On The Trails

RBG's nature sanctuaries feature more than 27 km of nature trails. There are four main trailheads, as well as two canoe launch sites.

Trail MapsTrail User GuideHamilton Burlington Trails Council

PLEASE NOTE: the Arboretum will be closed Saturday July 7 from 1 p.m. to Sunday July 8 at 10 a.m. Read more >>

on a boardwalk in Hendrie Valley

September

September is migratory season and our sanctuaries are in the middle of 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. On September 14 we are hosting a wetland festival in Hendrie Park and Hendrie Valley.

As a general birding guide to visitors, raptors are centered around Burlington Heights, waterbirds are focused around the rivermouth deltas of Spencer (Cootes Paradise) and Grindstone Creeks (Hendrie Valley), and song birds 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.

Enjoy summer with one of the many public programs for Programs for kids or adults, with field ID pocket guides available in Shop @ the Gardens, and great pre/post hike lunch time dining available at the RBG Centre restaurant. 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. Walks rotate between four locations, one for each week of the month and are provided by RBG volunteers.


Trail User Notes

All Trails are open.

Please be aware ticks, including some ticks with Lyme Disease are found throughout the Hamilton Burlington Region. Protect yourself by staying on marked trails. RBG does not accept ticks for testing. For inquiries regarding ticks, please contact the City of Hamilton Public Health.

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-$2/hour is required at all trailheads. The Arboretum entrance is regular RBG admission rate during May and June. An RBG membership provides free parking at the trailheads.

Click here to download a pdf version of the on-site map signage.

Trail User Resource Guide (pdf)

For more information on the trail guidelines, including walking dogs, canoeing, feeding birds and etcetera, please download the Trail User Resource Guide.

Trail Resource Guide (pdf)


Trail Maps

Find your route and learn more about the three major nature sanctuary areas using the brochures linked below.

map view of cootes paradise

Cootes Paradise Trails

Established in 1927 for its significance as a migratory bird stopover, Cootes Paradise is RBG’s largest and most diverse sanctuary at over 600 hectares.

Download Map (pdf)

map view of the escarpment properties

Escarpment Property Trails

Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve is represented here by several properties forming a 110-hectare, three-kilometre ribbon along the Escarpment edge.

Download Map (pdf)

map view of hendrie valley

Hendrie Valley Trails

This 100-hectare sanctuary is centred on the Grindstone Creek Valley. The area features forested slopes with towering trees, a 60-hectare river-mouth marsh complex and four creeks.

Download Map (pdf)


interpretive signage along trail

Anishinaabe waadiziwin

Native plants provided indigenous peoples with almost all of life’s essentials. Starting in the Arboretum near the Nature Interpretive Centre, this new trail explores plants used by the Anishinaabe peoples, and their connections to culture, language, ecology and history.

Learn More

blue bird on a branch

Birding

Royal Botanical Gardens provides easy access to some of the most diverse birding in Ontario. Read more

geotrail map overview

GeoTrail

Explore our Trails with an interactive map from Geotrail! Read more

planting in the wetlands

Conservation Projects

Projects occur in forest, wetland and prairie habitats and range from Species at Risk inventories to invasive alien species management. Read more