Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spring Creek Trail, Dundas Valley

 Spring Creek Trail in Dundas Valley connects Warren Park at the eastern end of the trail with the Dundas Trail Centre at the western end. Along the way, a footpath through a gorgeous valley, with plenty of hills, open fields, gloomy hemlock groves, and the lovely spring creek stitching it all together.
The low lying valley has a trail that parallels Spring Creek as the creek meanders toward Cootes Paradise. Beyond Warren Park the creek flows into the larger Spencer Creek before reaching Cootes Paradise, AKA the Dundas Marsh. Several low foot bridges help keep travellers feet dry while following the creek.
The Spring Creek Trail also roughly parallels the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, so it can serve as an alternate route, providing a cool sheltered walk when the rail trail is too hot. Going west to east will get you more downhill action on your bicycle, but please be aware of people walking on the trails as you descend, or corner.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The trail formerly known as Ski Loop 1

There's a fine little loop trail, formerly known as Ski Loop #1 in the Dundas Valley, now labelled as Deer Run Trail. The path encompasses many of the joys of the valley, with steep ravines, lovely forest cover, and well defined trails. Of course, the aptly named Deer Run provided live specimens of the deer-y kind (below).

If longer hikes aren't on your agenda, or you have little ones who want a taste of the forest without an epic hours-long adventure, this is a great introduction. For little children, in fact, this would be epic, with lots of up and down hills, curving pathways lined with tree stumps and branches (pictured below) to help them keep on the trail, and if a quiet interlude can be maintained, there are bird songs and possible animal sightings to seal the deal.

This trail is very close to the Dundas Valley Trail Centre. To get there from the trail centre, walk across the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail at the Main Loop Trail, and take the first right, directly at the top of the hill. Do the full loop and reward little ones (and adults too) upon completion with affordable treats (chips, granola bars, etc.)  food (hotdogs) or beverages (pop, juice, energy drinks, fair trade coffee) at the Trail Centre during their regular hours.

I suspect too that this trail is not as busy with mountain bikes, which always are a worry to parents with little ones on some of the longer through trails.

More Binkley Bridge Building

The Binkley Bridge at the eastern end of the Dundas section of the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail is looking good, and it can't be too much longer until the barricades are removed to allow trail users back on. As you can see, the railings have been added since last time we were out there (previous blog entry) and the entire structure has a handsome appearance from the side views as well as the on-bridge view.

I haven't bothered to call the HCA about a firm date for re-opening, but I can't imagine it taking more than another week. I'm looking forward to crossing the bridge on my bicycle again, though I may occasionally take the detour path if the bridge looks too busy with pedestrians...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Binkley Bridge Bit by Bit

Binkley Bridge August 18, 2012, photo by r.k.
It looks like the replacement bridge at Binkley Hollow on the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail is getting close to completion. Originally to be completed by June 2012, a year after a wooden support beam cracked, the project was delayed when the steel supports came in too long and had to be resized. So it looks like late August for the bridge to be done and ready for pedestrian and cycling traffic.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Plan a Hike

Trail Centre, Dundas Valley Conservation Area

GeoTrails continue to amaze with their online mapping tools. We've talked them up here before more than once, but the layers of mapping have steadily encompassed more of the kind of things hikers, cyclists and nature lovers will appreciate.

Looking for a great hike to one of Hamilton's 100 plus waterfalls? Start right here and then keep going to see detailed trail routes, trail head images, and plenty more.

I'm not sure if the trails mapped have been specifically contracted to the GeoTrails team to create, since I notice that the Spencer Creek Trail in Dundas is not marked, and likely others as well. Still, even with the gaps, an amazing local resource, and the mapping extends well beyond our municipal borders and across the country for those looking for adventures further afield.