Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Boyne Valley Provincial Park is located a few miles north of Primrose, Ontario, about an hour and 15 minutes north of Toronto. One of the highlights of this hike is Murphy’s Pinnacle Lookout which provides a 360-degree view of the Boyne River Valley.
Total distance about 6km.
Time; 2 hours
Walking times and trail difficulty vary with weather and trail conditions
Boyne River Valley Provincial Park is a non-operating park. This means that there are literally no facilities within the confines of the park, other than hiking trails, a few signs and footbridges maintained by the Bruce Trail Association. As such, you need to use the park with the understanding that you’re completely on your own. Fishing is permitted in season, but hunting is strictly forbidden at any time. Horses and non-motorized bicycles are permitted.
One the map below, you’ll see the “official” parking area for the Boyne Valley on 19, just north of Primrose, but for this hike, I would suggest using the alternative, further north. Drive further north on Prince of Wales Road (19) and make a right onto Sideroad 5. Make another right onto Centre Road. Follow Centre Rd. south to the end and you’ll find side-of-road parking. This hike is a loop and you’ll end up right back at your car.
From the alternative parking area, start your hike by travelling east along the Bruce Trail. This trail is well marked with white blazes on trees and fence posts. You’ll meander through fields, past farmhouse ruins and eventually into a narrow ravine with lots of maple and oaks. At about kilometre 1.5 you’ll come out onto 1st. Line.
Turn right (south) and follow 1st. Line about 1km. So that you can see oncoming vehicles, walk along the east side of the road, facing traffic. You’ll come to a sweeping right-hand curve, that then curves left. About halfway through the left-hand curve, you’ll see a trail going off the road into the brush on your right. Keep an eye out as it's easy to miss. I walked right past the trail on my first effort. It’s part of a snowmobile trail in the winter and there are a couple of small signs to direct snowmobilers. It’s those signs that actually caught my attention. Follow the trail off the road.
You proceed in a westerly direction, mostly along the rim of the Boyne River Valley, through forests, across the meadow and over rolling hills, until you eventually reach the Centre Rd. road allowance. There is a picnic area here (or was, in 2018) and you can relax in the shade of some beautiful old pine trees.
Turn right (north) and follow the main trail/road allowance and the white trail blazes of the Bruce Trail. The path eventually descends to the river floor. You’ll cross a few wooden footbridges that connect a few islands in the river and wetlands with about 55 meters of boardwalks. You can thank the Bruce Trail volunteers for keeping your feet dry.
Soon you begin to climb out of the valley and the trail takes a left and heads west off the road allowance. The climb up Murphy’s Pinnacle begins shortly. It’s a tough go after a long walk, but once you get to the top, the view is worth it! Be sure to bring your camera.
Continue along the path down the hill on the other side. The path winds along northeast through an old apple orchard. Keep a sharp eye out for deer. I’ve been through this area twice and saw about six, small white-tailed deer in total.
Eventually, the trail leads you back to Centre Rd. and your car.
Other Attractions in the Area
Dufferin County Museum and Archives - 14km Distant.
Located at 936029 Airport Road at hwy. 89. Toll-free 877.941.7787. Local history exhibits and art on display year-round. Staffed county archives to assist in family searches. Picnic in the gardens. Climb to the top of the silo for a panoramic view of the countryside.
Always be prepared to spend more time in the outdoors than planned
Take a map of the area and know how to read it
Don't count on reliable cell phone service
Tell people where you're going and when you plan to return
Take along a bit of food and water
Prepare for changing weather conditions
Take a first aid kit with basic instructions