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On the Trails: February 2020

February 1, 2020

February on the Trails

Fluctuating winter temperatures have limited conditions for skating and made all trails extremely icy such that boots with traction are a wise choice for visiting. The leafless winter forest provides extensive views through much of the natural areas of RBG, revealing the largest of the Canadian woodpeckers – the Pileated Woodpecker. The RBG sanctuaries have an estimated 3-6 pairs of Pileated Woodpeckers. The best locations to spot one are on the north shore of Cootes Paradise via the Arboretum, from the George North and Bulls Point Observation Towers, at the Hopkins Wood Special Protection Area. Please stay on the trails as wildlife have very limited shelter and space at this time of the year, while at the same time are setting up there breeding territories.

Signs of spring are edging in with species such as eagles and owls working on breeding territories. Also commonly heard are the mating calls of chickadees and cardinals echoing through the ravines. In addition, on warmer sunny days, along Spencer and Grindstone Creeks, winter stoneflies are emerging from their riverbed homes. The unusual behaviour of emerging in the winter makes these an important food source for hungry winter birds, as well as a sign of the health of these two creeks (stoneflies as sensitive to water pollution).

Skating on Cootes Paradise Marsh at Princess Point has been limited, with both open water and ice of less than 4 inches thick to start February. Information on ice thickness status is available on our social media links as well as on a sign at the Princess Point access. Please keep to the Princess Point sheltered bay area as moving water areas near creeks and at the connection to the harbour have much thinner ice.

You can experience the season with one of the many public 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 and Rock Garden restaurants. 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.

Trail User Notes

  • The Rock Chapel Parking Lot is closed for the season, re-opening in the spring.
  • Grindstone Marsh trail will have access disruptions due to repair work on the Plains Rd overpass road bridge.
  • Creekside Walk closed due to damange from repeated flooding.
  • Desjardin (Waterfront) Trail to the Fishway will be closed during February for some reconstruction related to flooding.

Explore RBG’s Trails

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