Hamilton is a city built both above and below the Niagara Escarpment. The city has wonderful Conservation Areas protecting the Escarpment and other natural areas, as well as a number of city parks and recreational areas. Here are the popular Hamilton Conservation Areas:
Beamer Memorial Conservation Area
Take Hwy 20 to Ridge Rd and go east 15km, 2km past Wolverton Rd, and turn left onto Quarry Rd for 100 metres
Near Grimsby, this Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority park is a designated HawkWatch site with majestic views from the escarpment ridge.
Binbrook Conservation Area
Directions from the QEW: exit at Highway 20 (Centennial Parkway) and travel south to Highway 56. Continue south through the village of Binbrook. Turn west onto Kirk Road and then south on Harrison Road to the park entrance. entrance.
This 1000 acres park surrounds 400 acre (174 hectare) Lake Niapenco reservoir, and includes a beautiful sandy beach, picnic pavilions, fishing piers, non motorized boat launch ramp, nature trails, BBQ areas, running water, washrooms, playground equipment, and parking. The 1971 Binbrook Dam and Reservoir created an artificial lake stretching 5.4 km (3.5 miles) in length. A Catch and Release Policyis in effect for all Pike, Bass and Pickerel caught Open Victoria Day to Labour Day weekends daily 8:00am to 8:00pm. Day-use admission Adults $3.25, Seniors/Students $ 2.25, Max per car $10.00.
905-525-2181 Toll-Free: 1-888-319-4722
Directions from Hwy 403: Take Hwy 6 North for 3 km, then turn left on Hwy 5 for 2 km, and left onto Rock Chapel Rd, and continue to the parking lot.
Borer's Falls is under the bridge on Rock Chapel Road. From parking lot, follow the trail back 500 meters to the lookout. This classical, 15-metre waterfall, also known as Rock Chapel Falls, powered the Rock Chapel village sawmill which was run by the Borer family for over 100 years. When deforestation altered the creek's flow so it could no longer provide sufficient energy, the family switched to steam to power the mill. Borer's Falls Conservation Area features informal trails and a wide variety of plants and animals, including large stands of lilacs.
Christie Conservation Area
1000 Highway 5 West, west of Highway 6
Christie's Lake has 365 metres of supervised sandy beach and is surrounded by towering pines. The southeast end of the lake is the Christie dam, protects the town of Dundas from flooding. The reservoir is popular with swimmers and non-power boats. There is fishing from nine stocked ponds. The park has pavilions, boat rentals, children's play equipment and picnic tables on acres of grassy parkland. In the winter, the 10 kilometres of trails are popular for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and there is skating on the frozen trout ponds. Warm up areas and washrooms are provided. There are several historically and environmentally significant landmarks nearby, including Crook's Hollow, Dundas Peak, Spencer Gorge and Webster's Falls. Hours: sunrise to sunset.
Confederation Park & Trails
585 Van Wagners Beach Road
Hamilton , Ontario
From the Q.E.W. Niagara, exit at Centennial Parkway (Highway 20) & head North (towards Lake Ontario) to Confederation Park
905-547-6141 Toll Free: 1-800-555-8775
This 83-hectare park on the shores of Lake Ontario has a 3.5-kilometre lakeshore promenade, part of the Hamilton Beach Trail for walk, bicycling or blading. Adventure Village ($) offers mini golf, batting cages, climbing wall, bumper cars and snack bar. Lakeland Go Karts ($) has a half kilometre asphalt course with one and two-seater karts. Experience Wild Waterworks ($) has Canada's largest outdoor wave pool, six-storey body slides and giant tube slides Dine at Baranga's on the Beach Restaurant or Hutch's Fish and Chips. Admission Rates
Crook's Hollow Conservation Area
From Highway 8, take Crook's Hollow Road as it twists and turns through the Hollow. The Conservation Area, with parking, is .06 km east of the ruins of the Darnley Mill.
United Empire Loyalists were granted land here and between 1813 and 1826, James Crooks established a sawmill, general store, barrel factory, blacksmith's shop, woolen mill, distillery and tannery here. Near the ruins of the Darnley Grist Mill, circa 1813, James Crooks produced the first writing paper made in Upper Canada. Today, you can discover other mill foundations and traces of dams, while the Hollow is a relaxing park of gentle green hills along Spencer Creek. Admission Rates
Devil's Punch Bowl
From the QEW: exit onto Centennial Parkway South to Green Mountain Road. Turn left and then left again at First Road East. Follow the signs
See the various layers of sedimentary rock (including Queenston Formation red shale, Cabot Head grey shale, limestone and shale dolomite) exposed by the waterfall. This waterfall area contains two separate falls, Upper and Lower. The Upper Falls is a 6 metre classical waterfall, and the main Lower Falls is a 37 metre ribbon waterfall. There is a spectacular view of Stoney Creek and Hamilton Harbour from the lookout, not to mention the view down into the seemingly bottomless gorge. Devil's Punch Bowl Trail is part of the Bruce Trail. At the Devil's Punch Bowl gorge there is a 2.2 km loop of the gorge.
Dundas Valley Conservation Area
Dundas Valley Visitor Centre
650 Governors Road Dundas, Ontario
905-627-1233 Toll-Free: 1-888-319-4722
You can walk, bike or ride along the well-groomed 40-kilometre trail system trhough this deep cut valley and 1,200 acre natural Carolinian forest. The Dundas Valley Trail Centre (open on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m) is a replica of a Victorian train station, and has a food concession, interpretive displays, brochures and maps detailing the Dundas Valley.
Explore the ruins of the Hermitage, which was the centre of a magnificent 100-hectare estate in 1855. The trail and the Hermitage are always open. The museum is open Victoria Day to Thanksgiving on Sundays and holidays from noon to 6 p.m.. The Griffin House, just west of the Hermitage, which was the home of former Virginia slave Enerals Griffin, who escaped to freedom in Canada in 1828-29, his wife Priscilla, their children and descendants. The home is being restored to the pre-1850 period as a site for interpreting Black-Canadian history. Admission Rates
905-627-1233 Toll-Free: 1-888-319-4722
Directions from QEW: Take Centennial Parkway (Hwy.20) south 7km to the top of the escarpment and turn right on Mud St., right on Paramount Dr. and right again onto Ackland St. The street curves to the Felker's Falls Conservation Area parking lot.
The waterfall is located across the field, behind the wooden fence. Felker's Falls is a 22 metre ribbon waterfall formerly owned by Joseph Benjamin Felker (1880-1956), who was born and lived all his life on the same property. Since the waterfall is located just off a subdivision, please show respect for private property. The Peter Street Trail is a wheelchair accessible loop trail which travels through the conservation area.
Fifty Point Conservation Area
1479 Baseline Road
Take 50 Rd Exit off QEW
Fifty Point is a magnificent 76-hectare park with superb marina facilities. Its 312-slip docking spaces welcome incoming boaters, including yachts. Fifty Point is particularly proud to have one of the warmest and cleanest beaches on western Lake Ontario, with change rooms at the nearby beach house. Fish for salmon from Lake Ontario or for rainbow trout and bass in the stocked pond. Great lakefront along the promenade. There are 47 fully serviced camping sites (sewer, hydro and water). Admission Rates
Giant's Rib Discovery Centre (planned)
A proposed environmental learning centre to inform, educate and entertain people about the Niagara Escarpment as a World Biosphere Reserve. This centre will be part of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area.
From Lincoln Alexander Expressway take Mohawk Road/Golf Links exit, heading north and takingfirst left over bridge on Old Mohawk Road.
This natural area on the Escarpment brow contains a mix of regionally important biological habitats. The conservation area features passive recreation, including trails and views of Lake Ontario and the Hamilton /Dundas areas.
Mount Albion Conservation Area
parking off Mud St west of Hwy 20
This 50 hectare park, located atop the Escarpment above Albion Falls, offers a view of the lake and city below. The park is is notable for the beautiful Albion and Buttermilk Falls. Nearby along the escarpment are also Felker's Falls and the Devil's Punch Bowl.
With hiking and cross country skiing, picnic tables and toboggan hills, this park attracts visitors year round.
Royal Botanical Gardens
680 Plains Road West (Hwy 2),
Burlington, ON L7T 4H4
These gardens have the world's largest lilac collection, 100,000 tulips, 250,000 iris blooms, 3,000 rose bushes, a 30-kilometre trail system through Cootes Paradise and a 2,000 acre forest, and four nature sanctuaries where you can spot over 250 species of breeding and migratory bird. The gardens began in the 1930's to transform an old gravel pit into a rock garden to rival England's Kew Gardens. Today, there are six unique gardens covering over 2,700 acres. The gardens also host a number of festivals over the year, and provide horticultural courses.
Spencer Gorge Wilderness Area/Webster's Falls Conservation Area
Take Hwy 5, West of Hwy 6, South on Brock Road, East on Harvest Road, with parking lots located off of Short Road and Fallsview Road
905-628-3060 Toll-Free: 1-888-319-4722
The significant natural area contains two beautiful waterfalls: Webster's is a magnificent tiered waterfall and 41 metre Tews is only a few metres shorter than Niagara Falls, and both offer spectacular views of the gorge. From the Fall's View Road parking lot a half-kilometre trail past an old cemetery and through the woods takes you to the rim of the gorge at Tews Falls. There's a trail to the Dundas Peak for stunning views of Dundas and Hamilton , as well as the Bruce Trail and a side-trail to historic Crook's Hollow Conservation Area. Open from sunrise to sundown. Admission Rates
Stoney Creek Battlefield Park
77 King Street, West near Centennial Parkway
Stoney Creek, ON
Located on the site of a War of 1812 battlefield, where a brief but pivotal battle was fought in the morning of June 6, 1813, which repelled invading American forces and turned the tide of the war. Afterwardsm the wounded from both sides were taken to the nearby home of the Gage family, which is now the carefully restored Battlefield House Museum. Open June 15 to Labour Day Tuesday to Sunday - 11:00AM to 4:00PM; Labour Day to June 14 Tuesday to Sunday - 1:00PM to 4:00PM; Closed Good Friday, Christmas, Boxing Day. Admission: Adults - $5.00,, Students - $4.00, Seniors - $4.00, Children - $3.00, 5 & Under - FREE, Family - $15.00.
Summit Muskeg Bog
Access from the Hamilton -to-Brantford Rail Trail, just east of Highway 52 at Copetown.
This intriguing site, managed by Hamilton Conservation Authority, is a depression left by the last Age, a glacial kettle hole, which has filled with vegetation to form a massive deposit of peat. This also provides researchers from McMaster and Brock Universities a historical record of local vegetation. Due to the fragility of this site public use is not encouraged.
Tiffany Falls Conservation Area
Parking off Hwy. 2 in Ancaster, half way up the Escarpment.
While not easy to get to Tiffany Falls, with a difficult trail for experienced hiker in sturdy hiking boots, visitors are rewarded with a sheer, shimmering cascade between pillars of limestone crashing onto huge blocks of stone littering the base of the falls in a steep-sided valley.
Valens Conservation Area
905-525-2183 Toll-Free: 1-888-319-4722
This 300-hectare recreational paradise with pine and spruce forest offers winter camping, fishing, hiking and swimming, There are 220 campsites, 61 sites with hydro and water and 10 sites for group camping. Facilities include modern washrooms, shower and laundry facilities, and playground equipment. The campground is open eleven months out of the year. Admission Rates
Vinemount Conservation Area
Ridge Rd at McNeilly, Stoney Creek
QEW to 50 Rd exit, head south to Ridge Rd on escarpment, then west for 2 km
The scenic lookout and nature trails at this small park, attract those looking for a quiet spot to enjoy the view from the Escarpment.