Help the family unplug this summer. Hamilton makes it easy with stunning trails – all within minutes of downtown.

These five hikes are easy and fun to do with the kids – and sure to make them fall in love with nature. We lay them out for you here along with highlights for both children and their chaperones.

A perfect addition to any family summer getaway.

1. Tew Falls to Dundas Peak

Get in those steps as you walk the 1.3 km from Tew Falls – Hamilton’s tallest waterfall – to Dundas Peak for stunning valley views.

Kids will love:

After a scenic climb to the Tew Falls viewing platform, reaching Hamilton’s famed Dundas Peak is the family’s next goal. The payoff is worth the effort – and photo op!

Parents will love:

This walk is approximately 20 minutes, one way. After, wander into nearby Dundas to browse the shops. The kids will love Jax Sweet Shoppe for crepes, banana splits and root beer floats!), or retreat to Christie Lake Conservation Area for some beach time and splashing and paddling in the lake.

Where to park:

Parking on peak weekends (April – October) and holidays is at Christie Lake Conservation Area where you can grab a shuttle to the falls. On weekdays, visitors can park at the Tew Falls parking lot off of Harvest Road. Off-peak (November – April) parking available 7 days a week (sunrise to sunset). Parking in non-designated spots will be ticketed with fines up to $250.
More Tew Falls details.

2. Waterfront Trail

Catch some rays along the Hamilton waterfront as you follow the paved trails west from Pier 8 to Pier 4 and onto Bayfront Park. Along the way, the family will stumble on plenty of food options, places to stop and play, and photo-worthy landscapes. The paved paths are easy to follow.

Kids will love:

You’ll pass loads of kid-friendly attractions along the way. From the roller skating rink at Pier 8, to Pier 4’s Tugboat playground and splash pad, to Hutch’s famous milkshakes at Bayfront Park – this hike will banish summer boredom.

Parents will love:

The green spaces and shoreline offer a peaceful break from the daily grind. Plus, the Canadian warship, HMCS HAIDA, docked at Pier 9, has something for all ages. If the kids get tired, hop aboard the Harbour West Trolley that travels the 12 km trail.

Where to park:

There’s plenty of parking lots along the waterfront. Parking is ample at Pier 8, where you’ll find William’s Fresh Cafe for refreshments, Waterfront Scoops ice cream, and public restrooms.

3. Tiffany Falls

Enjoy a short but beautiful hike over bridges and streams through the forest to arrive at the Tiffany Falls. The cascade waterfall is 21 metres high with cliffs on either side. There’s access to the Bruce Trail for a longer hike, but the ease of visiting this beautiful waterfall is part of the charm for those looking for a manageable walk with a huge payoff.

Kids will love:

The cool bedrock surrounding the waterfall and the forested area made up of all kinds of trees. Make a game out of spotting species such as hemlock, sugar maple, and red oak trees as the waterfall tumbles into the ravine.

Parents will love:

The walk from the parking lot to the Tiffany Falls is a quick 10 minutes, making the trip manageable with small kids. Post-hike, step into Ancaster village for Purple Pony ice cream or a bite to eat.

Where to park:

The Tiffany Falls parking lot is located off Wilson Street East.

4. Devil’s Punchbowl

Formed millions of years ago on the Niagara escarpment, this multi-coloured gorge is a fascinating history lesson in geology. Look over the cliff from above, or up from below – both offer fascinating views. The 11.5 km Dofasco 2000 Trail begins here and leads to the Vinemount Wetland swamp forest featuring several bird species.


Kids will love:

The unique colourful layers of rock that make up this deep gorge are unique and beautiful. They’ll love hearing how this was a result of multiple Ice Ages – now that’s cool!

Parents will love:

The 10-metre high steel cross that lights up nightly is a Hamilton landmark, plus the view of lower Stoney Creek is pretty awesome. Make sure to visit the Punch Bowl Market and Bakery for nostalgic toys, fresh produce, gourmet foods and unique gifts.

Where to park:

The parking lot is located off Ridge Road and is an easy 2 minute walk to the Punchbowl lookout.

5. Sassafras Trail

Accessible via McMaster University campus, the Sassafras Trail is part of Royal Botanical Gardens’ (RBG) largest sanctuary, Cootes Paradise. The trail leads to the Sassafras Point Lookout as well as Princess Point, where you’ll find one of the two RBG canoe launch points.

Kids will love:

The hike is close to Churchill Park playground and Friends of the Aviary (open Saturdays from 1-4 with free admission), where colourful exotic birds wait to play.

Parents will love:

Wander into the nearby Westdale neighbourhood and refuel after your hike with some delicious pizza from Valentino’s Restaurant or The Express.

Where to park:

Street parking is available in nearby Westdale neighbourhood.

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