Experience a cliff-face countryside view where billion year-old granite just beyond your toes fell away when a meteor slammed to Earth
The chain of Rideau Lakes forms the northern edge of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere. Just outside the village of Westport, on the north and west end of Upper Rideau Lake, is the Foley Mountain Conservation Area. Here you will find one of the premier viewpoints and vistas of this celebrated region’s Spy Rock.
Spy Rock is aptly named. From this cliff-edge granite ledge, you can see across the quaint village of Westport, southeast across the Frontenac Arch. How this dramatic cliff came to be is a fascinating chapter in the geological story of this region.
A half billion years ago, a school bus-sized meteor tore through the Earth’s atmosphere, and slammed into the planet a few kilometers to the southwest near today’s village of Holleford. The crater, still visible, is 2 kilometers wide. The impact caused a massive earthquake along a fault line across the top of Frontenac Provincial Park, northeastward towards Ottawa. The land to the south of the fault dropped away. In the case of Foley Mountain, it dropped about 100 meters, creating the abrupt, high cliff with it’s spectacular panoramic view.
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Now you can keep a record of the Amazing Places you have visited. Download our handy Amazing Places Frontenac Arch Biosphere Checklist
Plan Your visit
Take the guess work out of planning your cycling, hiking or paddling adventure to this Amazing Place with these downloadable trail descriptions from the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network
Cycling: Canoe Lake – Devil Lake Road Loop
While you’re there, check out the rest of the extensive trail network winding through FAB!
How to get to Spy Rock
Driving: From Westport drive north on Route 10. Turn right on to Foley Mountain Road. You will enter Foley Mountain Conservation Area. Follow the signs for parking and trails to the Spy Rock lookout.
How to explore Spy Rock
Once you have soaked in the view from the vista, set your sights on exploring the rest of the 325 hectare property of the Foley Mountain Conservation Area. The property is owned and operated by the Rideau Valley Conversation Authority and consists of a variety of habitat types like mixed forests, ponds and fields. Wildlife consists of 70 to 100 White Tail Deer, Black and Red Squirrels, Snowshoe Hares, Cottontail Rabbits, Porcupines and Chipmunks. There are 38 species of trees, including lofty pines and impressive white oaks.
There is a Mobility Trail that enables everyone to enjoy the conversation area. It is wheel-chair friendly, with a wide crushed-stone path and low grades. Check the trail map below for details.
Parking ($6/vehicle for full day)
The following links tell you everything you would ever want to know (and more!) about the geology of Foley Mountain and the Rideau Fault Line.