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 Maps   Trail User Guide   Hamilton Burlington Trails Council


snow covered trail


Ice skating, animal tracks in the snow, raptors, and arctic waterbirds are the themes for January. Waterbirds from the north, wintering in the unfrozen waters at Lake Ontario area are highlighted by Bufflehead, Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, and Lesser Scaup and can number in the thousands. The concentrations of waterbirds draw in a variety of raptors, expect to spot a red tailed hawk or bald eagle soaring overhead. Open waters can be found near the Fishway (via Princess Point). Long views of the area and the amazing water carved rolling escarpment landscape are available from the George North, Bulls Point, and Pine Point Lookouts on the north shore of Cootes Paradise, and the Sassafras Point lookout on the south shore.

Skating on Cootes Paradise Marsh at the Princess Point access is possible weather permitting. Information on ice thickness status is available below, as well as on a sign at the Princess Point access. The water is currently very shallow under the ice, with just 12 inches (30cm) of water in Princess Point Bay. RBG staff will be periodically reflooding the bay in an effort to maintain skating conditions during the winter.

You can experience the season through one of the many public programs for kids or adults, with field ID pocket guides available at Shop @ The Gardens, and great lunch time dining available at The Greenhouse Café. If you’re looking for a guided hike try the Walking into Nature (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

All trails and parking lots except Rock Chapel are open. Please be aware ticks, including some ticks with Lyme Disease are found throughout the Hamilton Burlington Region. Rock Chapel parking lot is closed for the season. re-opening in the spring.


There are five main trailhead locations, Princess Point, Westdale, the Arboretum, Cherry Hill Gate, and Rock Chapel (parking lot closed for the season), 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 and $3/hour at the Arboretum, excluding special events. An RBG membership provides free parking at the trailheads.

Ice Skating

Ice Thickness: 0" (not safe) - measured January 13

Princess Point provides access to a skating area across Coootes Paradise. Ice is measured each Friday (before end of day), and updated at the on-site signage, here, and on our Facebook page. Please note: weather changes quickly, and so upon arrival the ice may not be in the same condition as listed. Please use caution, take time to read the signage, and follow the listed guidelines.

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 (pdf)

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. Read more (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. Read more (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. Read more (pdf)

blue bird on a branch


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

geotrail map overview


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