Now more than ever, we need the healing power of nature.

Hamilton's outdoor playground is here to help you answer the call to get outside for fresh air and quiet reflection with its vast trail network which includes waterfront routes, lush valleys and the Bruce Trail that winds along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.

Best of all, these stunning walks are easy to reach and close to great attractions and dining.

While enjoying your hike, please continue to respect distancing rules.

Christie Lake


This Hamilton Conservation area is basically a giant outdoor playground with a beach, great swimming and boating, and 10 kilometres of gorgeous hiking trails through meadows and towering pine forests. There's also a great mountain bike single-track trail that cuts through the forest.

Trail map (PDF)
Difficulty/Terrain: Some doubletrack trails with gravel or dirt. Bike trails are a clay/dirt surface with a few rocks and roots and range in difficulty from easy to intermediate.
Length: There are 10 km of multi-use trails
Map to parking lot
Parking: $10 per vehicle and driver, free for Hamilton Conservation Authority pass holders>

Nearby

There is a bakery directly across the street from the conservation area entrance – The Tiny Bakery – with fantastic pies, Belgian cookies and other post-ride or post-hike snacks.

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Eramosa Karst

The word "karst" isn't one you hear often, but there happens to be one that you can visit in Hamilton. According to Merriam-Webster, a karst is "an irregular limestone region with sinkholes, underground streams and caverns." When visiting this conservation area in Stoney Creek, be on the lookout for the caves this area is known for scattered along the trails.

Trail map (PDF)
Difficulty/Terrain: The terrain here is fairly flat, but watch your footing in some uneven areas.
Length: There are just over four kilometres of trails
Map to parking lot
Parking: $2/hour per car or free for Hamilton Conservation Authority pass holders.

Nearby

While in the area, check out the beautiful Albion Falls just a few minutes away. The cascading falls, flow down the Niagara Escarpment into the Red Hill Valley. And don’t miss the stunning views of the city from Mountain Brow Boulevard. Nearby restaurants and movie theatres are located at the Winterberry Plaza on Paramount Drive. Visitors looking for an overnight stay, can visit the beautiful C Hotel by Carmen’s.

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Devil’s Punchbowl

The most popular feature of this hiking area, located in Stoney Creek, is the colourful, rocky gorge that is part of the Stoney Creek escarpment. It shows off over 40 million years of history with its layers of shale and limestone formed by inland seas and the popular Devil's Punchbowl falls.

Trail map (PDF)
Difficulty/Terrain: Difficult - expect dirt, grass, wooden stairways and bridges.
Length: The trail is 2.5 km one way. You can also get on the 11.5-km Dofasco 2000 Trail through upper Stoney Creek that features a boardwalk through Vinemount Swamp Forest.
Parking: $2/hour per car or free for Hamilton Conservation Authority pass holders
Map to parking lot

Nearby

Be sure to stop at the lookout for views of Stoney Creek and Hamilton Harbour. The Punch Bowl Market & Bakery is a great place to stop for fresh baked treats, both sweet and savoury and all kinds of vintage toys and treats.

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The Dundas Valley trail system



The Dundas Valley is a lush, hilly 1,200 hectares of forest featuring deciduous Carolinian trees, streams and a 40-kilometre trail system. The Main Loop Trail is a popular one, with several offshoot trails. The Bruce Trail and the 32-kilometre Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail also intersects the valley and runs past the main trail centre, with its covered pavilion. Take the Main Loop Trail to see the restored Hermitage Ruins and the Heritage Trail that leads to Canterbury Falls.

Trail map (PDF)
Difficulty/Terrain: Moderate to difficult: Some parts are rooty and hilly, while others are fairly flat and even.
Length: Main Loop: 3.4 km; Heritage Trail 1.8 km.
Parking: There are a few places to park, but the main lot is here: Map to parking lot
Check out this link as there are different fees for parking a horse trailer vs. a car. http://conservationhamilton.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/DVCA.pdf
Bus route: https://www.hamilton.ca/hsr-bus-schedules-fares

Nearby

Once you've worked up an appetite, wander to historic downtown Dundas for drinks at Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. or grab a perfect coffee and pastry at Detour.

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Chedoke Radial Trail


This scenic 2.7 kilometre path is part of the Bruce Trail and passes by the rolling green hills of the Chedoke Golf Club course off Aberdeen Avenue. It's a popular meeting point, not only for hikers, joggers and cyclists, but for those looking to push themselves by climbing the steep Chedoke Stairs (all 280 of them) that connect the lower city to the west mountain at the top of the escarpment.

Trail map (PDF)
Difficulty/Terrain: There is a slight grade as you walk or ride up the escarpment, but rail trail itself is dirt.
Length: 12 km
Map to parking lot
Parking: Most people will park at Chedoke Golf Course and start their hike from there.
Bus route: 6 Aberdeen

Nearby

After you've worked up an appetite grab a bite at nearby Aberdeen Tavern, popular with locals for its casual upscale menu and decor.

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The Waterfront Trail

This is a great way to enjoy the shoreline of Hamilton Harbour from Princess Point (Cootes Paradise) through Bayfront Park and the West Harbour. The paved trail connects visitors to a once industrial waterfront, now revitalized with restored natural areas and amenities like bike rentals and outdoor skating. If you get tired of walking, hop aboard the open-air Harbourfront Trolley, offering great views of the west harbour and fascinating commentary from your conductor.

Trail map (website)
Difficulty/Terrain: Paved and smooth
Length: 7.5 km
Map to parking lot
Parking: There are various free and metered parking lots along the route including Bayfront Park and Princess Point.
Bus route: The trail is well serviced by bus routes. Enter your starting address in the HSR Trip Planner for details.

Nearby

Bring a picnic as there is lots of green space where you can eat at Bayfront Park or head to one of the restaurants at nearby Pier 8 or along James Street North

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Sassafras Point Trail in Churchill Park

Venture into Hamilton's Westdale neighbourhood of shops and restaurants and you might be surprised that just behind it, lies a forest with some beautiful hiking loops. These trails are part of what's known as Cootes Paradise, an 840-hectare sanctuary for animals, birds, and marine and plant life that's managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens. There are 27 kilometres of trails to explore, including the popular Sassafras Trail. At the end of this winding, forested walk, you'll be rewarded with views of beautiful Princess Point.

Trail map (PDF)
Difficulty/Terrain: Moderate, with a couple of short-but-steep hills
Length: 3.4 km – about one hour out and back.
Map to parking lot
Parking: There is metered parking on Oak Knoll Drive in Westdale, which is free to Royal Botanical Garden members.

Nearby

This is a great area for families given its proximity to the restaurants and stores of Westdale neighbourhood. Stop by Churchill Park to play and spread out on the grass.

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THE ESCARPMENT RAIL TRAIL TO ALBION FALLS

This path that leads from downtown Hamilton up above Albion Falls was established in 1993 on an old CN rail line. It's also part of the Trans Canada trail network. The main route is paved and on a gradual slope, which makes it perfect for families on foot and with bikes. Visitors are asked to stay on marked paths and avoid entering prohibited areas.

Trail map (PDF)
Difficulty/Terrain: Easy to moderate. Paved with some tar/chip surface and a gradual slope
Length: 9 km
Map to parking lot (you can get on the trail at Corktown Park):
Parking: Corktown Park at Ferguson Avenue and Young Street.

Nearby

From here, you can also get onto the Bruce Trail which follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, one of the thirteen UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada.

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The City of Hamilton encourages all visitors to enjoy the city’s trails and waterfalls safely and has provided following resources:


Tara NolanTara Nolan is a Dundas-based freelance writer with a passion for exploring the outdoors. Tara loves to write about mountain biking, gardening and other active pursuits for a variety of print and online publications. Follow her on Twitter @thattaranolan and Instagram @tara_e. Her blog The Outdoor Explorer reveals Hamilton’s stunning outdoor spaces, from nature trails and waterfalls to conservation areas, farms and gardens. Whether you want to walk, hike, bike or paddle, discover where to seek out your next outdoor adventure – all minutes from the city’s core.