Bruce Trail Hike #3 – The Screaming Tunnel

The Starting Point of our Hike!

One week later, and we’re ready to hike some more! This time, I have recruited a third person to join in on the fun – my sister, Robyn! She’s the one in the middle in the above photo. Shannon, Robyn and I all started where Shannon and I left off one week prior. To some, it might appear to be a dead-end road in the middle of nowhere. Well, it kind of is a dead-end road in the middle of nowhere. But, it also happens to be a point where you can link up directly with the Bruce Trail. Technically, the stretch of trail extends between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls, heading towards St. Catharines, Ontario.

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To summarize really quickly, my goal is to hike the entire Bruce Trail throughout Ontario, Canada. It extends from north to south, spanning almost 900km in length. To get all caught up on my Bruce Trail hikes, please read about the first two forest walks! According to the Bruce Trail guide, we are on Map 02: St. Catharines (Niagara Club). Here’s a map of where we walked:

We end up hiking that path twice in actuality – one way there, and one way back to the car. It ended up being about 12km in total length for the day.

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Our journey began when we immediately hiked in the wrong direction. Yes, we started walking down a farmer’s field that had a huge sign reading, “No trespassing!”. Oops. And the only way we figured that we were going the wrong way was when we saw someone jogging on the other side of the fence. It was a big, “Ohhhh…this makes sense” type of moment, so we backtracked and got onto the actual Bruce Trail path.

Today was much chillier outside than last week. We have had some crazy weather patterns this summer. For instance, you may recall that on our hike last week, I was wearing shorts and a tank top. And this week, I’m wearing jeans and a jacket. It was breezy, cool, and it even rained a little bit at the end of the hike. However, I thought the weather conditions were optimal: not too hot out, but not too cold; and nice enough at most times to wear a sweater without a coat.

The trees were only starting to change colour, just as they were last week. We saw some splashes of yellow and red leaves, but the trees were mostly green. There were plenty of leaves on the ground. Fall is on its way.

In this spot, there were some “stairs” created with some wooden boards down the hill. This was really helpful. There were less steep places that didn’t have steps that became a little bit slippery as the ground was moist. Note to self: get hiking boots. We continued along the path until we came to a clearing and reached a bridge.

The bridge actually crossed over top of a main highway, the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). The bridge was built by the Bruce Trail Conservancy and the Government in order to link up the trail. Before the bridge, I have no idea how people must have crossed to the other side!

We continued on our way until we reached one of the highlights of our hike: The Screaming Tunnel.

The Screaming Tunnel

The Screaming Tunnel is a small, limestone tunnel constructed in the early 1990s that runs beneath some railroad tracks. It was constructed as a drainage tunnel to remove water from the surrounding farmlands, and the farmers would walk through the tunnel to get beyond the railroad tracks. Legend has it that the tunnel is haunted by the ghost of a young girl. Back in the day, there was a fire in a nearby barn and a young girl with her clothes ablaze died within the tunnel. There is another version of the story where the young girl is set on fire by her angry father after he loses custody of his children. Apparently if you light a match at the stroke of midnight in the tunnel, you will hear the young girl’s dying screams.

Thankfully, we weren’t there at midnight and couldn’t test this theory! I wouldn’t say that I am the type that believes in ghosts haunting people,but I do still get scared quite easily by my own imagination running wild. The tunnel was quite haunting and atmospheric.

Another interesting fact: the Screaming Tunnel was used in the 1983 David Cronenberg film, The Dead Zone (adapted from the Stephen King novel). You can actually see the tunnel in the movie trailer for the film – skip ahead to the 1:12 mark!

Messing around with the camera settings!

Me…getting pulled into the tunnel by the ghost?

Wine Country

Once we were beyond the tunnel, we were at a quiet street in the middle of the country. Being in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there were typical types of farms with farm animals and country fields, but there were also vineyards. We were in the heart of wine country in the Niagara Region. We were treated to views of grapes growing on the vine as we walked past.

There was also a very interesting sight that I’d never seen before…a shoe tree. Yes, shoes on the side of a tree. Why were they there? Whose shoes were they? I’m sure we will never know…

After walking down Warner Road for a little over a kilometre, we headed back into the forest leading into Woodend Conservation Area. There were numerous side trails that split off from the main trail, but we kept following the white trail markers on the trees. We enjoyed gorgeous views of the forest and surrounding rock formations of the escarpment. The trees here were still mostly green and should start to change colour soon.

And there’s Robyn and Shannon at the end of our hike. This is the spot where we’ll start our next hike!

After a long afternoon of hiking, we were starving. We drove a short distance away to a local pub, the Merchant Ale House. Justin and I have been there before together, and you can read all about it in a past article. It is a microbrewery where they brew their own beer, and there are lots of vegan selections on the menu (which is rather rare for a pub!). We ordered some samplings of beer, “meatless wings”, and I ordered a soy chicken quesadilla with vegan cheese that was delicious! I highly recommend checking the restaurant out if you’re in the St. Catharines area. Plus, they have lots of live music there on the weekends!


Hike #3
DateOctober 5, 2014
LocationMap 02, St. Catharines
Distance6.2km (x2 = 12.4km)
Total Trail Distance15.2km (878.8km remaining)
Start9.0 Mewburn Rd.
Finish15.2 Taylor Rd.

Have you visited any haunted places before?


25 Responses

  1. Dave Cole
    | Reply

    You guys saw quite a bit on this hike! That tunnel seems very eerie – not sure if I’d want to hang around it once the sun sets. And I firmly believe that every hike should be rewarded with a flight of craft beers. If I know those are ahead, I’ve always got a few kilometers left in the tank.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Ending hikes with some beer is definitely a great reward, I think! :) It seems to happen quite often for me!

  2. Sammi Wanderlustin'
    | Reply

    I love those taster beers you seem to get in America :) they are awesome!

    That tunnel would have freaked me out, it even looks like somewhere someone could’ve died! Ugh! Haha, I would’ve convinced myself I could hear screams during the day (I frighten easily, I can’t even watch Dr. Who)!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      I could definitely see it getting really scary at night, especially since you would need a flashlight! Eeep!

  3. Chris Boothman
    | Reply

    I would love to find out about the history and meaning behind the shoe tree though perhaps the unknown is what keeps it so intriguing! I also think that beer sampling selection looks very inviting. You experienced a whole bunch of really cool, diverse attractions here and definitely provides a benchmark to inspire visitors to the region. Hopefully we can have similar positive experiences when we make our way to this part of the world!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      It was hard to tell if the tree was even on someone’s property or not…so I wouldn’t even know who to ask! Maybe it is best kept a mystery :) A little family of shoes. It was a great hike and a great day!

  4. Angela
    | Reply

    Nice pictures. The hike looks fun and pretty for the fall. Also, every hike should end with beers. The shoes on the tree are something interesting and nothing I have seen before!!!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Thank you! Yes, those shoes were quite interesting. I haven’t seen anything like it before either!

  5. […] Screaming Tunnel – A Haunted Tunnel along the Bruce Trail. Read the story behind the tunnel: justinpluslauren…. Share on TumblrjQuery(document).load(function(){ […]

  6. Kim
    | Reply

    What beautiful photos. I love to hike and from your description and in depth details on the hike, it makes me want to take this hike.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      I hope that you do someday! :)

  7. Lisa Goodmurphy
    | Reply

    I have been enjoying your Bruce Trail posts because I’ve been saying for years that we should do some hiking on it but never have. I would never get my younger daughter to walk through the Screaming Tunnel if she knew the story behind it though!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      I hope that you get out to doing some hikes on the Bruce Trail – there are some truly lovely places to explore with great scenery! Maybe start at one that includes a waterfall, that’s always a great reward for the hiking!

  8. Beth
    | Reply

    I love the shoes on the tree!!
    And I, too, am I firm believe of ending every good hike with a drink… and even not-so good hikes too!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      All of my hikes seem to end this way…lol! I think it helps that I’m hiking near one of my favorite drinking spots.

  9. Megan Claire
    | Reply

    Lol there is no way I would go near that tunnel around midnight!! Though it looks gorgeous during the day! Really loving all of your accounts from the bruce trail and looking forward to seeing you reach your goal of completing the whole thing! Keep the amazing photos coming!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      I wouldn’t want to go near midnight either…too scary! :) Thanks, Megan!

  10. antonette - we12travel
    | Reply

    Great post! Love it that the fall colors are setting in already, although I expect to see them here sometime soon, too. Screaming tunnels are so much fun. I can’t help trying them out, even now since I’m a grown up. i’m looking forward to reading more about your Bruce Trail hiking in the future!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Thanks, Antonette! I have been hiking a bit more this spring/summer, though I had to put things a little on hold as it got way too hot out there. Bring on the Fall hikes! :)

  11. Amazing! I loved this episode of the Bruce Trail too! Beautiful scenery and the pics are amazing…. I loved the Screaming Tunnel story. I have been in a haunted place before, my grandfather’s house. It was haunted by the ghost of a maid who died there 300 years ago. Her name is Anna Neumann. People usually make fun of me, but I have heard the banging pots that are said to be her signature call!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Oh goodness, that sounds scary! I’d be out of there pretty quickly, I’m a big chicken!

  12. Brett Andrews
    | Reply

    You’re friend Shannon is very cute!! :) Is she single?
    I’m an outdoor enthusiast not to worry, in fact, I’m LoneHikerB from the BTC! I posted on your BTC blog.
    Keep it up!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Haha thanks for the inquiry, Brett! She has a boyfriend, sorry to say!

  13. Brett Andrews
    | Reply

    Wow – Spell check …”your”.
    She is cute though :)

  14. […] entire Bruce Trail along with my best friend and my sister, and we even hiked through a supposedly haunted tunnel.   […]

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