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

 

boardwalk over melted marsh

April

Spring has at last come and our 31 trails are packed with natural wonders to enjoy. Highlights include the Cootes Paradise Fishway, migratory birds and the first of the forest wildflower (spring ephemerals) coming into bloom.

Raptors are now arriving with excellent views available from the George North Tower (Cootes Paradise via the Arboretum). The Bald Eagles are nesting, with a newly created nest in view of the Marsh Boardwalk, accessed via the Arboretum entrance on the north side of Cootes Paradise. The nest is located atop the tallest white pine tree in the Hopkins Woods Special Protection Area.

The Cootes Paradise Fishway, located near Princess Point, began full operation on April 2. Early season migrations include perch, pike and trout, returning from their lake side homes to spawn in the shallows of Cootes Paradise Marsh and Spencer Creek. The Fishway is open to public during the scheduled operation times, and special school tours can be booked through the Nature Interpretive Centre during alternate times.

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

The Grindstone Marsh Trail in Hendrie Valley continues to expereince disruptions during its renovation process but remains open.

Old Snake Road Trail in Hendrie Valley is temporarily shut down as resurfacing occurs.

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 (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.

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