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On the Trails: October 2020

October 1, 2020

The trails burst into fall colour as the leaves turn reds, yellows, and purples. October is also the heart of fall bird migration, and Royal Botanical Gardens sanctuaries are in the middle of number of transcontinental bird migration routes. Over 250 species can be encountered over the course of the fall season and every trail can host something special. Also migrating in are the spawning salmon of Lake Ontario, finding their ways into both Spencer and Grindstone Creeks. 

Fall colours have begun with Walnuts turning yellow to start off October. Fall colours extend into November as the 70 plus species of trees in our Carolinian forests a found across a varied landscape. Trails of the escarpment uplands reach their colour peak two weeks earlier than those down at Cootes Paradise Marsh. Look for the brilliant orange leaves of Sassafras and serviceberries, the reds of maples and sumac, the yellows of walnut and hickory, and the uniquely purple leaves of Fraxinus americana (white ash).  

Migratory birds reach numbers in the thousands on many days. Raptors are centered at Burlington Heights, waterbirds are focused around the rivermouth deltas of Spencer (Cootes Paradise) and Grindstone Creeks (Hendrie Valley), and songbirds are through the wooded shorelines surrounding the wetlands. Ideal destinations are trails with observation platforms, accessed through either the Cootes Paradise north shore trails or Hendrie Valley and are located next to our Special Protection Areas.

Trail User Notes

  • The Bridle Trail Loop in Hendrie Valley is a one directional walk due to social distancing limitations of narrow sections. Signage is located at key intersections to indicate the one-way loop 
  • Princess Point trail loop in the Oak Savanah area will be subject to periodic access interruptions as the trail system is upgraded to repair and protect the integrity of the site as well as improve 4 season access
  • The Ray Lowes side trail connection from Rock Chapel ends at York Rd and does not connect to Cootes Paradise

Explore RBG’s Trails

RBG’s nature sanctuaries feature more than 27 km of nature trails! Find maps, guided hike schedule, and more.