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Hike Info

N43.108157  W079.287102

14 km

4h -flexihike



Shorthills Provincial Park contains numerous undulating hills with some steep climbs and descents. Many great lookout spots and varied s cenery. Some creeks may be washed out in wet weather and require careful stream crossing. One of the main features is Swayze Falls.

Free parking in all lots

Basic concrete block washroom at parking lot. Some picnic tables and benches through the park (see Trail Map for locations.)

See trail map locations 007, 011 and 012 (Swayze Falls)

First hiked 03 Aug 2008

Not wheelchair accessible

Bruce trail rerouted from landowner property.
UPDATE 2012: New Trail Map  Update Aug 2018: New trail map and Bruce Trail relocation

Hog’s Back Rd (from 001 to 010) divides this hike in half so you can use that to do either half of the hike. You can also leave out the Very Berry Trail which is now the main Bruce Trail to shorten the distance.

Swayze falls; rolling landscape; viewpoints over the valley


The Site

Shorthills Provincial Park -Trails 1, 2, 7

Short Hills Provincial Park contains an extensive trail system for visitors to enjoy at any time of the year. The trails are classified by the use that is permitted on them. Three of the trails (Terrace Creek, Scarlet Tanager, and Hemlock Valley) are classified as Hikers Only, and are indicated by blue markings. Three other trails (Swayze Falls, Very Berry, and Black Walnut) are classified as shared use and are marked in yellow. The activities that are permitted on these trails include biking, hiking, and horseback riding. The remaining trail is the Palaeozoic Path which has been developed with the beginner hiker in mind. The Palaeozoic Path has a hard surface which is covered in gravel to give people with disabilities the opportunity to experience the park.

Beautiful fall meadows

These three Shorthills trails are shared use trails for hikers, bicylists and horseback riders. Be alert to the dangers of meeting horses or bikers along the trail.The vegetation on the Swayze Falls Trail (#1) includes Sugar Maple, Black Maple on the lower slopes and Black Walnut in the bottom lands. The Black Walnut Trail (#2) winds around Twelve Mile Creek. Wildflowers such as Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common Milkweed, Tiger Lily and Spotted Knapweed can be found. The Very Berry Trail (#7) features an abundance of wildflowers, birds and small mammals. Natural vegetation here includes a mix of Basswood, Beech, Maple, Oak and Ironwood in the uplands areas and large Bitternut Hickory and Black Walnut trees in the valley. The main feature of the trail is Twelve Mile Creek, Niagara’s only cold-water creek, historically noted for its quality trout fishing. This is a fascinating hike but some creek crossing may be necessary in wet weather.

commentMy hiking buddy, John, who accompanies me on many hikes helping to record data taken along the trail, has often declared that the Shorthills Hikes are his favourites, bar none. He likes the great mix of experiences from meeting horseriders on the trail to the beauty of the rolling hills and the colourful open meadows between woodland areas along with the restful scenic location of Swayze Falls where we shared some of his homemade apple crumble. Just as delicious as the surroundings.

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Comments (1)
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We did this hike in February 2014, and it was great! We didn't encounter too much wildlife, but saw a group of deer three or four times (maybe the same deer each time?). It was cold, snowy, and icy, but well worth the effort—especially since the...
We did this hike in February 2014, and it was great! We didn't encounter too much wildlife, but saw a group of deer three or four times (maybe the same deer each time?). It was cold, snowy, and icy, but well worth the effort—especially since the several waterfalls along the route were frozen and quite beautiful.

A few notes:

1. The trail was quite icy. It was manageable, but would have been better with Yaktrax or grippy winter boots. (My fault for wearing hiking boots!)

2. It's well worth taking the Bruce Trail to waypoint 7, on the north side of the ravine, because the waterfall is stunning. (Picture below.)

3. The uphill trail between waypoints 10 and 11 was snowed over and impossible to find, but not to worry. We just trudged up the hill, which is quite steep, and rejoined the well-travelled trail at the top.

4. We had trouble finding waypoint 14 at first, but it's just almost in sight of the road. So if you haven't crossed the road, you haven't missed it.

5. The trail guide says the last leg, on private land, might be closed, but as far as we could tell it was open. It does pass right beside a vineyard, and there is no dividing fence.
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