Hamilton’s not shy about owning its industrial roots. But we also love to surprise visitors with our breathtaking green spaces.
Set between the Niagara Escarpment and the shores of Lake Ontario, the city is surrounded by breathtaking nature on all sides, most of it located within a quick drive from the downtown core.
Discover every corner of our outdoor playground including:
- Our famous waterfalls
- World-class parks and gardens
- Gorgeous hiking and cycling trails
- Revitalized waterfronts
- Hopping beaches
- Picturesque farm land
- Diverse conservation lands
- Forest playground Treetop Trekking
Read on for your guide to building your own perfect outdoor adventure close to home.
1. Chasing Waterfalls
Nearby Niagara Falls may get most of the attention, but Hamilton’s many waterfalls are a pure joy to explore. Among Hamilton’s most beautiful – and to some surprising – natural attractions are the more than 100 waterfalls cascading across the city.
Just a few favourites include the stepped jewel Albion Falls in the city's east end and breathtaking Webster and Tew Falls at Spencer Gorge Conservation Area.
2. Royal Botanical Gardens
Bragging rights at Canada’s largest botanical garden include endless trails, some of the world’s largest flower collections, and the historic Rock Garden. Year-round events and award-winning dining round out this piece of paradise.
More visit-worthy parks include Gage Park in the city’s east end packed with attractions, Sam Lawrence Park perched on the Niagara Escarpment with panoramic views of the city, and urban waterfront oasis Bayfront Park. For more perfect park hangs visit our Parks and Picnic Guide.
3. Hiking Trails
Hike your heart out on your next visit to Hamilton. The Niagara Escarpment – a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve – that cuts through the city gives visitors endless forested trails to explore including the famous Bruce Trail. There are also several pretty waterfront paths along the southern shores of Lake Ontario and Hamilton Harbour as well as scenic trail networks through knockouts like the Dundas Valley and Red Hill Valley.
Whatever the season, you’ll find the perfect hiking adventure with this handy guide.
4. Cycling Destinations
If you prefer to explore the city on two wheels, Hamilton’s got everything from scenic forested trails to paved waterfront routes. Check out our cycling guide for some wheel-worthy routes from lakefront to escarpment and everywhere in between, along with great spots to refuel between rides.
Visiting without wheels? Grab a bike during your visit at a Hamilton Bike Share stand or inquire about e-bike rentals at Hamilton Electric Bikes.
5. West Harbour
Hamilton’s West Harbour is undergoing a massive transformation with tons of amenities to enjoy – both old and brand shiny new.
A stroll along the Hamilton Waterfront Trail will take you past the city’s newly build Copps Pier Park, honouring the city’s unique industrial heritage; an old-school rolling skating rink at Pier 8; iconic family favourite Theodore Tugboat, and Parks Canada’s floating museum HMCS Haida.
Nearby, Bayfront Park provides 40 acres of rolling greenspace – surrounded by pretty lake views – perfect for summer picnics and strolling.
6. Hamilton Beachfront
In the summertime, living is easy at Hamilton’s Beachfront. This east-end waterfront is the perfect destination for the young and the young at heart.
Slip and slide your way down epic water slides at Wild Waterworks. Enjoy mini-golf, laser tag and batting cages at Adventure Village and go-karting at nearby Lakeland Kartway. Waterfront trails, boardwalks, and beachside patios round out this perfect summer destination.
7. Farmland and Agritourism
Did you know Hamilton is almost 80 per cent rural? That means hands-on farms, stunning cideries and wineries, pick-you-own fields, and pretty, rolling farmland are all close by.
You can also get back to the land with a behind-the-scenes peek at the inner workings of local farms with a full-day Farmcrawl Hamilton tour.
8. Beach Day
Take a road trip to sand and surf with our guide to the city’s best beaches. We’re home to a variety of great swimming with sandy beaches along the shores of Lake Ontario and throughout our conservation areas.
Grab a post-swim bite at some of our top beachside restaurants like Hutch’s on the Beach, Barangas and Limani at Fifty.
9. Hamilton Conservation Authority
It’s easy to get your nature on in Hamilton with our 11 distinct conservation areas, each with its own landscape. Find hiking, picnicking, fishing, camping, waterfalls, and year-round events here.
Explore more with an HCA Membership Pass!
10. Treetop Trekking
Find out why this outdoor adventure park in Binbrook Conservation Area keeps being voted Ontario’s attraction of the year. Soar, zip and trek through a forest canopy along suspended bridges and zip lines. Mini-adventurers can stay closer to the ground on kid-friendly courses.