Hiking Niagara Escarpment, Rattlesnake Point To Crawford Lake

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Hiking Niagara Escarpment? Who’s up for some exercise? I am dying to experience more of the Niagara Escarpment for myself. I’ve already witnessed a few awesome Waterfalls near Dundas, and today I’m gonna stretch my legs  on a 5+ km hike along the Escarpment from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake. I’ve got my shoes on, done a good stretch and packed a bottle of water so I’ll stay hydrated. It is time to burn some calories and experience the Niagara Escarpment.

Selfie at Rattlesnake Point lookout

Both Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake are part of the Conservation Halton region near Burlington. It is just a 15-minute drive from Hamilton, so it is accessible no matter where you are staying in the region. Driving into the park sets the stage for the adventure ahead.

I’ve set my sights on the hike from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake, but before I start that hike I take a quick detour to a short trail that takes me to the cliffs where it is popular with rock climbers. I know it is safe but I will leave that mountain to climb for someone else.

Stairs down to cliff face at Rattlesnake Point

Niagrara Escarpment cliff face perfect for rock climbing

The Niagrara Escarpment cliff face

Ok, back on the trail to Crawford Lake. I start by taking the Buffalo Craig Trail loop which is also the beginning of the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail. Marked by orange trail markers, this is the path I want to follow.

BUffalo Craig Trail in Rattlesnake Point Park

Follow the trail markers

The trick is to go in the direction the arrow is pointing.

The trail is fairly easy to follow at the start. Flat and well laid out I don’t even break a sweat.

Hiking Trail in Rattlesnake Point

Hiking trail along the Niagara Escarpment

There are lookout points along the way and from here you can look down and see the plains below. There is a whole lot of farmland stretched out in front of the Escarpment. If you are lucky and it’s a warm day a Turkey Vulture may just fly right by you. They call the cliffs home and can fly very close, so close that I almost was able to snap a picture of one. Close, but also very fast. I would have needed to set up a tripod and waited for the perfect shot. No regrets though as it was very cool to see a few fly past me. Back to the hike.

Peaking over the cliff at the Niagara Escarpment

I’ve reached the end of the Rattlesnake Point conservation area and am now entering the Crawford Lake boundaries. This part is a bit more interesting as now I begin to hike down and back up through a canyon. At the lowest point, a creek will have to be crossed. Thankfully there is a man made trail so I don’t get soggy wet.

Crossing over from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lakes

Path over a creek in Crawfor Lake Conservation area

Remember I said to follow the orange arrows? Well, I got a little distracted and took a wrong turn. Not to worry though I figured it out quickly and headed back in the right direction towards the Crawford Lake Visitor Centre.

Crawford Lakes Visitor Centre

The prize at the end of this hike? A visit to the reconstructed Iroquois Village that is right here. An archeological dig confirmed that this spot was once home to an Iroquois village dating back over 500 years. Today they have done their best to reconstruct what it would have looked like at its most populous.

Iroquois Village Long House

Iroquois Village smoking racks

During excavations from 1973 to 1987, 11 longhouses were uncovered along with various artifacts from day-to-day lives of the pre-contact First Nations groups. The reconstructed Long Houses are open to the public and at 2:15 each day a Long House tour is conducted by park staff.

Inside an Iroquois Long House

Inside the Iroquois Long House

In the main Long House, a Gallery has been set up to display some of the recovered artifacts and display information about the First Nations people that called this place home over 500 years ago.

Iroquois gallery and interpretive centre

Artifacts found at Crawford lake on display at the Iroguois Village

It’s a very cool experience and well worth a visit.

It’s time to return back to Rattlesnake Point and continue on with another adventure. Back the way I came…

I hope you get to experience this hike yourself. There are other trail options and lots more to see including Crawford Lake. If you get lost don’t worry, cell reception is pretty decent inside the park. Just make sure you know the phone number to the Visitor Centre before you begin your hike. Oh and always pack water with you so you can stay hydrated. It’ll get hot and sticky on the trails during the Summer months.



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Disclosure: General

Transportation was provided by Chevrolet Canada to help support this travel series in Southern Ontario. The views and opinions in this post are 100% my own.

About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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