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Visitors are no longer required to wear masks at RBG. Learn more about visiting safely during COVID-19.

On the Trails: September 2021

September 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.

September is migratory season and our sanctuaries are in the middle of a number of migration routes. Over 250 bird species can be encountered over the course of the season and in the fall every trail can host something special. The first burst of fall colour also emerges, highlighted by goldenrods and asters. These plants come into flower just in time for the arrival of another long distant migrant the monarch butterfly.

As a general fall migratory birding guide to visitors, raptors are centered around Burlington Heights, waterbirds are focused around the river mouth deltas of Spencer (Cootes Paradise) and Grindstone Creeks (Hendrie Valley), and songbirds are all through the wooded shorelines surrounding the wetlands. Trails with observation platforms are accessed through either Hendrie Valley or the Cootes Paradise north shore (via the Arboretum) with views of our most spectacular areas, Special Protection Areas available from the platforms. Canoe launches can be found at Princess Point and Valley Inn.

September wildflowers are dominated by goldenrods and asters with over 30 species occurring. These are particularly abundant in the meadows of Princess Point, Arboretum, and Rock Chapel. More subtle favourites in a woodland setting include, Symphyotrichum cordifolium (Heart-leaved Aster) at Rock Chapel, Solidago caesia (Blue-stemmed Goldenrod) in Hendrie Valley, and Eurybia macrophylla (Large-leaved Aster) along Cootes Paradise south shore.

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.
  • The Ray Lowes side trail connection from Rock Chapel to Arboretum ends at York Rd and does not connect to Cootes Paradise. This relates to the Bruce Trail Conservancy head office having moved from the Arboretum, now located in Dundas via another side trail from the escarpment.
  • 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.