The Royal Botanical Gardens Trail System
The Royal Botanical Gardens’ trail system is much larger than most people realize. With over 27 kilometres of trails, there is enough to keep an avid hiker occupied for weeks. From a mix of environments, to a variety of locations, the RBG network touches many parts of the Greater Hamilton and Burlington area.
The trail system is essentially broken into four areas: The Escarpment, Cootes Paradise North Shore, Cootes Paradise South Shore, and the Hendry Valley. The Escarpment area, as its name suggest, sits on the Niagara Escarpment, up near Flamborough, with some trails extending down to York Road in Dundas. Hikes here offer amazing views of the area and can test your endurance as you climb up and down the escarpment. There is also some great social and geological history displayed along the trails that give a sense of just how old this area is.
Cootes Paradise North Shore has the RBG Arboretum as it’s major node, although the network extends over to York Road in Dundas. You experience extensive views of Cootes Paradise from various lookout points, as well as on the water from a boardwalk. The variety of heritage trees is another major feature of this area, particularly in the northern portion of the zone, along with the gardens contained at the Arboretum.
Cootes Paradise South Shore is a well travelled trail network that connects McMaster University to Churchill Park and North to the shore of Cootes Paradise. The major trails travel through deep ravines before heading out to peninsulas that extend into Cootes Paradise. Princess Point is one trailhead that offers a great destination for hikes on the South Shore. Above and below are a couple of videos a Geotrail fan uploaded to YouTube showing the Sassafras Trail.
The major feature of the Hendry Valley trails is the Grindstone Creek. An extensive boardwalk gives hikers a unique experience enriched by lively animal life. Further east, the trail follows the meandering Grindstone Creek. To the south, the trails climb towards Plains Road and Hendry Park.