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On the Trails: July 2024

July 2, 2024

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. Lilies are also featured in the cultivated gardens, particularly Hendrie Park, where both aquatic and garden cultivars can be found.

Cleaner waters and below average lake levels have facilitated extensive ongoing regeneration of aquatic plants throughout the large marsh areas. Dragonflies in particularly are noteworthy in numbers. This is now dramatically viewed from all of the lookout points around Cootes Paradise Marsh. Regenerating plants include pondweeds and water lilies, reestablishing throughout most of the inlets in substantial numbers and is a substantial change from the previous 50 years of algae and murky water. Further details on the marsh restoration projects can be found in the Wetland Restoration Plan 2022-2026. Marsh plant community recovery will be ongoing for at least a further decade as part of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan (HHRAP).

Trail User Notes

  • The small parking lot located at Unsworth Ave is permanently closed. Creekside Walk nature trail access remains open and parking is available at Cherry Hill (1101 Plains Rd W.) or Hidden Valley Park.

For Your Safety

  • 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.
  • 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.