Mono Cliffs – Instagram lies!

You can’t always believe everything you see and read about online, especially when it comes to travel.

A lot of times we see an incredible image and think, ‘Wow, I want to go there just to see THAT, to stand there and take the same picture of this exact spot’. 

Well, sometimes Instagram and Facebook can paint a picture of something that is not quite a true reflection of reality. Kind of like that article from Bored Panda about Travel Expectations Vs. Reality which lists famous sights that tourists dream about and then shatters the fantasy by showing the reality – overrun with tourists, dirty, crowded.

It seems people have been flocking to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park in recent weeks to find this one specific spot called Jacob’s Ladder, after popular Canadian website Narcity published an article with beautiful photography of the area. We were not the only ones drawn in by promises of limestone crevasses and ‘caves’, because another family we met on trail said quite bluntly ‘We read about these caves on Facebook and came to find them. Do you know where they are?’  At least for us it was just a 15 minute drive from home – but those people had driven all the way from Toronto!

We did indeed find it, and yes it IS scenic, but what the Narcity article doesn’t mention is that is actually just a tiny little area, really just a small set of steps through the rocks.

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It was nice to see, don’t get me wrong, but the article fails to mention that the bottom of the steps is COMPLETELY FENCED OFF and not even part of a trail! We were quite disappointed. It literally took 30 seconds to see and then that was it.

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At least one person isn’t disappointed!

Ah well, it was still a beautiful day for a hike. After going back up the steps, we did the loop called the McCarston’s Lake Side Trail which took us around a beautiful lake and back to the parking area. It was around 4km and took roughly an hour and a bit. The signs in the park do not give any indication of trail length. There were LOTS of mosquitoes out so if you go be sure to wear long pants and carry repellant.

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If you still want to see Jacob’s Ladder, don’t let me deter you. Mono Cliffs IS indeed a very beautiful provincial park with many different trails. So as my gift to you – other than the gift of knowledge that the ladder area is teeny tiny and fenced off and not some magical gateway to a hobbit’s village –  is the map which shows where the damn thing is.

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The red STAR is my recommendation on where to park. This is not the main parking lot, which is on the east side of the park. But this is the closest parking area to get to Jacob’s Ladder.

Park at the red star, walk straight on the path into the park, go to the Viewing Platform, and then after the Viewing Platform on your right is Jacob’s Ladder, the metal steps going down into the ‘caves’ (not real caves, sorry).  Jacob’s Ladder is marked with a red circle, above the word ‘stairs’.

You’re welcome! Happy trails. And, please, realistic photography.

 

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Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

It is supposedly spring right now – despite the temperature hovering a wee bit above 0’C – so it’s time to do some hardcore exploring during the few short months when Canada is not covered by snow.

Orangeville is a great place to live if you like the great outdoors. There are dozens of provincial parks nearby, so we went to explore the Mono Cliffs.

 

The sign on the bottom right says ‘Mono Cliffs – A Hub of Activity’ but I can’t imagine how quiet it must have been when the settlers arrived here! Mono was the teeniest little town I’ve ever seen with probably 12 houses and lots of horses… if that’s what they consider a ‘hub’ then I wonder what they’d think of Tokyo?

Anyway, the train was quite muddy as the snow was melting, but the views were still incredible. From the top of the Carriage Trail you can get a panoramic view from a look out point. There are lots of wooden steps and the trail to the look out point was a bit slippery, but it was worth the climb.

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View from the top

In the actual valley there are other trails which take you past beautiful ponds and rivers. It would have been really lovely if it had not been so muddy!

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Come on spring – hurry up and get here!!