Dundas Valley Escarpment Hike

A Dundas Valley escarpment hike is one of the many options to tackle this huge valley. I had left Toronto in a light drizzle so I was surprised when I arrived at the trailhead at Borer’s Falls to find 23 other hikers and that the rain had stopped.

There was another local group of about 20 walker’s just finishing as we purchased parking tickets from the meter and reviewed the large map outlining the area trails. We started walking a very short distance along what was signed the Escarpment Trail until we reached a lookout point.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority states “the area is part of a large glacial valley that spreads out into Lake Ontario. It was excavated by a succession of glaciers that disappeared some 10,000 years ago. The landscape that emerged has been shaped by glacial melt water and, more recently, by streams flowing through the valley. The valley’s 1,200 hectares of Carolinian forests, fields, cold-water streams and stunning geological formations are home to an array of rare plants, birds and wildlife. The rich natural environment existing here and along the Niagara Escarpment has been designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).”

This is also the part of the main Bruce Trail (map 8) so we continued follow the white blazes and because this hike was in November was could still see the Dundas Valley through the branches. We came to a short residential section.

Then we descended some steps and followed the rolling path into the valley. A slight climb brought us to Sydenham Road and we continued across the railway bridge which has a sidewalk.

Dundas Valley HikeCrossing the road we joined what is signed as the 3.1 km Tew’s Sidetrail (blue blazes) but which is listed as the Dundas Lookout Trail in the Bruce Trail Guide. A few switchbacks along an abandoned railway bed took us back up to the top of the escarpment. The walk continued along a flat but forested section under we reached the Lookout with another great vantage point over the valley and the Spencer Gorge to the west.

Now heading downhill beside the gorge we reached a series of 3 observation decks with the last two with excellent views of Tews Falls. I had been here two weeks earlier and there had only been a trickle of water but today a lot of water was gushing over these very high falls.

Borer's FallsWe returned via the same route to the parking lot but we were not finished yet. We followed the signs in the opposite direction for ¾ km to view the very high Borer’s Falls. It is not hard to see why Hamilton is called the city of waterfalls. Our total distance had been 13.7 km and we had seen the scenic Dundas Valley and a few very tall waterfalls for a great hike.

Another area walk is the Spencer Gorge Waterfalls Hike.

Getting to the trailhead:

From Toronto take the QEW and then Hwy 403. Head north on Hwy 6 and turn left on Hwy 5 (Tim Horton’s on NW corner) and go a short distance. Head south on Rock Chapel Road under reaching a curve in the road and the metered Rock Chapel parking lot is on your left.

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