Discovering The Hendrie Valley
Located on Plains Road, this thriving wetlands ecosystem is part of the Royal Botanical Gardens parklands. Free to explore, the beautiful sunny wooded trails circulate through marshes, on boardwalks and across small bridges. You’ll see chipmunks, geese, turtles and tons of birds – bring feed if you want to see them
eat out of your hand. You’ll also see just as many photographers and birders! It takes about 60-90 minutes to leisurely explore. Paid parking is in the lot across from the RBG entrance. Once there, look for the large trailhead sign that says “Cherry Hill Gate”
An area that a friend has taken me two times now and, each time we discover different trails to explore. is the Hendrie Valley Trails of the Royal Botanical Gardens.The Trails are rich with diversity,plenty of wildlife, and a pleasant quiet ,short hike.
A smaller scale version of Cootes Paradise, this area which includes the 100 hectare Grindstone Creek Valley stretches to the end of Carroll’s Bay and contains the finest collection of floodplain wetlands on western Lake Ontario. Transferred to the Royal Botanical Gardens in 1941 for ecological protection, the area features slopes forested with old growth trees, a 60 hectare river mouth marsh complex, and 4 creeks. Major access points are along Plains Road and include the RBG Centre and Cherry Hill Gate.
This is a great spot to see birds and assorted waterfowl. You will see in this area that a large project is underway to create new banks along the water’s edge and also provide a system that works as a natural barrier against invasive carp. This has been facilitated through the re-use of over 100,000 discarded Christmas trees.And other equally intelligent moves to keep the marsh as pristine as possible.
Following the trail through the Grindstone Creek Delta, you soon arrive at a spectacular boardwalk that borders Grindstone Creek providing an excellent vantage point to watch nesting birds and observe beavers and other wildlife. This is a great place to bird watch and if you bring some seed along you can have some fun feeding the friendly birds by hand.