Try Out These Trails This Season
By: Emily Sharma, Communications Intern, Royal Botanical Gardens
The scent of fallen leaves and vibrant palette of colours make RBG’s 27km of nature trails irresistible every autumn — and there’s still time for a fall season hike!
As more people look for ways to stretch their legs and connect with nature, it can lead to congestion on some of our more popular trails. So why not take a different beaten path? Here’s a list of amazing but less frequented hikes to add to your itinerary.
Try out these trails on your next trek!
Off Cootes Drive, this trail leads past the Spencer Creek Floodplain Special Protected Area in the southwestern corner of the marsh. There’s still a chance to spot the last of the migrating salmon as the spawning fish of Lake Ontario find their ways into the creeks.
Rock Chapel & Borer’s Falls
As the furthest trailhead from RBG’s main garden areas, the escarpment trails aren’t always top of mind — but they should be. Rock Chapel Trail/Escarpment Loop is an easy, flat path with lookout opportunities along the escarpment’s edge.
Or travel further for spectacular views of Borer’s Falls and Borer’s Creek Gorge, and try your birding skills along a forested hike down Ray Lowes Trail.
(Please note that Ray Lowes trail ends at York Road and does not connect to Cootes Paradise trails. This would be an out and back hike).
Homestead Trail & Hopkins Loop
The Arboretum is home to many great trailheads that are part of the network of Cootes Paradise trails. With a huge variety of trees, shoreline paths and easy access, it’s already a popular hiking spot.
But you can avoid some of the crowds and still enjoy the best of the Arboretum with a trip down Homestead Trail. Starting at the Pinetum, this two-kilometre trail takes through beautiful forests that are home to exciting wildlife. Add Hopkins Loop for a longer hike along a flowing creek.
Cherry Hill Gate is another well-used trailhead, but while most visitors gravitate to Grindstone Marsh Trail, there’s typically fewer people traveling down to Creekside Walk. Still accessible from Cherry Hill, you can venture down the Bridle Trail Loop (currently one-way to allow for social distancing). Add on Creekside Walk for a lovely trek featuring Grindstone Creek and South Pasture Swamp Special Protection area, home to minks, muskrats, beavers and wood ducks!
The areas near Grindstone Marsh are great for bird watching. In accordance with city bylaws and to keep these habitats healthy, please refrain from feeding birds or other wildlife on RBG trails.
Plan Your Hike
Find interactive maps from GeoTrail! View trail lengths, terrain, lookout points, elevation, photos and more!
Featured Hiking Loops
Not sure where to start? Join Jackson for a virtual guided hike with our “Take a Hike” videos!