Places to Visit
Amazing places to visit around Hamilton Harbour
There are so many amazing trails, shorelines, and parks you can visit to connect to nature and Hamilton Harbour. Below are just some of BARC’s favourite places to host educational programs, community events, and hikes. We invite you to get outside and explore our watershed!
Hidden Valley Trail, Grindstone Creek Watershed
This easy-to-hike and popular trail takes visitors along Grindstone Creek. The Grindstone Creek watershed flows from above the Niagara Escarpment down through rural and residential areas to Hamilton Harbour, and provides 14% of the natural water in Hamilton Harbour. In the fall, visitors to the Hidden Valley Trail may spot Chinook salmon making their way upstream to spawn.
The Grindstone Creek watershed is more than just a nice place to take a walk. A 2022 report estimated that the stormwater management services provided by the area’s natural features is equivalent to over $2 billion in engineered infrastructure replacements.
Spencer Creek Trail, Lower Spencer Creek Subwatershed
The Spencer Creek Trail in Dundas, Ontario follows along the shores of the creek before it joins Cootes Paradise Marsh.
Keep your eyes peeled if you drive to the Spencer Creek trailhead; local turtle species are known to cross Cootes Drive in search of nesting habitat in the spring and early summer. Turtle fencing along the roadway and artificial nesting beds have been added to the area to provide safe spots for Hamilton’s resident turtle species to lay their eggs.
BARC has contributed to marsh meadow restoration with Royal Botanical Gardens in the Spencer Creek subwatershed through our Marsh Volunteer Planting Program.
Princess Point, Cootes Paradise Marsh
Princess Point is on the south-west shore of Cootes Paradise Marsh. Owned and managed by Royal Botanical Gardens, this area is popular year-round as a recreational hotspot. In the summer, the public canoe dock is used to launch canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards into Cootes Paradise Marsh. And when winter freezes the surface of the marsh, skaters, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers venture onto the ice.
Near the public canoe launch is a rain garden that BARC constructed in 2014. Rain gardens are a great natural strategy to improve water quality and prevent flooding. A collection of native wetland plants slows the movement of stormwater and helps prevent contaminants from ending up in the marsh.
Bayfront Park, Hamilton Harbour
Bayfront Park illustrates how dramatically a landscape can change over time. Once an industrial landfill, the site was transformed into greenspace and re-opened as a park in 1993.
Paved trails, a public boat launch, and picnic tables are just some of the features that make this a popular spot for locals.
BARC frequently heads to Bayfront Park for its public programs. We often host our Community Water Leaders, an 8-week in-depth volunteer program for young water professionals, down at the Bayfront Park docks.
Albion Falls, Red Hill Creek Watershed
The natural landscape of our region has earned Hamilton the title of Waterfall Capital of the World. Thanks to the dramatic drop provided by the cliffs Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton is home to over 100 waterfalls.
The 19-metres tall Albion Falls sits within the Red Hill Creek watershed on the east side of Hamilton. Visitors can walk the Mountain Brow Side Trail to loop their way around the falls, taking in spectacular views of the waterfall, the escarpment, and the city below the brow.
Windermere Basin, Hamilton Harbour
In the summer of 2013, federal, provincial, and City of Hamilton officials celebrated the completion of the $20.6-million rehabilitation of Windermere Basin, a 25-hectare plot of reclaimed industrial land. The project provided natural wildlife areas and parklands for recreational use. The area is a birding hotspot.
Artificial islands were constructed in Windermere Basin to restore nesting sites for common terns and Caspian terns to support the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan. Both species are examples of colonial birds, birds that nest in groups and tend to return to the same nesting sites year after year.
Copps Pier Park, Hamilton Harbour
Copps Pier Park on Hamilton’s Pier 8 brings the community right up to the water’s edge. The park is connected to other important Hamilton landmarks like Bayfront Park and Princess Point by the Hamilton Waterfront Trail. The site plays host to movie nights and festivals in the summer months, and it’s an ideal spot to watch ships and sailboats in the Harbour.
From Copps Pier Park, it’s easy to see that Hamilton is a true port city. The Port of Hamilton is Ontario’s largest port and is the western marine gateway to the Greater Hamilton and Toronto Area. Ship enthusiasts can use the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority’s vessel tracker to see what ships are currently visiting the Harbour.