Hamilton is the waterfall capitol of Canada. Though residents probably know this, visitors to the city may not. Hamilton may initially appear very urban and industrial – visitors have heard it referred to as ‘Steel City’ – but it offers a wide variety of hiking trails. I have always loved hiking, and with the pandemic I have relied on hiking as an excuse to leave the comfort of my own home. Below are 5 hiking trails in and around the City of Hamilton that I think are worth exploring!
Chedoke Radial Rail Trail
The Rail Trail is a 2.7 km section of the Bruce Trail located in Hamilton, Ontario. The trail is a pedestrian and bicycle pathway developed on the former Brantford and Hamilton Electric Railway. This trail features a waterfall and several amazing views of the west end of Hamilton as well as the Dundas Valley. The trail can be accessed in two ways, via the mountain the trail can be accessed through the Chedoke Stairs and for those coming from down the mountain the trail can be accessed through the Chedoke Golf Club. Trail access is free for all pedestrians.
PICTURED: CHEDOKE RADIAL RAIL TRAIL
Dundas Valley Conservation Area
The Dundas Valley Conservation Area is a recreational trail system that provides access to almost every part of the Dundas Valley. The most popular trail at Dundas Valley, and my favourite trail is the Main Loop Trail. This trail is a 4.5 km loop that features amazing scenery as well as a river. Midway through the loop visitors will also come across the Hermitage, a stone mansion built in 1855 that burned down in 1934, the rubble still remains on site and this location is a great place to stop and rest. The Dundas Valley Conservation area charges $10 per vehicle to access their trails.
PICTURED: MAIN LOOP TRAIL AT DUNDAS VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA
The Dundas Peak hike follows a 1.8km loop, which provides a magnificent view of the Dundas Peak. It is during fall that the Dundas Peak truly shines as you can see the colours of the changing trees below. During 2020, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, erected a large black fence around the famous lookout point. While this does make it safer for visitors, it does obstruct the view for those traveling to Dundas Peak for a photo opt. If you wish to go to Dundas Peak reservations are currently required due to the pandemic and pedestrians have a 2 hour limit to explore the peak, although I found this is more than enough time to explore the area. Reservation fees are as follows - $10 per online registration, $10 per car, and $5 per person.
PICTURED: MAIN LOOKOUT AT DUNDAS PEAK
Princess Point Trail
The Princess Point Trail is just one of the many trails owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens. The trail is a 1.9km loop that features a beautiful view of the Cootes Paradise Marsh with many lookout points along the way. This particular trail is also great for bird watching. The trail can be accessed through Westdale Village, which provides many parking options. The trail is free for all users.
PICTURED: COOTES PARADISE MARSH AT PRINCESS POINT
Niagara Glen Nature Reserve
For those looking to explore trails beyond the Hamilton area I cannot recommend the Niagara Glen Nature Reserve enough. Located deep in the Niagara Gorge, the reserve contains 4km worth of nature trails that overlook the rapid waters of the Niagara River. This trail also features several large rock formations that are perfect for beginner mountain climbers. Parking and trail entrance were both free.