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COVID-19 Closures: Royal Botanical Gardens temporarily closed as of Dec 26. Trails remain open.

On the Trails: December 2020

December 1, 2020

Please note: Some of our trails and trailheads are narrow and we recommend you wear a mask when you are near other people.

Arctic water birds, frost and ice are the themes for December. Winter is attempting to arrive with Cootes Paradise Marsh frozen/unfrozen several time in November. The open water areas now host concentrations of northern waterfowl wintering in the area, highlighted by Bufflehead, Goldeneye, and Hooded Merganser. The best trails to catch a glimpse of the birds are the Marshwalk Trail, (open waters of Spencer Creek), Princess Point Trail and the Waterfront Trail (open waters near the Fishway).

With the leaves now off the trees expansive views from places such as the George North Tower at Cootes Paradise or from Rock Chapel out towards Lake Ontario are possible. The view from Rock Chapel provides a vista of last undeveloped land between Lake Ontario (Cootes Paradise) and the Niagara Escarpment. Borers falls, a 5 minute walk from the Rock Chapel parking lot, is also in fine form with higher water flows in December. The Rock Chapel parking lot will be closed for the season as of Monday Dec 21.

Trail User Notes

  • Rock Chapel Parking lot (in the Escarpment Trail System) will be closing for the season as of December 21, reopening again in spring
  • The Bridle Trail Loop in Hendrie Valley is a one directional walk due to social distancing limitations of narrow sections. Signage is located at key intersections to indicate the one-way loop.
  • Creekside Walk in Hendrie Valley‘s floodplain is closed due a combination of past damage by floods and ongoing issues with water.
  • The Ray Lowes side trail connection from Rock Chapel ends at York Rd and does not connect to Cootes Paradise
  • High numbers of visitors will be encountered at times, consider bringing a mask to wear when you cannot physically distance from others

Explore RBG’s Trails

RBG’s nature sanctuaries feature more than 27 km of nature trails! Find maps, guided hike schedule, and more.