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Hike Info

N43.29073  W79.93695

14 km

4 h


283 m

Some small hills and a staircase to descend.

Parking fee at Borer's CA ($1 /h -cash only, no change)

At the RBG Nature Centre

In Royal Botannical Gardens grounds.

>22 Oct 2007, 07 Jun 2008, 31 Aug 2008

Not wheelchair accessible


The Bull's Point Trail and the Marsh Walk Trail could be eliminated.

Marsh Walk Trail

Cross-country skiing is prohibited.


The Site

Royal Botannical Garden North Shore

The Royal Botanical Garden (RBG) hike is a must-see for those who enjoy gardens. Spread across 2700 acres, this is Canada’s largest botanical garden. The collection of plants includes five specialist gardens and four nature sanctuaries. Most notable of the nature sanctuary is Cootes Paradise, a wildlife sanctuary containing  618 acres of coastal wetland located at the west end of Hamilton Harbor.

The marsh walk in the fall

Initial sections of the RBG were built during the Great Depression in the 1930s as a make work project, under the impetus of Thomas McQuesten. It beautified derelict or undeveloped land in west Hamilton and east Burlington. For instance, a disused gravel pit was turned into the Rock Gardens, by using stone relocated from the Niagara Escarpment. The original vision of the RBG was a mixture of horticultural displays and protected natural forests and wetlands. Formal permission was obtained in 1930 from King George V to call the gardens "Royal Botanical Gardens".

The first Director of RBG, Dr. Norman Radforth, was appointed in 1947 and was a Professor of Botany at nearby McMaster University. In the early 1950s, Dr. Leslie Laking was appointed as Director and served until the early 1980s. Under his guidance the institution developed into the major entity it is today.

The trail surfaces at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) are mostly packed earth, with some areas of mulch, crushed stone, asphalt and boardwalk, and some sections are hilly.  The RBG recommends staying off earthen trails during the spring thaw, and after heavy rains.  In addition, ice build-up in winter can make hills slippery, so please use caution.

commentThis is an interesting hike from Borer’s Falls down to the Bruce Trail headquarters at Raspberry House and into the Royal Botannical Gardens. We follow Captain Cootes Trail along the waterfront past some tower lookouts to the Marsh Walk and then back along Bull’s Point trail to Borer’s Falls. These trails are all easy to follow and are well groomed. Some display signs along the way help to explain various features of the RBG. It's also interesting to watch the chipmunks feeding in one of the feed stations along the water edge.

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