Dundas Conservation Area

Day hike along twisty trails

Trail / Hike

Beginner-friendly

Full day

Dundas Valley Conservation Area is a 6000-acre natural treasure just outside of Hamilton. This area is home to part of the famed Bruce Trail and the Rail Trail – an accessible multi-use trail that welcomes everyone from cyclists to horses. Lace up your shoes and don’t forget a bathing suit – we’ve got some post-hike ideas planned.

Dundas Conservation Area

Dundas Valley Conservation Area, Hamilton, ON, Canada

Get Directions

Prepare for your hike

Explore the trails and hills of Dundas Valley

All the twisty trails

With the Main Loop at Dundas clocking 3.4km, it’s a reasonable hike for beginners who want to get a sense of the area’s beautiful forest cover. If you prefer a longer hike, the Headwaters Trail is a 10.5km winding loop worthy of an entire afternoon. Looking for something more? Part of the Bruce Trail cuts through the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, so follow those landmark white signs as far as you’d like. Allow time for the hike back or arrange to leave a car at your end point.

Before you set out, prep your pack with the hiking essentials, and brush up on 7 ways to be a responsible hiker.

Multi-use trails to tackle

Part of the Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail runs through Dundas Conservation Area. This multi-use trail runs over 80km and invites all methods of travel, from horseback to biking to conventional hiking. It’s less rugged, wheelchair accessible and a great place to take your leashed four-legged friend on an afternoon hiking adventure (though be wary if they get spooked by horses).

Lay of the land

At Dundas Valley Conservation Area,  you’ll be able to see a lot of different types of terrain, rare and at risk plants and maybe even wildlife, as well as some neat geological formations. If you’re hiking on the Main Loop, keep an eye out for water features like the Hermitage Cascade waterfall.

Pack a picnic

If you’re hiking Main Loop or the Headwaters Trail, take a break at the Hermitage Ruins. The remnants of this stone estate are a popular photo op and an interesting place to grab a bite or orient yourself before you head out.

Cool off

If you’ve worked up a sweat on the trails, consider a visit to Christie Lake Beach, just 15 minutes north by car or a 10km bike ride. This 360m sandy beach is a good place to swim or soak up the sun – just make sure to check the beach status before heading out. It’s also a popular place for SUP and mountain biking if you’re ready to extend your stay.

Refueling station

For a post-hike bite only 10 minutes down the road, try local diner Jax Sweet Shoppe. From their crepes and shakes to their in-house baked goods, it’s a solid place to refuel after a long day on the trails. To put the cherry on top (of the sundae which you should probably order), Jax offers dairy-free and wheat-free options so there’s something for every hiker.

Essential gear

Find what you need to stay comfortable on your hike.

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