On The Trails Highlights

Breeding birds, a show of wetland flowers and nesting turtles highlight June on the Trails. The wildflowers of June are highlighted by the Blueflag 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 15 years. This success is a testament to the ongoing work of the wetland restoration program. You can participate in planting events in the marsh this July by contacting the Bay Area Restoration Council.
 
June is the peak of breeding bird season, with the calls of 100+ species present. Trails lead you into woodland, wetland and meadow habitats were 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 concentration in southern Ontario.
 
The Cootes Paradise Fishway, located near Princess Point continues to be in full operation. However record high lake levels prevent visiting, as the access trail is closed and flooded over, with water levels not expected to recede to the point of access until the end of June. These high water levels are posing challenges to carp exclusion throughout the RBG wetlands. To learn more about Lake Ontario water levels click here. June fish include the largest species of the year, drum, channel catfish, and carp, some approaching 20kg (45lbs).
 
You can experience spring with one of the many public programs for Programs for kids or adults, with field ID pocket guides available at the RBG Shop, and great lunch time dining available at the RBG Centre restaurants. If you’re looking for a guided walk try the WIN walk in Hendrie Valley, or one of our weekly free Sunday Back to Nature walks also listed in our public programs calendar. Walks rotate between four locations, one for each week of the month and are provided by RBG volunteers.
 

Trail User Notes:
Due to high lake levels several trails are flooded over and closed. In Hendrie Valley this includes Creekside walk and the Grindstone Marsh trail west of the main boardwalk. In Cootes Paradise this includes Spencer Creek Trail, Desjardin Trail, and sections of the Captain Cootes Trail west of the Arbouretum.

 

Parking
There are five main trailhead locations, Princess Point, Westdale, the Arboretum, Cherry Hill Gate, and Rock Chapel, as well as two canoe launch sites (Princess Point & Valley Inn). These lead to 27km of trails within the sanctuaries as well as links to multiple other regional trails. A fee of $1/hour is required at all trailheads. At the Arboretum a regular admission price is in event during blooms season, and a daily parking pass is issued with each general admission purchase. Please place this parking pass on the dashboard of your vehicle for the duration of your visit. An RBG membership provides free parking at the trailheads.