In 1850, when an intrepid
visitor journeyed up Blue Mountain and left his initials in the caves,
the trip would have been an adventure indeed. Today, Scenic Caves offers
more than simply thrilling caves... more than spectacular scenery and
awe-inspiring views... more than unspoiled nature.
Located in the Town of the Blue
Mountains , just 20 minutes from Wasaga Beach, and less than two hours
north of Toronto , make it a must to explore Scenic Caves Nature
Do You Dare? Cross Ontario's
Longest Suspension Footbridge!
Standing near the highest point
of the Niagara Escarpment -- more than 300 metres in elevation above
Georgian Bay -- the new suspension footbridge at Scenic Caves is Ontario
's newest feature attraction. Take a breathtaking 126-metre hike across
a narrow bridge, which arcs 25 metres above a treed valley. And thanks
to its location, you'll feel as if you're suspended above the world!
Caves & Trails
The Hurons told of a sacred place some eight leagues
distant. There, stood a rock called Ekarenniondi, marking the path to
the Village of the Souls.
Nearby could be found the cabin of Oscotarach, who
gazed Eastward toward the approaching souls, and who drew away their
memories so they could cross to the afterlife unencumbered.
Since Jean de Brébeuf recorded these tales in 1636,
adventurers, archaeologists and historians have sought the legendary
crossing place. They finally found it here, high atop Blue Mountain .
Now you can explore it for yourself, and step through
the very portal of the underworld.
Venture Deep Inside Blue Mountain
Explore a labyrinth of caves and crevices. Search
near Ekarenniondi for the shadows which marked paths to the mysterious
underworld. Explore the hidden natural fortress which sheltered the
Petun people from their enemies. Descend into the ice cave - a crevasse
so deep and cold that snow and ice often remain here through early
Brave the Heights For a Spectacular View
Step to the edge of the limestone cliff to look down
on 10,000 square kilometers of beautiful countryside and the deep blue
expanse of Georgian Bay, over 300 meters below.
Hike the Shady Trails of a Unique Nature
The Niagara Escarpment has been designated a
biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Beneath a canopy of sugar maples and red
oak, admire each season's display - clusters of white birch, forest
berries, wildflowers, trilliums and such rarities as the Maidenhair
Visit our Virtual Tour for a few highlights
of the historical caverns.
Fun and Adventure at the Highest Point
on the Niagara Escarpment
You step slowly onto the platform and grip the
handrail tightly. A gust of Blue Mountain wind sends tremors down the
rail and up through the deck. And you begin the long, long walk.
Through the trees, you catch glimpses of the valley
floor far beneath your feet. But it seems you're suspended even higher
in the air. Far below, Georgian Bay sparkles in the sunlight, and spread
before you lies a 10,000-square-kms view.
From your vantage point, over 300 meters above the
Bay, you gaze down Blue Mountain toward Collingwood, and across the Bay
to Wasaga Beach , Christian Island , and the distant shores of the
Penetanguishene Peninsula . You try not to think that a mere 8
centimeters of timber is all there is between you and the ground.
An Unparalleled Vista
Free of the earth, suspended high above the ground,
you have the most spectacular view possible of Georgian Bay and the
surrounding countryside. With a sturdy wire fence lining the walkway,
even the smallest adventurer can see everything.
Adventure for Everyone
Expect all the excitement of a daring crossing - a
narrow walkway high above the ground, the sensation of being suspended
in space, the slight shiver of the wind beneath your feet.
Getting to the bridge is a breeze: take a short
stroll down the slope, or hitch a ride on our country wagon.
Follow these links for more information.
Three Hour Guided Tour Including
Suspension Bridge - Treetop Walk - Zip Line - Cave Tour
High among 200 year-old oak
trees, up to 60 feet above the ground, get ready for an experience
like no other. Explore the beauty and wildlife of the picturesque
forest valley at the top of Blue Mountain, as you become one with
the birds. Throughout your tour, your guides will deliver
interesting facts and information about the history of the area and
about the unique ecology of the Niagara Escarpment.
Your 3-hour adventure begins
with gear outfitting (all provided for you) and introductions to
your guides. You will then take a short hike to our 410 foot
suspension bridge overlooking a 10 000 square kilometer view of
Collingwood and Georgian Bay. A tractor and wagon ride
through the forest will give you a glimpse of the unique ecology of
the Niagara Escarpment before you journey up into the trees. Your
treetop walk will take you 600 meters across 10 inch wide bridges
suspended as close to the treetops as possible.
Of course, it is absolutely safe, but the excitement of being so
high above the ground overlooking the huge vistas gives a physical
experience unlike anything else. The sway of the bridges and
cables causes you to constantly re-adjust your balance, and you
become aware of your own courage. Treetop walking certainly
delivers a thrill. You end the treetop walk with an incredible
ride on a 300 foot zip line or a ladder return to the ground.
Finish your journey with a
hike through a large cavern where unique ferns live, squeeze through
"Fat Man's Misery" cave, and explore the rest of the Scenic Caves
nature trails, trout pond, gemstone mining and gift shop.
Tours are conducted in
intimate groups of 14 people, with the assistance of 2 qualified
instructors per group.
Our priority is to provide
each guest with a safe and enjoyable experience. All guides are
fully trained to use the equipment and to follow safety procedures.
Canopy and zips are designed to exceed industry standards. All
personal protection equipment (harness, helmet, etc.) are fully
inspected daily, as is the treetop walk and zip line. We have
also been approved by the Technical Standards and Safety
Height / Weight Restrictions
Guests must be over 85 lbs
and under 250 lbs.
Guests must be over 4'8" tall.
Tours run in most weather
conditions. In the case of a thunderstorm, high winds or heavy rain,
we may be forced to cancel a tour. If we decide to cancel, any
deposits made for that tour will be reimbursed.
A waiver must be signed by
all EcoAdventure Tour guests. This waiver is completed upon
your arrival. For a copy of this waiver, so that you may
review it in advance, please click below.
What Does "ECO" Mean?
Ecotourism is responsible
tourism that is focused on the natural world. Principles
- tourism activity in
relatively undisturbed natural settings
- minimal negative impacts
on the environment
- active involvement with
and benefit to the local community
- educational experience
for visitors that incorporates both natural and cultural heritage
Scenic Caves Nature
Adventures effectively meets each of these principles. The
natural settings on the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO biosphere
reserve) are abundant. The treetop walking and zip line
equipment has been designed and installed with minimal disturbance
to nature and do no damage to trees. Interpretation of
cultural, historical and ecological facts and information are an
important part of the tours and are offered to all visitors as well
as a number of school groups that visit Scenic Caves Nature
Adventures each year. Scenic Caves Nature Adventures is also a
proud supporter of many community groups and charities and provides
a wide variety of local employment opportunities.
What to Wear and Bring
Provided for You
Each EcoAdventure Tour guest
is provided with the following:
- Personal protection
equipment - harness, helmet, safety lanyards, zip line pulley
- Energy bar
You Should Bring
- Running shoes or hiking
- Dress for the day's
weather, remembering that it can change quickly and unexpectedly.
It is best to dress in layers
- For cool days in early
spring and late fall, some guests like to wear gloves. As
you still need the use of your hands, only tight fitting gloves
- Camera - you cannot hold
a camera in your hand at all times. Cameras should either be
in a case with a strap that can go around your neck or be tied to
your harness, or the camera must fit inside a pocket.
- We do not recommend that
you bring a backpack with you on your tour. If necessary, a
small bag that can be strapped to the body (such as a fanny pack)
would be okay.
Reservations are Required
We highly recommend that you make reservations for your tour.
We are open from May through to October, though depending on
availability, we may not have tours running every day during the
spring and autumn months. Also, we are often fully booked for
a weekend as much as a week in advance.
A 50% non-refundable deposit will be taken upon booking. The
remaining balance must be paid upon your arrival for your tour.
If you have already purchased a LIFE
EXPERIENCES GIFT CARD from SHOPPER'S DRUG MART, you cannot book
online. You must complete your booking over the phone and
provide the card number to the reservation agent. You can
reach us at 705-446-0256, ext. 227
How to Reserve
Reservations can be made online by clicking the reservation link
below, or by calling 705-446-0256, ext. 227
***PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU MUST CHECK IN AT THE ECO ADVENTURE LOG CABIN
30 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR TOUR IS SCHEDULED TO START!!!!*** After
checking in you will need to complete a waiver, get harnessed up by
your guides and then the tour will begin at the scheduled starting
Adults (18-64 yrs): $95.00
Seniors (65 and over): $85.00
Youth 17 - 10 yr olds : $75.00
All rates are subject to GST.
Gift Certificates Available
EcoAdventure Tour makes a unique gift for nature and outdoor
recreation enthusiasts. Call to order - 705-446-0256,
For groups of 10 or more people, phone us at 705-446-0256, ext.
227 to take advantage of our special group discount.
Scenic Caves Nature
Adventures has two entrances. When coming up Scenic Caves
Rd. from Collingwood, EcoAdventurers should enter the first
driveway which has an "EcoAdventure Tour" sign at the road.
You can sign in for your tour at the log cabin.
Click here for directions.
Into the Caves
The Scenic Caves themselves are part of a
land which was occupied by the Petun nation of native Canadians
(also called the Tionontatehronnon or Tobacco). Here’s a little
the history of these people courtesy
Innisfil Public Library. As we’re just
tourists and not anthropologists, we took the caves at face value.
The trail is pretty easy to walk through for the most part. They
require that you wear shoes and not sandals though. Any of the
tougher areas can be circumvented for people that have trouble
with tight spaces. Throughout the walk there’s great scenery with
plenty of native species to see. The view was unique, but not as
great as it would be on a sunnier day.
There are a few highlights on the trail,
the caves that everyone remembers. The first of these is called
the Refrigerator. The Refrigerator is a deep cave that you can
clambo down in to and feel the cold stone around you. There’s
condensation on the rock walls and ceiling which allows moss to
grow in some places. The cold can be refreshing on a hot summer
Signal Point rises high and lonely above
the surroundings. It’s a typical example of one of the structures
you’ll see here. It looks like it came right out of a cartoon, but
you won’t find any roadrunners out here.
Fat Man’s Misery is probably the best
known of all the caves here. It’s 30cm (14 inches) wide at the
narrowest point. It can be a challenge to get through, but if you
take your time and breath easy then it’s really not that hard. I’m
not skinny and I got through without a problem. The Petun Arch
leads the way out of a ravine full of ferns and rocky
outcroppings. My camera lens couldn’t capture the breadth and
depth of the foliage here. The arch is an interesting natural
phenomenon to see first hand
Time travel back to
the days of the Klondike!
Attention kids! Try
your hand at panning for mineral treasures! Purchase a bag of
mining rough and enjoy the rush of sluicing for quartz
crystal, gold ore, amethyst, and many other beautiful
semi-precious gemstones to take home. It's educational and
fun. We guarantee a "major strike" hidden in every bag of
sand. And it's enjoyable for adults too!
Gemstone Mining Gembags: $7.00 each
Come for an hour ...
Stay for a day
Challenge the whole
family to 18 holes of golfing fun! Young and old can play the
Scenic Cave Miniature Golf park located on-site, in a wondrous
Mini Golf Rates
Pond and Picnic Area
Take a stroll
around our picturesque trout pond and manicured gardens
and share a family picnic. Bring a camera and capture
the special family moments on film. Our resident wild
ducks, geese and swans will often pose for a shot or
two. Feed the fish in the pond and see, up close, their
glistening rainbow scales shimmering in the sunlight.
Sorry no fishing
LOG CABIN RENTAL
new quaint and cozy log cabin offers a perfect rustic setting for
your private evening functions. Be it summer or winter, our grand
log cabin built of huge logs of white pine is truly a unique place
to host your next intimate gathering of friends, family or
The cabin can accommodate
as many as 40 people and has been used for various functions
including wine and cheese socials, dinner parties and team
If you are looking to do
something a little different, why not get a group together for an
evening hike followed by a special dinner in the cabin? Your
friends will enjoy experiencing the trails and the dramatic
suspension bridge walk in the evening followed by a warm wood
burning fireplace that awaits them in the cabin.
This cabin is adored by
all who visit because of its remote and rustic beauty – book your
event with us and experience it for yourself!
NOTE: There are no sleeping facilities
years -- a brief history
Cliffs and Caves Form
years B.C. (the Ordovician era):
The Michigan Sea teems with ancient life. Over
time, the shells of tiny creatures settle to the bottom,
joining sediment brought by rivers, and forming layers of
sand, clay and calcium carbonate.
Over millions of years,
pressure, heat and chemical reactions turn the sedimentary
layers to stone. Sand becomes sandstone. Clay becomes shale.
Calcium carbonate becomes limestone.
years B.C.: The Sea retreats
and the Escarpment begins its slow rise from the Earth. A
layer of hard dolostone tops softer layers of limestone, shale
and sandstone. Over millions of years, the softer lower layers
eroded, while the tough upper layer resists, protecting the
layer below it.
Over time, glacial ice,
weathering and ancient waves shape the caves and sculpt rocky
outcrops along the towering cliffs.
Beyond time -- Natural features
and Native spirituality
Ekarenniondi, Oscotarach and
The deep clefts and the
imposing standing stone of the site lent themselves perfectly
to the spiritual beliefs of the native people who migrated
northward to the region before the arrival of the Europeans.
In 1636, the Jesuit Father Jean de Brébeuf recorded these
beliefs in "The Ideas of the Hurons Regarding the Nature of
the Soul, both in this Life and after Death".
The path to the Village of
the Souls -- the Afterlife -- was marked by a rock called
Ekarenniondi, which stood in the land of the Petun, west of
the Hurons. And on the same road "before arriving at the
Village, one comes to a Cabin where lives one named Oscotarach,
or 'Pierce-head', who draws the brains out of the heads of the
dead, and keeps them." (The tale might sound gruesome, but
Oscotarach would have been seen as a benevolent helper who
removed the memories from the dead so that they would not
recall their past lives or long for life itself.)
Archaeologist and historian
Charles Garrad has extensively studied the tales and their
relationship to the area. "Today, no-one disputes that the
sacred Rock marking the trail to the Village of the Dead,
which is at the same time Ekarenniondi, The Watcher and
Oscotarach, the Head-Piercer, is the rock long so identified
at the Scenic Caves. It is the only rock which meets all the
tests implied in the legends...."
He offers further thoughts
to spark the imagination of those visiting the rock.
"The appearance of the rock
varies," he writes. "The angle and strength of light, the
consequent shadows, the position of the viewer, and the degree
of imagination applied, all are factors in determining what
the viewer sees. From one minute to another the rock may be
perceived to be the petrified figure of a sleepy bear or a
tired old man. A 'death's-head' effigy sometimes appears. From
below it may be a bear rearing up, or a watchful owl. Any of
these interpretations would make an acceptable Oscotarach,
with claws, teeth, beak, talons. He faces east, watching for
journeying Souls. With further imagination, the rounded,
weathered boulders strewn at his feet down the talus slope
below the Rock look strangely like human brains...
"There are also many cracks
and cavities leading down into the rock, perceivable as the
route to the Underworld below. It is a place where, in the
Ojibwa cosmological view, all Three (Upper, Middle and Lower)
Ekarenniondi may also be the
source of power of the 17th century Onditachiae, a Petun
shaman famous for being able to control the weather. Garrad
suggests that he would have lived in or near the village of
Ekarenniondi , and might have used the Rock as a vantage from
which to view the weather approaching from the Northwest.
As recently as the early
20th century, the Chippewas of Rama spoke of a Thunderbird's
nest on Blue Mountain . The Thunderbird was said to be able to
control the weather.
As many as 8000 native people
live in nine villages along the Escarpment. The Hurons call
them Tionontati -- the people from the other side of the
mountain. The Village of Ekarenniondi (actually two companion
villages) is situated on the site of Scenic Caves Nature
Samuel de Champlain visits
Ekarenniondi and other villages of the Petun (or Tobacco
People), as the people are known by the French. The name may
have been suggested by the natives' cultivation of tobacco or,
more likely, their extensive use of it in ceremonies.
The village of Ekarenniondi is
relocated to the ridge above Craigleith.
The Jesuits establish the Mission of
St. Matthieu at Ekarenniondi.
1648-1649: The Iroquois League
overrun the Huron. Many Huron take refuge in Petun villages.
1649 : The Iroquois attack the
Petun Village of Etharita, and the Huron and Petun survivors
descend on Ekarenniondi.
The Petun and Huron abandon
their country forever, journeying by canoe up Georgian Bay and
westward, initially to Mackinac Island . These people
eventually became known as the Wyandot, who today reside
primarily in Oklahoma ..
After the Petun-Wyandot people
left, the area remained empty for years. At some point,
Algonquin Indian bands occupied the area, until one branch --
the Ojibwa -- ceded the land to the British Crown in 1818.
Settlers begin to carve farms
from the rugged bush in the area, and even before
Collingwood's incorporation in 1858, local people begin to
explore the Scenic Caves area. The main road up the Escarpment
crosses the property. A carving of initials in one of the
caves still reads 1850.
Late 1800s and
early 1900s: Historians,
scholars and researchers seek the village of Ekarenniondi and
the sacred rock. While some propose locations within the
Pretty River Valley and in Collingwood Harbour , the rock at
Scenic Caves is finally accepted as the site referred to by
The Scenic Caves property has
been settled and operates as a farm.
Alfred Staples purchases the property.
He builds a cabin, wooden ladders and wooden bridges, and
begins to promote the site as a tourist attraction with guided
tours of the ancient caves. Calling himself the "Man of
Nature", he's a one-man travelling billboard for the Caves. By
feats of daring and endurance -- such as crossing the ice of
Nottawasaga Bay to Christian Island and walking from
Collingwood to Chicago -- he attracts attention and publicizes
the Scenic Caves .
Staples's daughter Sandra takes over
the venture with her husband. During the next 25 years, the
McCarthurs expand the amenities, building the gift shop,
providing parking, and further establish the Caves as an area
Archaeologist Charles Garrad confirms
the location of the villages of Ekarenniondi at the Scenic
Caves site with a number of excavations, beginning this year.
Rob Thorburn buys the property. He and
his family continue to improve Scenic Caves ' amenities and
activities, gradually transforming it to Scenic Caves Nature
The Nordic Centre at Scenic Caves
Nature Adventure opens -- offering 15 km. of beautiful trails
for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
The Suspension Bridge at Scenic Caves
Nature Adventures welcomes its first visitors.
Much more adventure, including
- An Eco Adventure
complete with zip lines, a canopy walk, magnificent
views from rare vantages, and a new way of looking at the
living world around us.
- A Living History
Sugar Bush demonstrating how people tapped this
tasty resource through the centuries.
- A bigger, better,
boisterous Children's Play Area.
Call us directly for more
705 446 0256 Ext 222
CALL our reservations centre at
416-782-9988 (Toronto Direct),
or email us at: