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Rock Glen Conservation Area

Rock Glen Falls
Rock Glen Conservation Area (RGCA) 

Rock Glen Conservation Area (RGCA) is a day-use conservation area, featuring recreational walking trails through Carolinian Forest, with views of the scenic Rock Glen Falls waterfall. 

During your visit to Rock Glen, you are welcome and encouraged to visit the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre to learn more about the rich history of the area. 

Download the trail map and booklet now:

Where is Rock Glen Conservation Area?

Address: 8680 Rock Glen Road, Arkona, Ontario, Canada  (Located on the outskirts of Arkona.)

43° 5’ 3” N • 81° 49’ 67” W
43° 5’ 3.249”, -81° 49’ 17.205”

This Google Map link can help:

Hours of operation: 

Open Early May to end of October, seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise posted

During daylight hours, the park is open for walking trails and visiting waterfalls year-round, weather permitting.

Contact us

For weddings and bookings, etc. please contact us via our Rock Glen Conservation area email (RockGlenCA@abca.ca).

For more information, phone the gatehouse at 519-828-3071 or phone Ausable Bayfield Conservation office toll-free at 1-888-286-2610.

Rock Glen Conservation Area is a beautiful location for an outdoor wedding. #RockGlenWedding

Recreational Trails 

Wind your way through Rock Glen Conservation Area, travelling over wide gravel trails, through Carolinian Forest, over bridges and down long staircases to explore the falls and experience the wonders of this hidden gem!

The sides of the gorge are steep. Please stick to the maintained trails for your safety. 

There are three staircases that lead to the bottom of the gorge. Each staircase has more than 100 steps. 

CAUTION: These are nature trails. Trail surfaces and boardwalks may be slippery or uneven. Be especially careful during windy, wet and icy conditions. 

  • Wear appropriate clothing, footwear and equipment for your preferred trail activity. 
  • Stay away from fast-flowing water. 
Museum

Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre was renovated and is now open to the public. We welcome you to the new, improved museum.

The Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre houses an impressive collection of Devonian-Era fossils, minerals and artifacts found in the local area. 

If you have any questions about fossils or donations of fossils to the Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre please contact please contact Glenn Stott at gstott@xcelco.on.ca

Fossil Collecting

This area features some of the best Devonian-Era fossils in North America! 

Fossil deposits date back to more than 350 million years ago – before the dinosaurs roamed the earth. 

The erosive power of Rock Glen Falls and the Ausable River regularly release new fossils from their geological formations. 

The most commonly found fossils are brachiopods, horn corals and crinoid stems. 

Each visitor is permitted to collect one fossil only to take home with them. 

Digging for fossils, or the use of tools of any kind to extract fossils, is strictly prohibited. 

Picnicking 

Two picnic pavilions can be reserved for groups or family reunions or weddings. 

To book one of the pavilions please call 519-828-3071 from May to October and 519-235-2610 in the off-season. 

Fishing

Fishing is permitted in the Ausable River only. 

Fishing is prohibited in the Hobbs-McKenzie Drain due to high volume of visitors. 

Fishing is permitted in compliance with applicable legislation. 

Outdoor Cards and Fishing Licences can be purchased from Service Ontario and other licence issuers. Please release any fish caught out of season. 

A number of native species are found in the Ausable River.

Geocaching

Geocaching is a worldwide game of hide and seek that uses GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to help people find hidden treasures called ‘caches.’

There are multiple Earthcaches at Rock Glen Conservation Area. Caches are of different sized waterproof containers and are hidden in a safe spot close to trails. They often contain a logbook and simple treasures like coins or toys inside. 

If you find a camouflaged cache by accident, have a look and put it back in the place you found it for others to enjoy.

Visit geocaching.com to find and download coordinates and clues to find these ‘treasures’ at Rock Glen Conservation Area. 

Interested in setting up a new geocache at an ABCA property?

Check out this fact sheet for guidelines on how to do it:

Commemorative Woods

Located to the northeast of the museum, the Commemorative Woods is a place for family and friends to plant trees as a living memorial and legacy. 

Trees can also commemorate special occasions where a long-lasting natural tribute is appropriate. 

Visit the Commemorative Woods page for more information on how to plant a commemorative tree. 

Rules and Regulations
  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited
  • Motorized vehicles, including E-bikes are not permitted on the trails
  • Drones are not permitted
  • Digging for fossils is strictly prohibited
  • Dogs must be on a leash, under control, and you must clean up after your dog. 
  • Ensure your pet does not damage or interfere with vegetation or wildlife and does not interfere with others’ enjoyment.
  • Do not remove or damage plants, trees, wildlife, signs or structures. 
  • Stay on the trails and respect neighbouring landowners. 
  • Fishing is permitted in compliance with applicable legislation.  
  • Don’t litter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Rock Glen CA
What is the entry fee? 

$4 per person. Children 5 and under are free.

$3 per person for school groups.

Ask our conservation education staff about participating in a guided hike, or education program at Rock Glen CA.

The entry fee includes admission to Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre.

We accept debit, credit card, or cash.

In July and August, the gatehouse is staffed 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Outside these hours, visitors deposit their money into an envelope using a self-registration system. 

What are COVID-19 restrictions at Rock Glen CA?

People are asked to follow provincial and public health COVID-19 protocols.

We appreciate your continued patience and understanding. We are encouraging due diligence for all our conservation areas, including social distancing, and remaining at home if you are feeling unwell.

Can I bicycle at Rock Glen Conservation Area?

Bicycling at Rock Glen Conservation Area is NOT PERMITTED due to the number of stairs along the trail, and the number of users at this conservation area.

Please refer to our Permitted Uses page for a complete list.

How far are the parking lots to the waterfalls?

The closest parking lots are about 120 metres to Rock Glen Falls. The upper parking lots are more than 300 metres from the falls. 

Can you go down to the bottom of the falls?

Yes, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

Can I swim at the falls?

There is no swimming area or beach at Rock Glen Conservation Area. 

The water quality is not monitored.

Can I hunt for fossils?

Yes, but you can collect only one fossil. Digging is prohibited.

Are the washrooms open?

Yes, between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Washrooms are closed twice during the day for a thorough cleaning.

The privies are open outside of the above hours. 

How long can you spend at Rock Glen Conservation Area?

You can spend the entire day if you wish but most people spend about two hours. Because the park is so busy, we encourage people to keep their visit short so more people can enjoy the park experience. Highlights include the waterfalls, nature trails and a hike to the Ausable River. 

How many steps are there?

About 50 steps down to the waterfalls and more than 100 steps down to the Ausable Gorge.

Are there barbecues? 

There are a few barbecues and you need to bring your own charcoal. 

Are there picnic tables?

Yes. 

Can we bring our pet if on a leash and we bring bags for picking up poop?

Yes.

Contact us

For weddings and bookings, etc. please contact us via our Rock Glen Conservation area email (RockGlenCA@abca.ca):

Hours of operation: 

Open Early May to end of October, seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise posted

During daylight hours, the park is open for walking trails and visiting waterfalls year-round, weather permitting.

Tips to Enjoy your Visit

Be aware of the following to help you enjoy your visit. 

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is a common, native plant in the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority watershed. 
‘Leaves of three, let it be. Berries white, take flight.’ Leaves may either have smooth edges or a few coarse teeth and may appear shiny. If you come into contact with Poison Ivy wash the affected area with hot soap and water as soon as possible, launder clothes in hot water. 
Habitat: Open woods, fields and roadsides, disturbed areas. 

Picture of Poison Ivy – pending

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed is an invasive, non-native plant introduced from Asia. It has large, flat-topped to slightly dome-shaped flower (similar to Queen Anne’s Lace/Wild Carrot) and seed head and a bumpy or bristly stem. It can grow up to five metres in height. Skin contact with Giant Hogweed sap may cause severe skin rashes when exposed to sunlight.

Habitat: Roadsides, streambanks, waste areas, yards 

Picture of Giant Hogweed – pending

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle is from between half a metre in height to three metres tall. Stems and leaves are covered with short, stinging hairs which can cause irritation and inflammation if touched with bare skin. Flowers are in clusters with separate flowers attached by short stalks along a central stem about 1-7 centimetres long. 

Picture of Stinging Nettle – Pending

Ticks

Ticks are present in the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority watershed. 

  • Wear light-coloured clothing, so it’s easier to see ticks
  • Wear closed-toed shoes
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts
  • Wear long pants, tucked into your socks
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET
  • After outdoor activity put your clothes in the dryer

Check yourself and your children:

  • Behind your knees
  • On your head
  • In your belly button
  • In your groin area
  • In your underarm area
  • On the back of your body – use a mirror, or ask someone to check for you
  • It’s a good idea to have a shower as soon as you can to wash off any ticks.

If you discover a tick on your body remove it, place the tick in a secure container and contact your local public health unit 

Directions for removal can be found here: 

Rock Glen Conservation Area Video 2022

Watch the new (June 2022) video about Rock Glen Conservation Area: