Day Tripping in Ontario ~ Visiting the Elora Gorge


Now that the nice weather is here I have been spending a lot of time out with the boys exploring our part of the province.  In the Kitchener/Waterloo area we are lucky to have 2 farmer’s markets, many parks and lots of attractions for families.  Travel just 25 minutes and you can spend the day navigating the beautiful Elora Gorge.

Elora Village sign

Perfect for visitors who like to shop, eat or explore, the town has something for everyone.  You can even float over it in a hot air balloon!

Some of the most dramatic parts of the gorge runs through the town, which ensures that all who come to visit are able to enjoy the gorgeous views.  Better views can be had if you hike down some of the paths on either side of the waterway.  The path on the opposite side of the mill offers some great views of the town and the gorge.

Elora Mill - Elora Gorge

You can get to it by crossing the bridge in the middle of town and walking behind the abandoned factories.  I highly recommend hikers wear runners if you are going to explore this trail as the terrain is rougher and there are a few hiking points that are would be hard to do in sandals.

Hiking trail leading down to the Elora Gorge

On this side you can get close to the water in a couple spots but parents should know there aren’t any fences so keep you kids close so they don’t fall into a hole or down an embankment.

As you make your way along the path you will notice an abandoned stone building.  This is the former Kiddie Car Factory.  The factory was owned by John C. Mundell in the early 1900’s but was closed after his passing.  The shell of the building is still very much intact, which is impressive for a building that has been abandoned for so long.

Abandoned stone building alond the Elora Gorge

One of my favorite sections of the gorge sits in front of the Elora Mill Inn.  Unfortunately the Mill has been closed for over a year while it undergoes renovations and it’s parking lot is closed to pedestrian traffic.

Elora Mill closed down

There is, however, a path that runs along the top of the property that is called the Tooth in Time lookout.  It is the safer of the two trails because it is fenced in.  It goes for quite a stretch and gives views of the both the Grand & Irvine Rivers.  There are also a couple lookouts and one spot with direct access to the river bank via a fairly steep staircase.

Stairs leading down to Elora Gorge

On the day I visited the water in the gorge was low so the water wasn’t running as fast as usual.

Views of the Elora Gorge

Elora Gorge 2

When it is a little higher adventurers can tube down it if they would like.  We didn’t try it, but you can also zipline across the gorge as well.

If you travel just outside of town you will find the Elora Quarry.  This huge ‘hole’ is not only beautiful, but many come here to swim in the Summer time.    This former limestone quarry is encircled by sheer cliffs up to 12 metres (40 feet) high.  The sights here are pretty and the water is fairly clear.

Elora Quarry Conservation area
View of the Elora Quarry conservation

If you are in the area I highly recommend visiting the town of Elora. Visitors from out of town can make a day of it by starting at the St. Jacobs Market and then heading east to Elora and the neighbouring town of Fergus.

There is a fee to get into the Elora Quarry of $3 for children 6-14, $5.75 for adults 15-64 and $5 seniors 65+. The Elora Quarry is open the first Saturday in June until Labour Day.

There is no fee to visit the gorge, but just for extras like the ziplining, tubing or canoeing.