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All outdoor garden areas now open. Learn more about visiting safely during COVID-19.

On the Trails: June 2021

June 2, 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.

Breeding birds, a show of wetland flowers, and nesting turtles highlight June on the Trails. The wildflowers of June are highlighted by the Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) and White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata) found throughout the wetlands. Among the richest locations is the Bridle Trail Loop in Hendrie Valley.

Given the abundance of wetland plants in the valley today, it’s difficult to conceive this area was so degraded 20 years ago. This success is a testament to the ongoing work of the wetland restoration program. A striking feature of the wetlands in 2021 is the lower water level, with current lake levels last experienced in 1965.

June is the peak of breeding bird season, with the calls of 100+ species present. Trails lead you into woodland, wetland and meadow habitats where you may encounter species such as the Wood Thrush (Grindstone Marsh Trail), Yellow Warbler (Captain Cootes), or Virginia Rail (Marsh Walk). The most unusual birds, the birds that hide in the marsh reeds, are likely heard while visiting South Pasture Swamp platform in Hendrie Valley or a Cootes Paradise (Arboretum access), with these platforms providing views of the various Special Protection Areas.

You may find a surprise on your walk, turtles migrating to high ground to lay their eggs. Trails and garden areas are attractive destinations for laying eggs, with eggs taking several months to hatch. Please do not disturb the turtles as some are large enough to have a bite. Nesting turtles are most often encountered during the morning hours and encounters can occur most any day. The Gardens’ is undertaking special research to ensure the turtles are sustained into the future. Five of the six species present are on the Canadian endangered species list, with the Gardens sanctuaries one of the remaining concentrations in southern Ontario. The other species is the Red-eared Slider a result in inappropriate pet releases.

The Cootes Paradise Fishway, located near Princess Point continues to be in full operation but is closed to public access until further notice.

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.