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On the Trails: November 2023

November 1, 2023

To start the month most forest areas are nearing the end of fall colour and migratory birds continue to be numerous. The Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) a native forest understory shrub species is among the most common species in the oak dominated forests of our sanctuaries, with the yellow flowers quite distinctive against the forest setting.

The Anishinaabe waadiziwin Trail access from the Arboretum, or the Cherry Hill Gate trail into Hendrie Valley Sanctuary, are among the two best hikes at this time of year. Oak trees around Cootes Paradise and Hendrie Valley will remain in peak colour during the first week of November in brilliant shades of orange and red, fading to brown.

Migratory birds continue to pass through, particularly waterfowl and raptors. November is highlighted by the arrival of the Tundra Swans, on route from Alaska to the Carolina’s. Large flocks of mergansers, teals, and shovellers can also be sited and most waterbirds will close to viewing points as water levels are average exposing portions of mudflats at creek deltas. The best trails to see them from are the Princess Point trail accessed on the south side of Cootes Paradise Marsh, or the Anishinaabe waadiziwin trail along the north side of the marsh and accessed from the RBG Arboretum.

On route through the Arboretum the decaying leaves of the Katsura trees (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) will make you think someone is cooking brownies, as their decaying leaves release this familiar smell.

Trail User Notes

  • Hendrie Valley:
    • 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.
  • Escarpment Properties:
    • Rock Chapel: The Bruce Trail roadside link to Borers Falls is currently being updated and as such for a period, trail visitors will need to climb over the roadside guard rail until modifications are completed to provide an access opening. This project is undertaken by Bruce Trail Conservancy and City of Hamilton.

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.