Spectacular views of the countryside, as well as several points of interest are what make this trail a local marvel! This 14 km trail was named for the industrious family who built a sawmill in “Trout Hollow” in the 1850’s. The trail varies in difficulty from easy to moderate and goes from The Bakeshop Bridge in Meaford (across from Beautiful Joe Park) along both sides of the river, through Trout Hollow to Riverside Community Centre on the 7th line.It was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3:20 P.M. on September 21, 2002, with the public, some members of the Trout family from Texas and some historians, geologists, ecologists and philosophers there. The trail can be entered from both ends so if you are not an experienced hiker but enjoy following paths in conservation areas or strolling down country lanes, you can follow the trail (as long as you can handle hills), for as long as you feel comfortable and then return. Another option would be to hike to the 7th line and have a car there so you can drive back home. Experienced hikers can cross the river and return on the other side.
Precautions Three precautions you should take are; to wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes, use mosquito repellent, and be on the look out for poison ivy. If you walk from both ends you will see a good portion of the scenery that inspired John Muir in his studies and writing. He loved this area and spent most of his spare time in the woods learning from the plants and marvelling the mysteries of nature. Most of trail follows the river through groves of cedar and old hardwoods parts of it climbs out of the valley to travel through meadows and grain fields.
Points of Interest At the entrance to the trail lays what remains of the Wm. Moore & Sons Flour Mill; originally built by Jessie T. Purdy in the 1840’s. It expanded over the years until it was demolished in 1933. As you enter the trail, there is a sign outlining trail etiquette and a warning that you are taking the trail at your own risk.Starting in a wooded area beside the river on a downhill slope, the trail leads you along the winding river so you are able to enjoy the spectacular views of the countryside, woodlands, rolling meadows, grain fields, the river, clay banks and groves. If you are lucky, you may even encounter some deer or wild turkeys. The Bighead River is one of the best sites for trout and salmon fishing in season; therefore, you may see people at their favourite fishing spots along the way. Evidence of former industries and ruins that verify the river was a source of power in early years for the town of Meaford are other sites to stop and view.Some of the more interesting sites along the way include the remains of the power dam that was built in 1904. It was smashed by a flood in 1912, but was rebuilt and operated until 1923. There is also the Power House Ruins which powered a turbine wheel that ran the generators inside the building. This area is a little harder to explore as it is off the trail in a forested area.
The Flume Trail is a path from the dam along the flume or conduit to the settling basin. A steel down-elbow can be seen just up from the power house.
Trout Hollow is a shady area among the cedars where a sawmill, a grist-mill and cabin once stood. You can still see traces of the earthen dam and the walls of the mill. Artefacts have been retrieved from this site to prove the authenticity of their locations.
The trail was named after the family who employed John Muir and built the sawmill there in 1850. The trail passes through this site reminding us of the past and of the efforts of the Trout Family and John Muir. It is hoped that in the future the trail can be linked with The Bruce Trail and signs and facilities can be added.These areas are private property so please respect them by staying on the trail and not littering or damaging any of the plants; if you see garbage along the way please pick it up and take it with you.On the map below, the green line indicates easy walking, the yellow line is the moderate trail and the red line is for more experienced hikers.