Written by: Karlee May, Digital Media Coordinator
Are you an adventurer? An explorer out to discover all that Halton Parks has to offer? Do you have an insatiable curiosity to witness rare plantlife and meet a creature?
The quiet end of Autumn and beginning of Winter is the perfect time to explore Halton Parks and hike from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake. The Nassagaweya Canyon Trail is a seven kilometre trail, approximately two and a half hours, which connects both parks in a beautiful walk that encompasses breathtaking views along the escarpment and ends with a 15th century Iroquoian village and rare meromictic lake. The trail crosses over the Nassagaweya Canyon and over Limestone Creek. The trail contains a diverse mix of natural features in the Ontario Greenbelt with limestone cliffs, crevice caves, rare plant life, and a visit to history. Begin at one end and peer out over the escarpment at the Nassagaweya lookout and then follow your feet to the boardwalk around the lake, and the recently opened Deer Clan Longhouse at Crawford.
Whether you grab a friend or venture out solo, you’ll be rewarded with a vigorous hike between parks and the sense of accomplishment from a trail conquered. The kilometres you collect apply to the Healthy Hikes Challenge! So hoist your best hiking boots on, and pack a picnic lunch, and traverse the Niagara Escarpment in Halton region. If you feel like extending your adventure, the Nassagaweya Canyon trail intersects with the Bruce Trail.
Remember your trail etiquette when walking along the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail. The Ontario Trails maintains an informative trail etiquette page on their website. Hike only on marked routes, do not take shortcuts, and respect the privacy of residents, fellow hikers, and flowers and plants are apt pointers to keep in mind. Leave only footprints; take only memories (and pictures!).
The Nassagaweya Canyon trail is a mix of hardpacked earth, gravel, rock, and boardwalk. While walking at Rattlesnake Point, mind the tree roots along the path. If you carefully walk along the cliff edge at Rattlesnake, you’ll see cedars that are at least a thousand years old. The cliffs themselves are formed from limestone. Once you reach Crawford Lake, you can walk on the boardwalk around the rare meromictic lake. It is because of ancient pollen discovered at the bottom of the lake that researchers determined that Iroquoian groups once lived in this area.
While you’re hiking along Rattlesnake Point, keep your eyes open for the Turkey Vultures floating on the thermals, gliding through the Nassagaweya Canyon. The ubiquitous Turkey Vultures are emblematic of Conservation Halton. They are a breath-taking sight to see as they soar overhead across the escarpment.
When you’ve arrived at Crawford Lake, you may catch sight of the Belted Kingfisher: a stocky, powder blue bird, with a shaggy crest. The Belted Kingfisher stays on the edges of Crawford Lake hunting for small fish!
Perfect Picnic Snacks
Lastly, you’ll want to pack snacks or even a picnic for your hike across the Nassagaweya Canyon. Make sure you have plenty of room for water bottles in your backpack. Pack compact fruit like oranges and apples (they aren’t crushed in a backpack like a banana is). Trail mix like dried cranberries and almonds, and oatmeal bars are good for keeping you strong and satiated on your hike. Experiment with nuts, seeds, grains, and fruit to make the perfect trail mix for you!