Bruce Trail hike - Niagara Glen Nature Reserve and the Southern Terminus


While not part of the Bruce Trail itself, it seems a fitting southern-most hike. What could be more famous on the Niagara Escarpment than Niagara Falls itself? The Niagara Glen Nature Reserve is a wonderful break from the over-powering Niagara Falls and surrounding area. We spent about 2 and a half hours in the Glen following this specific hike. You could make your way down to the river and back to the parking lot in under 45 minutes. Close by is also the Southern Terminus of the Bruce Trail. After the hike in the glen we made our way there. We were on our bikes, so we followed the Niagara River Recreation Trail north.

(I've designed this page to be simple with no pictures on it so that you can print a copy and take it with you. The pictures are linked at each stage, with a camera icon and are all contained on the pictures of Niagara Glen Nature Reserve and the Southern Terminus page. Please send us any comments/corrections to brucetrail [at] Click here to return to the main page,) or grab your hiking shoes, compass, GPS, and camera and take a hike!

Location and details of the hike:

General Location:Just North of Niagara Falls
You can see the location of the Niagara Glen along with other Web sites in the same area Show this hike location along with entries from other blogs!
Bruce Trail Reference 20.0StartNot on the Bruce Trail
Related LinksPotholes

Directions to the starting point of the hike:

Take the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) around Lake Ontario, through St. Catharines. Take exit 37 onto the 405 which continues east where the QEW heads south east. The last exit before the border with the States takes you into Queenston.

Turn right (south) onto the Niagara Parkway.

Watch for the shop (once called "Feather in the Glen") on the left side (river side) of the parkway. There is free parking.

Hike details

This is a relatively short hike with all sorts of things to see. There is a lot of green space, lots of cliff edge and rocks, and the Niagara River runs fast at this point. We were there on the weekend at the start of August, and there were a fair number of people around. We watched the big 25 person Jet boats on the river splashing through the rapids and drifting through the eddies.

The first order of business, however, is picking up a map from the store. There was a box towards the door with maps; leave your money in the box. Not only does the map lay out the various paths in the glen, it describes its history and details the 12 "Points of Interest" along the way. Each path is named and colour coded. I'll make reference to both.

The store and highest point of the hike is on the Wintergreen Flat. Stand facing the river, with the Niagara Parkway to your back. Niagara Falls is to your right (up-river), just about due south. The water is flowing north out of Lake Erie, over the Falls, then into Lake Ontario at Niagara-on-the Lake, to our left.

We'll walk down the self-contained tower with 80 metal steps to get into the Glen.

The bottom of the stairs is in the middle of the Cliffside path (marked with white markers). Follow the path to your left (north), away from the Falls.

This path ends in the middle of the Terrace path (red), and at the start of the Cobblestone path (purple). Turn to your left (north) on the Terrace path north (red). This takes us even farther downstream.

This section of the hike is through open woods, heading slowly downward towards the river. The path here is soil and stone The path finally meets the river at a 90 degree angle, facing directly east. Straight ahead across the river is the U.S.A. and what I assume is the Devil's Hole State Park.

We are now at the River path (blue markings). We'll turn right (south) here, heading up-river, towards the Falls.

There are some great views of the river; the water takes on so many colours. Continue on the path, past the Cobblestone path (purple), to the Trillium path (light blue).

Turn right (west), away from the river for now, and follow the path to where it meets the red, Terrace Path. Turn left (south) and you will find one of the many interesting rock formations in the glen; Devil's Arch.

Continue along and you will come upon the 6m tall "Boulder Wall". I don't know the official status of Bouldering in the Niagara Glen, but we did see a number of people with chaulked hands and bouldering mats. There are all sorts of interesting rock formations in the glen.

Shortly after this is the "Leaning Rock" then a large Pothole. The Pothole was once in the river bed itself. The smooth sides of the pothole were dug out as the river rushed over a crack filled with small stones and sand. As the pothole got bigger, larger stones would fall in and accelerate the process. There are many exposed pot holes on the Niagara Escarpment, see for more details.

We'll continue south/south-east along the Terrace path, then take the left fork in the path down to the River path (blue) and continue on the path to where it comes to a split. Turn right here (south) where it runs under the sandstone cliff. You'll pass by a natural spring (do not drink the water). This is one of the lowest points in the hike, the path becomes red as we hike along poor grade iron ore. This is another great place to watch the Niagara river.

When you're ready to move on, follow the blue path back the way we came. Turn left at the junction, away from the river, then continue on the River path (blue) where it meets the end of the Terrace path (red).

We are now walking south on the River path (blue) above the natural spring we passed not too long ago. When you pass the Woodland path (yellow) you'll see another balancing rock on your right (away from the river). To your left, running into the river itself, is a group of sandstone boulders. They have fallen there from the cliff face back when there was a falls here. This area of the river is known as Devil's Hole; at only 60 metres across it is the narrowest part of the Niagara River.

Continue along the path until it meets the Eddy path (green). Turn to you right, away from the river, following the green path. For the rest of the hike we'll be walking pretty much up-hill.

The Eddy path (green) ends at the junction of the Terrace path (red) and the Cliffside path (white). Keep to the left and follow the Cliffside path (white) along the cliff, back to the stairs. After climbing the stairs you are back to the Windergreen flat, just east of the parking lot.

While in the area, we also went to see the Southern Terminus cairn of the Bruce Trail.

Continue North on the Niagara Parkway or the recreation trail. It is across the street at the parking lot, just north of the entrance to the 405. On the path you'll see a sign for Brock's Monument, just north of the Locus Grove Picnic area.

This is at km 0 on map #1 Queenston in the Niagara Club.