On The Trails Highlights

Over 250 species of migratory birds are now present throughout RBG’s properties. The most dramatic sightings include thousands of swallows over Cootes Paradise Marsh, and raptors gliding north along Burlington Heights. The most common species observed at RBG in 2015 were the Red-winged Blackbird and the Yellow Warbler, both associated with recovering marsh habitats. RBG has multiple canoe program experiences this year, with Cootes Paradise providing a unique birding vantage point. For more information on birding at RBG click here.

The Cootes Paradise Fishway, located near Princess Point, is under full operation as spawning migrations of species such as bass, catfish and drum return from their lake side homes to the shallows of Cootes Paradise Marsh. The Fishway is open to public during the scheduled operation times, and special school tours can be booked through the RBG Nature Centre during alternate times.

Forest floors are in just coming into bloom with the cool spring weather. Woodland trails with names such as Bridle, Captain Cootes, Grey Doe, Armstrong and Ginger Valley abound with flowers hosting trilliums, trout lily, and toothwort.  The Captain Cootes trail has a revitalized floating boardwalk, just below the Nature Centre, known as the John Lamoreaux Memorial Boardwalk. This can be part of a trip to see the Arboretum or Bald Eagles nest, which is next to the Hopkins Wood Special Protection Area and viewed form the Marsh Boardwalk. Two eaglets are currently in the nest, and are expected to fledge in June.

You can experience spring through one of RBG’s many Public Programs for kids or adults; pocket guides are available at the RBG Shop. There is also great lunch-time dining available at the RBG Centre restaurant. If you’re looking for a guided walk, try one of our free weekly Sunday Back to Nature walks, also listed in our public programs calendar. Walks are provided by RBG volunteers and rotate between four locations, one for each week of the month.

Trail User Notes: All trails and parking lots are open.

There are five main trailhead locations, Princess Point, Westdale, the Arboretum, Cherry Hill Gate and Rock Chapel, as well as two canoe launch sites, Princess Point & Valley Inn. These lead to 27km of trails within the sanctuaries as well as links to multiple other regional trails. Full RBG visitor admission applies at the Arboretum, while a fee of $1/hour is required at all other trailheads. An RBG membership provides free parking at the trailheads and access to the Gardens.