McCauley Mountain: A Prince Edward County Gem

McCauley Mountain: A Prince Edward County Gem
McCauley Mountain: A Prince Edward County Gem

Nestled amid the enchanting landscapes of Prince Edward County lies a hidden gem that has captured the hearts of both locals and visitors alike: McCauley Mountain. With its rich history, breathtaking vistas, and a calendar filled with captivating events, McCauley Mountain has become an integral part of the County’s identity. 

Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area at 224 County Road 8 in Picton, ON, is home to a steep escarpment overlooking the Town of Picton. This area contains over 7 km of trails, including a walkway and Birdhouse City. With beautiful riverfront picnic facilities, many locals and visitors come each year to experience the beauty of McCauley Mountain. Admission is free, but there is paid parking.

The History of McCauley Mountain Conservation Area

McCauley Mountain Conservation Area has a history that stretches back through the ages. Named after the pioneering McCauley family, who settled in the area in the early 19th century, the mountain has witnessed the evolution of the County. Early settlers were drawn to this area by the promise of fertile soil, rolling hills, and the breathtaking view from the summit.

Fun fact: McCauley Mountain used to be a ski hill! At one point in history, it was an active ski hill. However, the ski lift has been removed, and the slopes are no longer maintained. 

The Natural Beauty of McCauley Mountain

At the heart of McCauley Mountain’s allure is its stunning natural beauty. The mountain offers a tapestry of natural wonders, from lush forests and meandering streams to the pièce de résistance: the panoramic view from its summit. Hikers and nature enthusiasts can explore a network of trails that crisscross the mountain, offering a captivating glimpse of the local flora and fauna.

The true highlight, however, is the awe-inspiring vista from the mountain’s peak. On a clear day, Lake Ontario glistens in the distance, the County’s vineyards stretching out like a patchwork quilt, and the charming towns below. This view alone is worth the trip to the McCauley Mountain Conservation Area.

Events and Activities

McCauley Mountain isn’t just a place to admire nature; it’s also a hub of activity throughout the year. The mountain hosts a variety of events that draw in both locals and tourists:

Birdhouse City

Birdhouse City originated as a way to attract birds to the area, but it has since turned into a popular tourist attraction in Prince Edward County. Take an afternoon and stroll through the sanctuary to view the different birdhouses. Keep an eye out for those that resemble structures from around PEC!

Fall Foliage Tours

As autumn arrives, the mountain becomes a haven for leaf-peepers. The vibrant fall foliage attracts photographers and nature enthusiasts from all around. Visitors can also experience bird watching, dog walking, and hiking.

While everyone is familiar with the majestic views from the top of McCauley Mountain, very few know about the stunning conservation area at the bottom. Throughout the area, there are mountainside trails great for hiking and mountain biking. The Macaulay Mountain Trail is a 20km loop that begins and ends at the Macaulay Heritage Park.

Winter Wonderland

When the snow blankets McCauley Mountain Conservation Area, it transforms into a winter wonderland. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and tobogganing, making it a year-round destination.

Community Gatherings

Local communities often organize gatherings and picnics on the mountain, fostering a sense of unity and connection among residents. During the summer, there are various activities and free programs through the Prince Edward Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron.

History and Museums

The Macaulay Museum was the church of St. Mary Magdalene. Now, it holds over 6,000 artifacts and unique collections and exhibits for visitors. Look at the past and check out the old graveyard around the back.

Preserving McCauley Mountain

Given its significance to Prince Edward County, efforts to preserve and protect McCauley Mountain are ongoing. Local conservation groups, in collaboration with the government, work diligently to ensure the mountain’s natural beauty and historical significance are maintained for generations to come.

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