by Tyler Fish
The scenic Red Hill Valley was forever altered when the Red Hill Expressway was completed in 2007. Hamilton’s most contentious infrastructure project prior to the LRT, the construction of the $245 million expressway divided residents and city council and involved a lengthy lawsuit against the federal government. Despite the loss of much of the woodland, a trail which follows the Red Hill Creek remains. Beginning at the Niagara Escarpment, the Red Hill Valley Recreational Trail runs northeast through the valley until it intersects the Waterfront Trail near Van Wagners Beach Rd.
The trail is approximately 10.5 km long and includes a variety of surfaces and grades. Despite being adjacent to the parkway, the trail passes through several quiet forested areas, some of which feature vibrant cherry blossom trees. There is also an accessible 1.1 km section with a tar-and-chip surface which can be reached through the King’s Forest Golf Course. This walkable area is frequented by family hikers and dog walkers.
My typical path involves biking from the house to the trail entrance on Queenston Road. The trail north of Queenston towards the waterfront is unpaved, and features some moderately steep hills, but is not an especially challenging ride. After 30-40 minutes, riders will reach the highly visible red pedestrian bridge which crosses the QEW. From here it’s a short trip to the Waterfront Trail, which I would usually take to Hutch’s on the Beach for a moose tracks-filled waffle cone. Hutch’s has been a fixture on the beach strip for over 70 years, with it’s 1950’s dining experience and famous fish and chips drawing in visitors from across the city year-round. Other notable attractions in this area include the more upscale Greek restaurant, Baranga’s on the Beach, and the amusement park of Adventure Village. If you wish to ride farther, the Waterfront Trail runs east to Confederation Park and northwest all the way to Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park.
On the other hand, riders who set off south on the Red Hill will eventually reach Albion Falls. One of the best waterfalls in the region, Albion has been featured in numerous news articles and blogs across the GTHA. Unfortunately, this popularity has proven to be its undoing. After several deaths and injuries from people walking into or along the top of the falls, fences were put up and police stationed to ticket trespassers. Although the sight is still well worth visiting, riders should be prepared for heavy foot traffic by the falls for most of the day.
Most Crown Point and Delta residents live within a 15-minute ride of the trail, with easy access via Queenston Rd. or Barton St. There are parking lots by Lawrence Rd. and King’s Forest, while street parking is available by numerous other trail entrances. Readers interested in learning more about the trail or who wish to support the Ontario Trails Council can visit http://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/trails/view/red-hill-valley-recreational-trail.
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