Autumn is my favourite season. Deciduous trees bringing in colours of yellow, orange, and red, and the lightly cool breeze mixed with the mild warmth of the sun. It’ just perfect. As soon as October hits, my morning ritual consists of checking the Parks Canada Fall Colours Report — https://www.ontarioparks.com/fallcolour Gotta make sure I don’t miss autumn at it’s peak!
I’ve decided to start off the fall hike season with Rattlesnake Point during Thanksgiving long weekend. Most trails at the Greater Toronto Area at this time are showing as having 50% of the colours changed and 20% of the leaves fallen. Situated on top of the Milton escarpment, the conservation area is easily accessible from Toronto — only less than an hour of driving! If you are looking for a quick escape from the city without having to drive 3+ hours to Algonquin, this place is a great choice. Unfortunately, with my upcoming trip to Alberta next week (which I’m super excited about), I won’t be able to catch the fall colours North of Toronto in the Muskoka region. But Rattlesnake did hit the spot.
Here is an info guide (which includes a map) of Rattlesnakepoint for your reference:
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area is part of the Niagara Escarpment. It features about 13 km of hiking trails which connects to the great Bruce Trail as well as its sister park, Crawford Lake Conservation area. It’s one of the go-to parks in the fall. Not only is the Milton escarpment a beauty to see, but downtown Milton is also a great spot for food and afternoon strolls. Moreover, Rattlesnake point is a popular destination for rock climbing with over 235 routes in the area. I’ve included some photos below for outdoor climbing last year at Rattlesnake.
We parked at the upper area and started our hike with the Nassagaweya Canyon Lookout. The view was beautiful. We wanted to take it easy and do a hike with some scrambling and of no more than 5 km so decided to go with the Buffalo Crag trail. However after seeing the first scenic lookout, we just couldn’t abandon the view closer to the edge. We decided to hike along the Bruce Trail instead to get to the Buffalo Crag lookout. Since the Bruce Trail is closer to the edge, the scenic views made the hike more awe-inspiring. The path is also slightly more jagged in the Bruce Trail, with more rocks and tree roots adding a bit of an exciting challenge.
Less than a kilometre from the first lookout, we came across a series of crevices and caves along the path. They were about 10-12 ft. deep and so we decided to explore! It was fun getting down to the bottom of the crevice. Just watch your footing and make sure you get a good hand grip and you should be fine 🙂 As I descended further down the crevices, it got a bit cooler as expected. There were also openings to small caves which were pretty awesome l to see and pop your head (or half body in) hoping that nothing pops back out.
We continued on with our hike and came across a couple more marvellous lookouts. It was also a good place to stop by for a quick drink, snacks, and bird watching! The Buffalo Crag lookout was also beautiful, but plenty of people.
The loop back to the parking lot takes you a bit further into the woods. I was surprised as to how green the trees were just less than 400 m from the edge. We need to bring some fall down to this area! However as we kept going, the trees began to display a lot more fall colours. The rest of the way back taking the Buffalo Crag Trail was relatively flat and an easy stroll with no major ragged areas. We verged off the path for a bit and hiked the lower level and later emerged on a steep inclined climb back to the main trail.
It was great day overall. A good hike to rekindle with the autumn ambiance. Looking forward to my hike next week in Alberta! Though I doubt there will be any more fall colours to see as they had a snow storm recently and mainly coniferous trees grow in the mountain area. Nonetheless it will be great hiking on snow covered and some icy grounds overlooking the mountains and turquoise waters. Can’t wait!!!