On The Trails Highlights

June trail highlights include breeding birds, a brilliant show of wetland flowers and nesting turtles. June wildflowers include Blueflag Iris (Iris versicolor) and White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata), found throughout the wetlands, can be best viewed at Bridle Trail Loop in Hendrie Valley. Given the abundance of wetland plants in the valley today it’s difficult to conceive this area was so degraded 15 years ago. This success is a testament to the ongoing work of the wetland restoration program. You can participate in planting events in the marsh this July by contacting the Bay Area Restoration Council.

June is the peak bird breeding and our trails are filled with the calls of more than 100 species. Trails lead you into woodland, wetland and meadow habitats where you may encounter species such as the Wood Thrush (Grindstone Marsh Trail), Yellow Warbler (Captain Cootes), or Virginia Rail (Marsh Walk).  The most unusual birds, those that hide in marsh reeds, are likely heard while visiting South Pasture Swamp platform in Hendrie Valley or at Cootes Paradise (Arboretum access). Trail platforms provide views of various Special Protection Areas.

You may find a surprise on your walk as turtles migrate to high ground to lay their eggs. Trails and garden areas are attractive destinations for laying eggs, which take several months to hatch. Nesting turtles are most often encountered during the morning hours so take special care while enjoying your hike and please, do not disturb the turtles. RBG’s turtle recovery program is conducting research to ensure turtles populations remain sustainable in the years to come. Five of the six species that make their home here are on the Canadian endangered species list, and our sanctuaries are one of the remaining areas with concentrated populations in southern Ontario.

The Cootes Paradise Fishway, located near Princess Point continues to be in full operation, June fish  include the largest species of the year: drum, channel catfish, and carp; some approaching 20kg (45lbs). The Fishway is open to public during scheduled operation times, and will operate on Father’s Day. Special school tours can be booked through the RBG nature centre during alternate times.

You can experience spring with one of the many public programs for Programs for kids or adults, with field ID pocket guides available at the RBG Shop, and great lunch time dining available at the RBG Centre restaurant. If you’re looking for a guided walk try the 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.

Pay and Display parking is in effect at all trail heads as well as Laking Garden and the Arboretum when garden kiosks are not in operation. 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. Pay and Display fees are $1/hour to a maximum of $5 at all sites except for the Arboretum which is $3/hour to a maximum of $15. A daily parking pass is issued with each general admission purchase. Please place this parking pass on the dashboard of your vehicle for the duration of your visit. RBG members park for free at all properties by displaying their members’ parking pass in their vehicle. Paid parking is not required at RBG Centre.