Trip Rating: 5/5
Rockwood Lake has been my favorite trip of the year, so far. The scenery is absolutely stunning. The lake may be a bit small but I was more than glad to paddle around the lake 3-4 times. There are so many small creeks and limestone and shale cliffs to explore. Not to mention, a massive pothole, an abandoned mill and some scenic caves on the nature trail. There are a few places to launch on the lake. The most convenient and easiest option is at the Mill. To find this location, enter 43.610430, -80.144481 into Google Maps.
There is a no dock for launching. Parking is right beside a small flat landing beside the lake. There are washroom facilities in the park and an outhouse in the immediate parking lot. There is a place to rent canoes and kayaks on the beach potion of the lake.
Trip Length: To see the entire lake, the total trip is about 3km. It take approx 2-4 hours, to explore most of the scenery. I would recommend circling the lake a few times.
Cost: $6-$15 depending on numbers.
Difficulty: Class A1 on the lake. Please be careful and use gear as required to be safe.
“The Rockwood Woolen Mills were established in 1867 by brothers John Richard, Thomas and Joseph Harris. Their business thrived and provided many artisan goods, with advertisements reaching nearby cities such as Guelph, Milton and Georgetown. The hydro, steam and the water of the Eramosa River powered the mill.
In the 1880s, a fire harshly damaged the mill and was replaced by a stone structure in 1884. One of the founding brothers, John Richard Harris died in 1899 and as a result, his sons took over the business. During the First World War, the mill would frequently operate 24 hours a day, securing vast orders for Canadian army blankets. However, due to competition from other mills in Ontario, the Rockwood Woolen Mills closed its doors in 1925.
After the closure of the mill, William Harris, son of John Richard, transformed the site into a private park named Hi-Po-Lo Park. In 1959 the Grand River Conservation Authority obtained the mill and land from Harris, and the official opening of the park took place in 1963.
A large restoration of the mill ruins was completed over the winter of 2010, allowing it to be open to the public for the 2011 season.
The Rockwood Conservation Area has a rich and unique geological aspect. A few specific features that are a part of the environment at the Rockwood conservation area include glacier bluffs, potholes, caves and some of the oldest dated trees in Ontario.
The cave system includes a series of 12 caves, which is one of the most extensive networks in Ontario. Within the caves is a prominent feature called flowstone, which over many years is created by flowing water that deposits a type of calcium carbonate called calcite.
Another feature at Rockwood are the potholes. Within the conservation area, there is over 200 potholes that all vary in measurements. These potholes are also known as giant’s kettles, which are large cavities that have been drilled by flowing water carrying stones and gravel.
As well, glacial bluffs are seen at Rockwood. These have been formed over thousands of years after the earth’s most recent ice age ended. They can be relatively small and get as large as 30 meters deep and 200 meters wide.“