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Hike Niagara

Hike Niagara

hiking niagara

Niagara has so much beauty to offer – even while we cannot go into shops, go wine tasting, or out to a nice restaurant. You may be familiar with Niagara vineyards and how the climate and soil produces unique, spectacular wines in the region. Well, that same climate and environment also produces some of the best hiking in Southern Ontario!

Myself, and White Oaks’ Group Reservation Coordinator Savanny, have explored the best spots in the region so you can make the most out of your local getaway. Now, the title of this blog is “Best Niagara Trails,” but, honestly, you cannot go wrong with any trail here in the region. Each park, path and hike is special. The Bruce Trail follows the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment creating countless opportunities for an adventure to explore. Now, I say hike – but sometimes all you need is a leisurely stroll in the trees to feel your best. Check the list below for locations, tips, and difficulty level for my local favourites – all within a 20 minute drive of White Oaks Resort!

Before leaving, make sure you check to ensure the trail is open, and you are following the COVID-19 restrictions on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority website  and Ontario Parks website. Always follow safety precautions, and know your personal limitations while out exploring our beautiful region!

Difficulty Guide

(We aren’t hiking the Rocky Mountains here, so this is how I determine the difficulty of each trail for a semi-active chick like me!):
Mild: Flat path with little obstruction or elevation varianceModerate: Paths with small obstructions including roots, rocks, and elevation
Advanced: Trails with larger obstructions and elevation variance

For any accessibility concerns, please click the link provided to check the park website.

 

short hills
Short Hills Provincial Park
St. Catharines

Distance from White Oaks: 12 km (15 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Short Hills is a hiking staple for those in the region. With countless different paths to take, you could go all summer and always take a different route. This adventure always takes us longer than anticipated, so plan ahead. You will stumble across waterfalls, streams, and beautiful trees you can see at any time of year. Luckily Google Maps recognizes the main trails in Short Hills, so that is helpful if you get a little lost on your adventures. Some trails are more challenging than others – but overall I would say this is a moderate hike.
Tip: Make sure to take note which parking lot you parked in (A or B)! One time we were following the arrows out to the parking lot – turns out it was the opposite end of the park. That made for a long walk back to the car!

 

decew
Decew Falls
St. Catharines

Distance from White Oaks: 11 km (15 minutes)
Difficulty Level: to Upper Falls – Advanced; to Lower Falls – Moderate; to Brock – Moderate

What a view! Starting at the Morningstar Mill, you can see the upper falls in full view from the start of your hike. To get to the bottom of the upper falls, it is a difficult hike but well worth the views along the way, if you’re up for it! But, for the moderate hikers, you can also venture along the river to the lower falls or to Brock University from this parking lot.
Tip: Follow the designated paths – do NOT try to climb the edges to take a shortcut from the falls back up to the parking lot. It is not safe for you, and puts first responders in danger if they need to come rescue you. Take into consideration that as far as you walk, the only way back is to turn around.

 

glen

Niagara Glen
Niagara Falls

Distance from White Oaks: 12 km (13 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Advanced
The Gorge is a spectacular location for an advanced hike. With multiple trails to take, it is the perfect spot to explore for magnificent views of the Niagara River. This is a steeper hike, with wooden and metal stairs, and thin trails. Be careful of the edges and do not swim in the river or whirlpool. Admire the blue waters of the Niagara River while getting lost in lush trees along the riverside – one of my most favourite hikes!

Tip: You do have to pay for parking with a credit card – so don’t forget it! Also, from being a very short distance to the United States, your Canadian cellphone may not work properly while on the trail.

 

parkway
Niagara Parkway Trail

Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Fort Erie
Distance from White Oaks: 11 km (10 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Mild
Take a walk along the parkway! The Niagara Parkway is a 55 km long stretch from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario along the Niagara River. Passing several Niagara attractions along the way, there are numerous free parking lots available to stop for a beautiful meander. Or for a shorter adventure, drive along the parkway between Queenston Heights and Old Town: stop to see miraculous views and discover awe-inspiring paths along the river. Sir Winston Churchill is quoted as saying the Niagara Parkway is the “prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world” therefore you know the walking paths live up to the hype.
Tip: My favourite lookout spot is Belvedere Elizabeth Queen (14340 Niagara Pkwy)… Trust me!

 

wood end

Woodend Conservation Area

Niagara-on-the-Lake
Distance from White Oaks: 1.5 km (3 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This is the closest hiking location to White Oaks Resort, and it is a great area to explore. Enriched with history and intriguing scenery, take a hike along the Laura Secord Trail to inspire and engage your senses. 
Tip: Research the history of this conservation area to get the full grasp of the importance of during the War of 1812.

 

canal

Welland Canal Trail

St. Catharines, Thorold, Welland, Port Colborne
Distance from White Oaks: 3 km (4 minutes) to closest part of the trail
Difficulty Level: Mild
With a smooth path along 45 kms of the Welland Canal, this trail is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. From March to December, chances are you will see one of the massive ships as they sail through the locks of this historic and major waterway. If you are curious about the history of the canal, be sure to check out the
St Catharines Museum during your visit.

Tip: Be aware of cyclists and rollerbladers, as this is a popular trail with the locals for daily exercise.

 

rockway

Rockway Conservation Area

St. Catharines
Distance from White Oaks: 15 km (18 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Advanced
This title lives up to the name! With large natural rock formations, Rockway offers views, streams, and waterfalls that capture the unique beauty of the region. Park at the Rockway Community Center and gaze upon the waterfall from the top, then work your way down along the mountain side and river.

Tip: Same with all of these hikes – wear good footwear! But for this hike especially, the ground is uneven near the stream, so be careful on the rocks.

 

rennie

Jaycee Gardens Park, Royal Henley Park, Rennie Park, Lakeside Beach

St. Catharines/Port Dalhousie
Distance from White Oaks: 12 km (13 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Mild
While walking along the bridge gives me North Carolina vibes, this area is the Niagara Region at one of it’s finest. For a peaceful stroll with glowing views, this is a spot you cannot miss.
Tip: I recommend parking at Jaycee Gardens Park for easy access and lots of free parking.

 

sunset

Sunset Beach

Port Weller
Distance from White Oaks: 13 km (16 minutes)
Difficulty Level: Mild
End your day in Niagara watching the sunset at Sunset Beach! There are light trails throughout Port Weller for you to explore, then plop a seat or stroll along the beach for the best sunset views in the region.
Tip: If you aren’t local to the region you may not be able to park at Sunset Beach, so I recommend to park at Charles Ansell Park and walk the Waterfront Trail to get to Sunset Beach.

 

Always bring water, a snack, and sunscreen – even for short walks! Sometimes you get lost in the trees without expecting it (it happens to the best of us!) – so come prepared.

Do you have a local favourite trail that I’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below and you may be featured in the next blog!


Alyssa is a detail-oriented, change-enthusiast who is always on the hunt for her next adventure. Planning conferences here at White Oaks gets her creative juices flowing - along with a little wine. Inspired by world travel and meeting new people, her meetings and events are sure to impress.

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