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


on a boardwalk in Hendrie Valley


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 ago. 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 where you may encounter species such as the Wood Thrush (Grindstone Marsh Trail), Yellow Warbler (Captain Cootes), or Marsh Wren (Marsh Walk). The most unusual birds, the birds hidden in the marsh reeds, are likely heard while visiting South Pasture Swamp platform in Hendrie Valley or a Cootes Paradise Marshwalk (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 as spawning runs of Lake Ontario fish continue to pass through. June fish include the largest species of the year, Freshwater Drum, Channel Catfish, and carp, some approaching 20kg (45lbs).

Enjoy spring 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

The Grindstone Marsh trail will experience short disrutions as it undergoes renovations but will remain open. Regular admission applies at the Arboretum during June.

A section of Westdale Ravine Trail (Cootes Paradise) from the trail entrance at Marion Ave to the connection with Ginger Valley is temporarily closed for tree removal. A timeline has for re-opening the trail has not yet been finalized. Please check back for updates.

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.


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


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