Friday, September 4, 2009

Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Ontario's Niagara Escarpment

Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area is part of the Niagara Escarpment and only a few kilometers by road from Crawford Lake Conservation Area, they’re both protected and managed by Conservation Halton. There are hiking trails connecting them for those that enjoy long treks, this one is 7.2km and not a loop, that is only one way. They recommend 4 or 5 hrs for a return trip.

pathway thru the trees
The nice wide path we took from the parking lot was through a nice wooded area that took us over to the lookouts so I can’t say what the other paths are like but if they’re anything like these ones, they would be a nice hike if one had a hiking interest. I can only imagine the pretty landscape there would be to enjoy.

A beautiful view from the Nelson viewpoint

There are three viewpoints from which to see the valley and get some great pictures of the world below. We could see Burlington and Oakville and Lake Ontario on a clear day. We could also see Mississauga from there, it is fairly flat valley and the tall buildings can be seen off in the distance.

Rock wall snakes around the outer edge

The viewpoints are marked by the rock wall that lines the outside edge of Rattlesnake Point. They look like they were constructed many years ago and are so much nicer than looking at a chain link fence. The Pinnacle lookout, which is situated between the Nelson and Trafalgar viewpoints has stairs that will take you to the base of the cliffs.

Limestone cliffs great for rock climbing

The vertical rock face makes Rattlesnake Point a popular area for rock climbing. It has more than 40 climbs with varying degrees of difficulty. We saw some men over the wall and preparing to do some rockclimbing but this was not something I wanted to watch. I couldn’t help myself, had to tell them to be careful ! They’re required to get a permit before climbing and they sounded like they knew what they were doing.

Overhang seen from bottom of stairs

The Ontario Niagara Escarpment shows rocks that were formed over 400 million years ago. This amazing limestone sculpture was created by glacial meltwaters eroding over the years. Rattlesnake Point was separated from the escarpment with the erosion. It does make you wonder how much longer some of these limestone forms will remain when they overhang this way.

Mt. Nemo in the distance

We could see Mt. Nemo to the south from the Nelson viewpoint. The area between Mt. Nemo and Rattlesnake Point is the entrance to Lowville Valley. The Niagara Escarpment winds 725 km from Queenston, Ont near Niagara Falls to islands off Tobermory, off the trip of the Bruce Trail.

Trees will look like a sea of color in the Fall

The area directly below Nelson viewpoint was filled with trees and I can’t help but wish we were a few weeks later when these trees would all be autumn colors, it would look incredible.

Rattlesnake Point

They have discovered an ancient eastern white cedar forest with several trees over 400 years old along the cliff face and brow of Rattlesnake Point.

This view of Rattlesnake Point from the road below doesn’t really give any hints about what is behind the trees and rock bluffs but it is well worth the trip there to see all that the area has to offer. There are several campsites with amenities plus picnic areas and has much to be enjoyed by young and old alike.

There are more than 100 parks in the Niagara Escarpment that protect all that is in their area. Most parks are linked by the Bruce Trail, which is Ontario’s longest footpath.


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