Hiking Is The Perfect COVID Escape
I’m not sure about you, but I have a MAJOR travel bug.
I always have.
But this year, I think it’s gotten worse due to COVID. I even went so far as to put together my travel ideas for when we get the green light. The travel bans that we currently have in Ontario (and have had since March 2020) have put restrictions on where we can and cannot visit. Most of the restrictions have to do with travelling overseas, between provinces or down to the States. So, who says you can’t explore your own backyard? Minus the current lockdown that we’re in (which will hopefully be over soon), hiking is in the clear.
Hiking has been a great way for us to get outside and explore our own neighbourhood and trails nearby. Here are our top 3 hikes in Hamilton!
Top 3 Hikes In Hamilton (apart from Waterfalls)
This blog details the top 3 hikes in Hamilton that we did this spring, prior to Doug Ford’s latest lockdown. If you’re like me and like to have your day planned out, I made some suggestions for what we did before/after, plus included details like parking and cost.
There are a ton of hikes in the Hamilton area including lots of great waterfalls to check out. These are especially beautiful in the spring since the water is usually rushing from all the snow melting! These hikes however, are the hidden gems! When we went on these hikes (which was on the weekends), we only passed a few other people. The more popular trails are usually packed on the weekends. These hikes will give you some quieter options.
Coming in at #3...Sawmill Trail Loop
This hike was perfect for a sunny weekend afternoon. We took our spikes since the ground was still a little icy, and it was definitely worth it. There are a ton of trails you can take at this location (or do a combo of a few), but we usually opt for the “loop” hikes since there is always something new to see. Since this hike is in Dundas, we finished it off with lunch at the Old Bagel House. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the bagels are the BEST.
Dundas Valley Conservation Area
2.6km, about 45 minutes
Moderate hills, $10 cost, TONS of parking in the spring but overflow parking in the summer.
Number #2...Royal Botanical Gardens Loop Trail
We ended up doing this hike on a rainy spring day, but it’s all good! We set our expectations and came prepared in rain jackets and boots. The rain actually made the walk feel cozy, and we definitely earned the hot chocolate we made after! This hike starts on a clearly marked gravel trail, and veers off and up to a viewpoint of the lake. This hike would be beautiful in the fall with the colours of the leaves!
Royal Botanical Gardens (near McMaster)
5.3km, about 1.5 hours
Big hills and steps, free parking.
And the winner is...Bulls Point Loop
This was our favorite hike out of these 3 since it’s quiet and there is a ton of variety in the things you see. There was lots of wildlife on the trail (a swan, doe, a snake and several different types of birds). We were lucky enough that the swan swam right up to us and checked us out. The deer also hung around us for a bit as we watched.
This hike includes a lot of rest stops and view points which is a good reminder to slow down and really enjoy being in nature. We packed some sandwiches in advance and stopped at a view point to eat. It was so lovely with the sun shining down! Make sure you pack enough water, wear some comfy shoes and get out there!
North side of Royal Botanical Gardens
5km, about 1.5 hours
Moderate hills and steps, $10 cost, TONS of parking, lots of rest stops.
My Favorite Hiking Apps & Communities
I wanted to talk about my favorite hiking apps that helped me get my boot in the door (hah) when we started hiking. I had no idea where to go, what trails to do, or even where to find them.
You can view trails near you, save them into custom lists, read reviews, look at pictures, and track your hikes with this app. It’s a really great place to start to find places you can explore near you.
Don’t forget to check the weather before you go out so you can arrive prepared! Accuweather gives you a minute-to-minute, hyper-local forecast and any extreme weather alerts based on your GPS location. You can even customize your forecast to your preferred outdoor activity.
Members in this group post about hikes in Ontario which can give you some great inspiration. You can also comment back and forth with people here or even meet some other hikers in your area! Hiking can be a great socially distant activity (after lockdown).
Any apps I missed? Have you tried any of these hikes? Let me know by leaving a comment below.