Lost At Rattlesnake Point

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!

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.

The Nassagaweya Trail at Rattlesnake Point has elevation gains of 230 meters.
the terrain hiking the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail at Rattlesnake Point
The terrain at Nassagaweya Canyon Trail is rough making it a more challenging trail, geared towards experienced hikers
getting lost hiking Rattlesnake Point

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.

AllTrails map of Nassagaweya Canon Trail at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
AllTrails Map of Nassagaweye Canyon Trail

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.

The Nassagaweye Canyon Trail at Rattlesnake Point has a very rocky terrain.  Hiking boots are recommended
Rattlesnake Point offers 644 acres to get lost in

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.

No swimming, boating, fishing, or dogs are allowed in the water in order to preserve Crawford Lake
Crawford Lake is one of twelve meromictic lakes in Canada

Crawford Lake

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).

Hike from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake to view one of only 12 meromictic lake in Canada
Crawford Lake is one of 12 meromictic lakes in Canada

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:

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:

Camping

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.

Rock Climbing

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)

Picnic

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.

You will see sculptures when you are at Crawford Lake Conservation Area
one of the carvings you come across when hiking to Crawford Lake

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.

The trails at Rattlesnake Point are full of tree roots and loose rock, making the climbs difficult
Getting lost at Rattlesnake Point

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.

Follow the colour of your trail when hiking Rattlesnake Point so you don't get lost
the Bruce Trail runs through Rattlesnake Point and intersects with many other trails, making it easy to get confused and lost

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 🙂

Kelly xo

SAVE TO HIKE AT RATTLESNAKE POINT, AN ONTARIO HIKING TRAIL

50 thoughts on “Lost At Rattlesnake Point

    1. awakenedvoyages

      This is such a comprehensive guide of some beautiful trails. The Buffalo Crag Trail in particular sounds amazing! And yes it’s no fun when you get lost on a hike and you’re too tired. Glad you managed to find help!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Travel A-Broads

    I’d never heard of Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area before, but I can already tell I’d love to spend time here! It looks beautiful, and I just love being outside. And, I’m especially happy to hear there are no rattlesnakes here – phew :). Xx Sara

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mayi

    This is the first time I hear about the Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. It’s a nice hiking spot with great views and scenery. I have to say, I like the name although I’m glad you won’t find any snakes while hiking there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. thedctraveler9b7e4f7d4d

    That’s funny it’s called rattlesnake point and no snakes. I didn’t know there was a name for lakes that don’t mix. That’s so cool – I just thought there wasn’t fish in it and that’s why they don’t mix haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barry

    Before reading this post I had never heard of a meromictic lake, now I know what that is, and it sounds very interesting and unique.
    Those carvings – love the one in the pick of the hand and bird, would be what I would be looking out for.
    You answered my question! I immediately thought “Is it named Rattlesnake because there are snakes there?” as I have a snake phobia and was glad when you answered that it does not.
    The hike sounds lovely, probably a little longer than I would like but I’m sure the views would counteract the time length,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melanie

    Rattlesnake Park does not sound like a place I would like to get lost in 😟 haha (Good to know that there aren’t actually dangerous snakes there!)

    That carving looks really cool, and I’d love to see a meromictic lake. I wonder where the other lakes are.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JoJo Hall

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience with this trail. I hike a lot too and I know how fast you can get lost out there. Thankfully, it seems like if you have the offline map trail and have looked it over, plus always following the markers, it should minimize your chances of getting lost. And that meromictic lake is stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

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