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Reduced Hours during Winter Wonders: RBG Centre and Hendrie Park will close at 4 p.m. (final admission 3 p.m.). Timed-tickets required to access these areas for the evening Winter Wonders experience.

On the Trails: July 2021

July 8, 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.

Ongoing low lakes levels have facilitated extensive regeneration of wetland reeds throughout the marsh areas. This is dramatically viewed from the Marsh Walk Trail at Cootes Paradise overlooking the delta of Spencer Creek. Hectares of seedlings are now establishing, and the significantly damaged existing reeds are also recovering. Regenerating plants include Cattails, Softstem Bulrush, and Arrowhead. By year’s end, the restoration goal of re-establishing habitat in the delta as well as a reed bed to work as a biofilter for Cootes Paradise Marsh’s inner bay area is expected to be achieved. Further details on these projects can be found in the Wetland Restoration Plan 2016-2021.

New life fills the sanctuaries in July. Young birds are emerging from the nests, new fish abound in the wetlands, and butterflies and dragonflies are on the wing. Wildflowers in July are highlighted by the always impressive lilies, including wetland, woodland, and meadow species flowering.

Enjoy the views from the observation platforms on the Cootes Paradise north shore trails and Hendrie Valley. Observation platforms provide views of our most spectacular areas, the South Pasture Swamp, Spencer Creek, and Hopkins Wood Special Protection Areas. The Anishinaabe Waadiziwin Trail below the Nature Centre is a great addition to a relaxing trip to learn about the Indigenous use of plants.

The commonly occurring lilies in bloom include the White (Nymphaea odorata) and Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar variegatum) of the wetlands, and the Turk’s-cap (Lilium superbum) and Michigan Lily (Lilium michiganese) of the uplands. The best trails to encounter lilies include Creekside walk in Hendrie Valley, and Sassafras Point, and Captain Cootes trail at Cootes Paradise. The water lilies once virtually lost due to habitat destruction now carpet portions of the wetlands again, reflecting the success of the restoration. A sea of white-water lilies can be found in Hendrie Valley, while at the Lamoureux Boardwalk on Captain Cootes Trail three species, two white water lily species, and the yellow lily are present. For a view from the water, canoe launches can be found at Princess Point and Valley Inn with water levels very high this year. Lilies are also featured in the cultivated gardens, particularly Hendrie Park, where both aquatic and garden cultivars can be found.

Trail User Notes

  • The Bridle Trail Loop in Hendrie Valley and Calebs Walk at Cootes Paradise are recommended as one-directional walks due to social distancing limitations of narrow sections. Signage is located at key intersections to indicate the one-way loop.
  • Parking at the entrance to Cherry Hill Gate and Hendrie Valley will be at reduced capacity during the duration of the Ontario province-wide shutdown. The lot is reduced to half capacity to to address growing health and safety concerns and reduce environmental impact caused by overcapacity on the trail system. 
  • 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, 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.