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On the Trails: December 2021

December 1, 2021

Please note: Some of our trails and trailheads are narrow and we ask you to please wear a mask when you are near other people. Please follow one-way signage as noted below.

Winter is attempting to arrive with Cootes Paradise Marsh frozen/unfrozen in late November. The open water areas 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). Water levels are 30 cm above average for this time of year due to the ongoing amounts of precipitation.

With the leaves now off the trees, the 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 the last undeveloped land between Lake Ontario (Cootes Paradise) and the Niagara Escarpment.

Borer’s 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, December 20.

Trail User Notes

  • Creekside Walk and Unsworth Ave Parking lot associated with Hendrie Valley nature trails are closed indefinitely due to extensive damage to Creekside Walk Trail during extreme weather event on December 11, 2021.
  • The Rock Chapel parking lot will be closed for the season as of Monday Dec 20.
  • RBG will be closed on December 25, 26, and January 1. The parking lot gates to Princess Point and the Arboretum will remain closed for these days.
  • 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.
  • The Ray Lowes side trail connection from Rock Chapel to Arboretum ends at York Rd and does not connect to Cootes Paradise. This relates to the Bruce Trail Conservancy head office having moved from the Arboretum, now located in Dundas via another side trail from the escarpment.
  • High numbers of visitors will be encountered at times, please wear a mask when you cannot physically distance from others.

For Your Safety

  • While our nature trails remain open to the public, please note that all use is at your own risk. Most of our trails are hilly and the trail surfaces are natural soil. Consider your footwear as during winter surfaces can be icy or muddy depending on the weather.
  • High numbers of visitors will be encountered at times and our trails are narrow; please bring a mask to wear when you cannot physically distance from others.
  • Please stay on the marked trails to avoid trampling regenerating shrubs and trees or buried roots of understory plants such as trilliums.
  • The nature trail system is considered closed during extreme weather event notifications from Environment Canada.
  • Mountain bikes/fat bikes are not allowed as our trails are not designed to accommodate these activities.
  • Please be aware ticks, including those carrying Lyme Disease, are found throughout the Hamilton/Burlington area and are active at temperatures above 0°C. Protect yourself by staying on marked trails. RBG does not accept ticks for testing. For inquiries regarding ticks, please contact the Region of Halton or City of Hamilton Public Health.

Explore RBG’s Trails

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