No matter the season, there are a lot of options when you’ve filled the water bottle, packed the bug spray and tightened the laces of your most comfortable hiking footwear.
The Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) is top of the list for hikers. It’s a world unto itself and the starting point of the Bruce Trail that traverses its expanse in Niagara. Sections can be easily accessed for a few hours of gentle hiking. If you want more conveniences at hand – washrooms, let’s say – several conservation areas on the Escarpment offer these facilities with the added bonus of a glimpse of history.
Home to the southernmost section of Ontario’s great Bruce Trail, Niagara provides several excellent options to slow your pace, calm the traffic in your head and reclaim this most common pastime while exploring Canada’s oldest and longest footpath.
Ball’s Falls Heritage Conservation Area, for example, makes for a great family outing with its blacksmith shop, pioneer cabin, church and gristmill to explore. Woodend Conservation Area has the remains of a United Empire Loyalist homestead and limestone kiln.
Short Hills Provincial Park is a favourite spot, and not just because it’s very close to Henry of Pelham winery (although dropping by after a hike is a great idea). There are lots of multi-use trails for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.
Put on the Wellies and head to the Wainfleet Bog, southern Ontario’s largest undisturbed peat bog. It’s a unique ecosystem where you’re sure to see some unusual specimens of plant and animal life.