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

On the Trails: May 2021

May 6, 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.

Spring is in full swing and our nature sanctuary trails are packed with natural wonders to enjoy. Highlights include migratory birds, Bald Eagles, and forest wildflower (spring ephemerals) in full bloom. Woodland trails with names such as Bridle, Captain Cootes, Grey Doe, Armstrong and Ginger Valley abound with flowers carrying names like trillium, trout lily, and toothwort. The Anishinaabe Waadiziwin Trail below the Nature Interpretive Centre is continuously being enhanced and can also be part of a relaxing trip to see the Arboretum Magnolia, Lilacs or Flowering Dogwood blooms.

Migratory birds of all types are now present, with over 250 species seen annually. The most dramatic sightings include thousands of swallows over Cootes Paradise Marsh, and raptors cursing north along Burlington Heights. The most common species observed in 2018 were the Red-winged Blackbird and the Yellow Warbler, both associated with the recovering marsh habitats.

Canoeing in Cootes Paradise provides a different vantage point of the marsh, with a launch available from Princess Point. The Bald Eagles can be seen circling their territory in the Spencer Creek and Hopkins Wood Special Protection Area. Best views of the area the eagles patrol are from the Marsh Boardwalk Lookout or George North Tower via the Arboretum or from the Sassafras Point lookout via Princess Point. Several additional juvenile eagles have also taken up residence at Cootes Paradise.

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.
  • The parking lot at the entrance to Cherry Hill Gate and Grindstone Marsh are undergoing renovations and will experience short term and temporary closures. The lot is reduced to half capacity to ensure visitor safety during construction and 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.