydroelectric power generating station in Canada, built in 1898.” (read more) At this point, the trail turns away from Lake Moodie into the woods and across a short field before climbing the Niagara Escarpment above Power Glen. Winding along to meet the Twelve Mile Creek there is a great view of Decew Falls where the trail joins an old roadway, before it continues to Morningstar Mill. Mostly closed up for the winter, this still operational 140 year old mill is a picturesque sight when blanketed in fresh white snow. Below, the icicle bedecked falls were also breathtaking in their wintry splendour. We chose to double back on the trail but Decew Rd also creates a more direct route back.