On The Trails Highlights

September is migratory season and our sanctuaries are in the middle of number of migration routes Over 250 bird species can be encountered over the course of the season and every trail hosts something special. The first burst of fall colours will emerge, highlighted by goldenrods and asters. These plants have come into flower just in time for the arrival of another long distance migrant, the Monarch Butterfly. On Sept 17 & 18 RBG will host a Fall Migration Fest  at the Arboretum highlighting the many migrants visiting the area, and on Sept. 24 the dawn to dusk longwatch will occur.

As a general birding guide for visitors, raptors are centered around Burlington Heights, waterbirds are focused around the river-mouth deltas of Spencer (Cootes Paradise) and Grindstone Creeks (Hendrie Valley), and song birds are found throughout the wooded shorelines surrounding the wetlands. Trails with observation platforms are accessed through either Hendrie Valley or the Cootes Paradise north shore (via the Arboretum) with views of our Special Protection Areas available from the platforms. Canoe launches can be found at Princess Point and Valley Inn.

September wildflowers include over 30 species and are dominated by goldenrods and asters. These are particularly abundant in the meadows of Princess Point, Arboretum and Rock Chapel. More subtle favourites in a woodland setting include, Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Heart-leaved Aster) at Rock Chapel, Solidago caesia (Blue-stemmed Goldenrod) in Hendrie Valley, and Eurybia macrophylla (Large-leaved Aster) along Cootes Paradise south shore.

You can experience the season through one of the many public programs for kids or adults, with field ID pocket guides available at Shop @ The Gardens, and great lunchtime dining available at The Gardens’ Café. If you’re looking for a guided hike try the Walking into Nature (WIN) walk in Hendrie Valley, or one of our weekly free Sunday Back to Nature walks also listed in our public programs calendar. Walks rotate between four locations, one for each week of the month and are provided by RBG volunteers.

Trail User Notes: All 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. A fee of $1/hour is required at all trailheads and $3/hour at the Arboretum, excluding the Arboretum based Migration Festival were kiosk and regular garden admission rates will apply. An RBG membership provides free parking at the trailheads.