If outdoor experiences and awesome encounters with nature top your bucket list, look no further than a trip to Hamilton Halton Brant. Three of our country’s best known natural landscapes — the Niagara Escarpment, the Bruce Trail and the Grand River — are located here, and provide the perfect backdrop for a spring adventure.
THE GRAND RIVER
Glide gentle currents by canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or river raft; or paddle whitewater rapids for an unforgettable adventure
Choose your own adventure on this designated Canadian Heritage River by canoe, kayak, raft, stand-up paddleboard and more. The area’s outfitting companies, Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company and Grand River Rafting Company, will help you plan a river adventure with expert advice, equipment and trip guidance. The more adventurous will be interested in the “spring run” on the Nith River. As water levels rise, the Nith is alive with class 1 & 2 rapids and offers some of the best paddling of the year (trips are available late March to mid May while water conditions last).
Hike the banks of a Heritage River
This storied river offers the perfect backdrop for your next meander. Take in some truly scenic river vistas along the 14-kilometre SC Johnson Trail, which runs between Paris and Brantford, or head to the bankside trails of Brant Park, where you can spot Grand River wildlife.
PUT A SPRING IN YOUR STEP ON THE BRUCE TRAIL
Hike Canada’s oldest and longest footpath
The Bruce Trail is the perfect place to set off on your own for a truly world-class Canadian adventure, and spring is the perfect time to slow to a saunter and enjoy nature’s renewal. The Bruce Trail Conservancy helps guide hikers in the right direction with numerous self-guided options. Two top picks are The Great Falls Loop, a 3.5-km route with stunning views over Burlington and stops at Great Falls, and the Felker’s to Albion Falls Route, a 10.3-km route showcasing four beautiful waterfalls just steps away from urban Hamilton. A true bucket list goal is an “End-to-End”, the completion of the entire main Bruce Trail on foot from Niagara to Tobermory. Start by keeping a hiking log of your Hamilton Halton Brant Bruce Trail journeys if you aspire to be officially recognized with an End-to-Ender badge.
Take a trip to the Waterfall Capital of the World
Hamilton and its environs are home to over 100 waterfalls, and hikers have endless options for single and multi-day hikes that put these stunners front and centre. You can explore these natural works of art via six self-guided waterfall trip itineraries.
CELEBRATE THE RETURN OF GREEN ON THE NIAGARA ESCARPMENT
Hike a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve
Explore the Niagara Escarpment’s fossil-filled ridge on foot and you’ll discover quiet, Carolinian forest-covered trails. The Spencer Adventure is a one-day self-guided hike that follows Spencer Creek and showcases waterfalls, historic dams and mills as well as scenic Escarpment views and vistas. Hike in the Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area and you’ll discover one of the most amazing sights of the Niagara Escarpment – a “punchbowl” created at the end of the last ice age by huge streams that plunged over the Stoney Creek Escarpment. Head to the lookout at the top for a spectacular view of Stoney Creek and Hamilton Harbour and then look down into the deep gorge.
Take in some of nature’s most breathtaking views
Mount Nemo Conservation Area, nestled between Milton and Burlington, offers two hiking trails that offer absolutely stunning views of the countryside and the rugged landscape of the Escarpment. From the Brock Harris Lookout, you can see Toronto’s skyline and the CN Tower on a clear day or watch the turkey vultures float on the thermals while you take in the panoramic views. Enjoy the first picnic of the season at Kelso Conservation Area, a park that offers spectacular countryside views. You will feel a million miles from home, and you’ll find countless lookouts along its trails.
Explore 450 million-year old natural features
You can check out craggy Escarpment cliffs and cool rock formations along the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail, a 4.6-km path that runs between Crawford Lake Conservation Area and Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. The Eramosa Karst Conservation Area in Stoney Creek has seven kilometres of trails that showcase incredibly unique rock formations including caves, sink holes, a natural rock amphitheatre and an old quarry.
Get in on world-class climbing and biking action
A number of outfitters provide rock climbing and rappelling lessons along the limestone cliffs of Halton’s Rattlesnake Point, and if you are experienced enough to venture out to climb on your own, Mount Nemo features bolted sport lines. If you like your action on two wheels, Kelso Conservation Area has 22 kilometres of the region’s best mountain bike trails.