Dundas Valley Conservation Area
Dundas Valley Trail Centre
Hiking the Dundas Valley
By Mady MacDonald

Location: Dundas Valley Conservation Area, Dundas, Ontario

Getting there: Follow Highway 403 to Highway 2, go west for three kilometres to Highway 52. Go north on Highway 52 to Governors Road (Highway 399). Turn east onto Governors Road and drive for about 15 minutes until you see the sign to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area on your right (south) side.

The Falls
  Map: www.hamrca.on.ca/dundas_map.html

Contact information:
Dundas Valley Trail Centre
URL: www.hamrca.on.ca/dundas.html
Tel: 905-627-1233

Size: 2500 acres

Level: Easy to moderate

Hiking Duration: 3.5 kms to over 50 kms (with many variations in between); links up with the Bruce Trail in areas

Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, equestrian trails, cross-country skiing

Trails: Headwaters, Monarch, Lookout, Wilderness, Harvest, Bruce, Hermitage, Orchard, Homestead, Hilltop, Rail, Tom Beckett, Reforestation and Donald

Dropping down into a Carolinian forest on one of Ontario's hot, sticky days is a wonderful feeling. The harsh sunlight becomes dappled as it's filtered through the canopy and the close air becomes clear and cool.

The Trail Centre
  Underfoot the going turns from rocky outcroppings to soft, loamy soil. It's hard to believe a quick hour down the 403 brought me to such a beautiful and expansive trail system.

With the recent interest in outdoor activities, it is surprising to find Dundas Valley Conservation Area so quiet on a Saturday in July.

Sure, there are people horseback riding and now and again some mountain bikers whiz by, but throughout most of our 15 km hike we were on our own.

Whether you're an avid hiker feeling trapped by the city and wanting to stretch your legs or a day hiker looking for a pleasant stroll, you'll find the path you need in the Dundas Valley. Trails vary from challenging ridge walks (head out onto the Wilderness Trail branch off the Main Loop) or stay on the straightforward, rolling terrain of the 3.2 kilometer Main Loop for a light hike.

Trail Centre:

The trail centre is a Victorian reproduction of an old railway station. Alongside the station is a short section of railway track with an executive coach car that was built in 1929. The Canadian Pacific Railway donated this car to the Conservation Authority in 1978 along with the 1931 baggage car beside it.

Sulphur Springs:
Located near Sulphur Springs Road (on the opposite side) is the spring that fed the Sulphur Springs Hotel's mineral spa in the 1800's. The waters were considered to have curative properties and hence the Hotel was a popular summer destination. The Hotel closed in 1910 due to two fires.
Hermitage: Built in 1855 by a Scottish settler named George Gordon Browne Leith, this once magnificent stone mansion is now a ruins due to a fire. Look closely at the stones in the remaining structure. The red brick is from the Dundas Valley and the limestone sills were quarried in the nearby Credit River Valley.
The Hermitage
  Gatehouse Museum:
This museum, built around the same time as the Hermitage, once housed the gatekeeper and his family. Now it holds the history of the Hermitage and the family who lived there. Behind the museum the Ancaster Creek tumbles over the Gatehouse Cascade before winding its way through the valley.
The Old Oak: At the bottom of the apple orchard at the intersection of the Main Loop and Monarch Trails is a White Oak tree that is approximately 150 years old.
Flora and Fauna: Depending on which trails you choose, you can pass through thick, silent
pine forests, raspberry canes dripping with fruit, sun-dappled Carolinian groves, marshland bursting with the throaty songs of red-winged blackbirds, stoney ridges with lookout points or silvery birch forests. The trails are wide and on the Main Loop much of the path is gravel.

Other trails in the area
Tews Falls
Bruce Trail
Brantford Rail Trail

Article & photo's by Mady MacDonald (Mady's Bio)



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