Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Chimney Bluffs is an incredibly unique land formation on the southern shore of Lake Ontario with great views, several picnic spots, and a handful of trails. In the spring, wildflowers blanket the forest floor. The namesake bluffs create a dramatic landscape and must be seen to be believed.

There are two parking areas that access the park. The Garner Road parking area is more developed, with a large parking area, restrooms, and a paved path leading to the picnic area and great views of Lake Ontario. It's a common place to find families enjoying a picnic lunch, playing frisbee, or enjoying a sunset. The 1.75-mile East-West Trail, 0.5-mile Garner Point Trail, and 1.25-mile Bluff Trail can all be accessed here. There is $5 day use fee to park here.

At the other end of the park, the East Bay Road comes to a dead end at a parking area right on the lake shore. There are restrooms here, though they are less well maintained. This parking area offers direct access to the lakeshore, though swimming is prohibited. It also makes for a much shorter hike to the best part of the Bluff Trail.

The bluffs themselves are what remains of a drumlin, or hill made of a mixture of sand, silt, rocks, and clay deposited by glaciers during the last ice age. Over thousands of years, the crashing waves have eroded the north edge of the lakeshore, leaving jagged cliffs of sand, silt, and small stones. Rain and snow have contributed to the erosion, creating spines and spires between small drainages, where the bluff is receding as much as 5 feet annually. The result is a jagged landscape reminiscent of the Badlands in South Dakota, but perched at the edge of one of the Great Lakes. Due to the aggressive erosion that takes place, the Bluff Trail should be approached with caution by families with young children.

In addition to its geologic significance, Chimney Bluffs played a cultural role during Prohibition. Because of its unique profile, the bluffs became a landmark for Canadian Smugglers to drop off their illicit goods for importers to retrieve and sell in speakeasies.

Near the eastern end of the Bluff Trail, the Drumlin Trail runs north-south through an open forest, connecting to the East-West Trail or continuing all the way to the Garner Road. Visitors in the late spring or early summer will find a variety of wildflowers along the forest floor.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Sometimes

Pros

Great views. Year-round access. Wildflowers.

Cons

Can be muddy.

Features

ADA accessible
Flushing toilets
Picnic tables
Bird watching
Wildlife

Location

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