It is often said that one can easily get lost in the sound and smell of nature when out on a hike and that is certainly true. However, it is also very easy to get lost in the true sense of the word, and that’s where many find themselves when hiking Rattlesnake Point….lost!
LOST AT RATTLESNAKE POINT CONSERVATION AREA
- Where is Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
- Hiking Trails At Rattlesnake Point
- Rabbits Run Trail and Rattlesnake Vista Adventure Trail
- Buffalo Crag Trail
- Nassagaweya Canyon Trail
- Crawford Lake
- Preparation For Hiking The Nassagaweye Canyon Trail
- Tips For Hiking The Nassagaweye Canyon Trail
- Things To Do At Rattlesnake Point
- Frequently Asked Questions About Rattlesnake Point
- Is It Worth Getting Lost Hiking At Rattlesnake Point
With the windy trails running through Rattlesnake Point that frequently intertwine with the world renowned Bruce Trail, it is imperative that you prepare and pay attention when you’re hiking this trail.
Before we get started on the actual hike itself, it’s always good to know a little history first which can help you to prepare accordingly.
Where is Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
7200 Appleby Line, Milton, Ontario
Rattlesnake Point is located 65 kilometers from Toronto, just outside of the Town of Milton. The park is accessed through the main gates off Appleby Line.
Reservations are required to enter Rattlesnake Point and can be made here.
Hiking Trails at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
Hiking is the main attraction at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area boasting four trails which are suitable for various fitness levels:
The Rabbits Run Trail and Rattlesnake Vista Adventure Trail
The Rabbit Run Trail is a short trail of 1.0 kilometer and the Rattlesnake Vista Adventure Trail is 1.5 kilometers. These trails are perfect for the casual hiker who wishes to take a leisurely stroll through the forest. These trails are easy loop trails which can be completed in less than one hour.
Buffalo Crag Trail
The Buffalo Crag Trail is perfect for the intermediate hiker and will take you through a forest of ancient cedar trees, some of which are as old as 800 years, to the Buffalo Crag Lookout. From the Buffalo Crag Lookout you will be rewarded with spectacular views over-looking the Niagara Escarpment, and the forests and farms spanning far below. The Buffalo Crag Trail spans a distance of 3 kilometers.
These three trails are perfect for the novice and intermediate hiker who wish to take in the beauty surrounding them, and not a lot of preparation is needed for any of these trails.
Nassagaweya Canyon Trail
The Nassagaweya Canyon Trail is a much more challenging trail and is recommended for experienced hikers only. If you plan on tackling the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail, much more preparation is needed in order to complete this trail successfully.
The map of the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail shown on AllTrails and the trail map by Rattlesnake Point, will only take you to the point that Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake meet. Continue following the orange markings until you hit the lake.
When returning back to Rattlesnake Point from Crawford Lake, follow the orange markings so you don’t get lost in Crawford Lake Conservation Area.
The Nassagaweya Canyon Trail is a 9.4 kilometer round trip hike which takes you to Crawford Lake (more on the lake later). The trek to Crawford Lake is a bit tricky as there are many hills to ascend and descend. Given the age of the trees in the forest, there are a multitude of roots that you will need to walk on and over, as well as an abundance of loose rocks which have broken away from the escarpment. It is all of these factors which make the hike from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake more challenging.
It is important that you follow the orange markings when on the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail. The orange markings are prominent on the hike to Crawford Lake, but not on the way back out, and it is easy to get side-tracked and find yourself lost on the Bruce Trail or in Crawford Lake Conservation Area.
By the time we were heading back, we were exhausted and tired and we thought we would take a “shortcut”. Lesson learned….there are never shortcuts when hiking. We got lost for several hours trying to find our way out of Crawford Lake.
NOTE: Cell service was non-existent at Crawford Lake
When planning to hike the Nassagaweye Canyon Trail, they say to budget four hours for the hike. It took us 6.5 hours before we found our way out with the help of some younger hikers.
Once you’ve completed a grueling one way hike to Crawford Lake, you will be rewarded with beauty and a much needed rest.
Crawford Lake is one of only twelve meromictic lakes in Canada. Simply put, a meromictic lake is a lake that has many layers that don’t mix. In order to protect and preserve this lake, swimming is not permitted (that includes dogs).
Preparation For Hiking The Nassagaweye Canyon Trail
There are several things that you can do to prepare for a hike from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake which will reduce your chances of getting lost:
- plan to start your hike earlier in the morning to give yourself time to get out before dark in the event that you do get lost
- download or print the trail guide before arriving at the park
- download the trail from google maps so that you have an off-line map. Cell service is not always available and Alltrails can’t always be relied upon
- download or print the trail guide for Crawford Lake before leaving on the hike
JUST ONE TIP: Alltrails will only show you the trail to Crawford Lake through Rattlesnake Point. It won’t show all the way to the Lake which makes the return hike confusing. Stay on the trail with the orange markers
Tips For Hiking The Nassagaweye Canyon Trail
In addition to preparing for your hike at Rattlesnake Point, there are some tips that I would have found beneficial had I known:
- even though the hike is only four hours, pack enough water and food for a full day of hiking. Be prepared and bring all hiking essentials needed as if hiking a full day!
- wear hiking boots. Hiking shoes would be sufficient as well, but the boots will give you the support needed to cross the uneven ground
- they tell you to plan for a four hour hike, I would allow five or six hours for rest stops
- bring a portable phone charger
- hiking poles would be beneficial on this trail to help equally distribute weight and assist with the climb on the way back out
- follow all safety hiking tips you normally would
- I would NOT hike the Nassagaweye Canyon Trail solo. Make sure you have a hiking buddy
Things To Do At Rattlesnake Point
While most people visit Rattlesnake Point for the views and the hiking, there are a few other things keep you busy as well:
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area offers 17 campsites which are available year round for tenting only. It is important to note that the showers and washrooms are closed during the Winter months.
Because Rattlesnake Point is located on the Niagara Escarpment, rock climbing is an extremely popular activity. There are three locations:
- Rattlesnake Point (Traditional, Instructional, Recreational)
- Nassagaweya Lookout (Sport, Traditional)
- Buffalo Crag (Traditional)
If you plan on hiking in the morning, bring a picnic as there is plenty of space to relax and picnic when you’re done.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RATTLESNAKE POINT
Is It Free To Hike At Rattlesnake Point?
No. At the time of writing entrance to the park is as follows:
- Adults (15-64) $9.75 plus HST
- Seniors (65 and over) $7.75 plus HST
- Child (5-14) $6.75 plus HST
- Children (under 5) Free
*** Support persons for people with disabilities are free ***
Be sure to check the website to see if fees have changed.
Is There Parking At Rattlesnake Point?
Yes. There is an upper and lower parking lot at Rattlesnake Point, although the upper parking lot is close during the Winter. The lower parking is right beside the trail entrance.
Are There Rattlesnakes at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area?
The answer is emphatically no! The park got its name because of the winding, snake-like paths formed by glaciers along the Niagara Escarpment.
Are Dogs Allowed At Rattlesnake Point?
Yes. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Are There Washrooms At Rattlesnake Point?
Yes, there are washrooms near the parking area, but there are no washrooms along the trail. The washrooms are closed during the Winter months.
When Is The Best Time To Hike Rattlesnake Point?
Rattlesnake Point is open year round, but it is personal preference as to when the best time to hike is. Given that you have extensive views from on top of the Niagara Escarpment, I would recommend hiking in the Fall to take in the Fall foliage.
Does Rattlesnake Point Have A Beach?
No, there isn’t a beach at Rattlesnake Point, but there are coves for diving and swimming.
Is It Worth Getting Lost Hiking Rattlesnake Point
This is a subjective question and it all depends on how you look at things. As a person who loves adventure, for me it was worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified when we got lost hiking at Rattlesnake Point, but once we found our way out that feeling was gone and I was left with a huge sense of accomplishment.
What was to have been a 9.4 kilometer hike, turned out to be a 10.25 mile hike, but when all was said and done, both the challenge and the views along the way made getting lost on this hike worth it. If nothing else, we will have a great story to tell for years to come.
HAPPY HIKING 🙂
SAVE TO HIKE AT RATTLESNAKE POINT, AN ONTARIO HIKING TRAIL