One of my favourite places to hike in the world is right in my hometown of Dundas, Ontario.
I have such fond memories of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. Growing up, these trails were my favourite walking paths, biking trails, and places to spend time with family and friends. Naturally, the best time of year to visit is the fall. The air is a little more crisp. The trees change from bright green to vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. I used to climb the trees, create rope swings with friends, and jump into massive piles of leaves.
I no longer live in Dundas, though I make regular trips to the valley town with Justin. The Dundas Valley Conservation Area is still one of my fondest hiking spots, though I’ve exchanged climbing trees for snapping pictures these days. It’s hard to resist taking photographs constantly when the scenery is so stunning.
When you’re hiking in the forest, the last thing you need is to lug around bulky camera equipment. Thankfully, there’s a solution that fits in the palm of your hand. Sony Mobile equipped us with their new smartphones, the Xperia X Performance, and asked us to photograph our journey. It’s designed to capture all of life’s spontaneous moments. With its 23 MP camera, predictive hybrid auto-focus and dedicated camera button, we hit the trails to capture and preserve the brilliant autumn views. Every image you will see in this blog post was taken with the Sony Xperia X Performance smartphone.
The side trails and the main loop trail featured outstanding landscapes and colourful forest scenes. Throughout this Carolinian forest, we were surrounded by tall trees, chirping birds, and the occasional squirrel rummaging through the leaves for a nut. You might even see a deer or two if you’re lucky, as we have in the past. There’s no need for any special hiking footwear. Most of the path is relatively flat, with the occasional short hill.
As we hiked, we took plenty of photographs to capture the crisp details of the leaves and the vivid autumn colours.
Whether you’re traveling or spending time with loved ones, there are always those spontaneous moments that you’d love to capture. The Sony Xperia X Performance was designed specifically with the photographer in mind. It’s equipped with intelligent quick launch, with a dedicated camera button that can take a photograph in 0.6 seconds. Even if you’re not ready for it, you can encapsulate a moment in time that wasn’t planned or posed – those often make for the best photos!
One of the best features of the Sony Xperia X Performance is the Predictive Hybrid Autofocus. The camera manages to capture movement and keep the subject in focus. You can select a focus object and the camera automatically tracks it as it moves. It takes excellent photographs for any kind of outdoor activity, including hiking and cycling. The smartphone predicts movement while maintaining a sharp image.
Should you choose to take any video on your adventures, the smartphone has a feature called SteadyShot. It uses Intelligent Active Mode to make your video less shaky and more steady. As you’re hiking or participating in any activity, the phone compensates for your movements creating smoother, less jarring video.
Don’t worry about bringing any bulky camera equipment with you on your next adventure! Capture your #LifeMoments with a device you can fit in your pocket, the Sony Xperia X Performance smartphone!
DUNDAS VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA
The Dundas Valley Conservation Area covers approximately 1200 hectares of preserved conservation land in the town of Dundas. There are 40 kilometres of trails extending across this territory, maintained by the Hamilton Conservation Authority and the Bruce Trail.
There are three main trails: the Main Loop, the Bruce Trail, and the Rail Trail (Canada’s first inter-urban rail trail between Hamilton and Brantford, and part of the Trans Canada Trail). We stuck primarily to the Main Loop and the Bruce Trail, though we did spend some time at the Rail Centre by the Rail Trail. Several secondary trails branch out from the Main Loop, offering endless opportunities for hiking. If you returned here several times, you could hike a new path with each visit.
The path is open to hikers, cyclists, joggers, dog-walkers, equestrians, and cross-country skiers. Remember to share the trail with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts!
The Dundas Valley Conservation Area is part of the Niagara Escarpment, designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. You can find trail maps both at the park and online.
THE TRAIL CENTRE
The Trail Centre is the primary hub of the trails. It’s right next to the Rail Trail and stands at the entrance to the Main Loop. This visitor centre is a unique highlight of the conservation area as there’s a replica of a Victorian train station. It’s rather fitting as it’s positioned on old railroad tracks. Visitors are welcome to step up to closely examine an antique train car, an intriguing piece of history.
An old family estate, The Hermitage was once a summer residence for wealthy Scottish immigrants in the 1800s. The family, the Leiths, adored this land as the gentle streams and rolling hills reminded them of a Scottish landscape. Sadly, it was destroyed by a fire in 1924. Only the foundations and some ruins remain of this once magnificent estate. Thankfully, the ruins were restored and visitors can explore them when visiting the Dundas Valley Conservation Area.
In one of the pictures below, I photographed the majority of the site using the smartphone’s panoramic feature.
HIKING IN EVERY SEASON
While this region is beautiful during the winter, spring, and summer, there’s really nothing like a fall hike to lift your spirits. I love hearing the crunching of the leaves beneath my feet. I adore listening to the trees gently creak in the wind, with leaves rustling and gently falling to the ground. The forest is so vibrant with colour, and it’s truly the best time of year to get out there with your camera.
Get out there and enjoy the fall hiking season! Explore the Dundas Valley Conservation Area in Dundas, Ontario, Canada, or a forest near you.
Check out our entire photo album from our hike of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area! All photos were taken with the Sony Xperia X Performance smartphone.
VISITING THE AREA
Parking on site costs $10 per vehicle. The Trail Centre has a food concession, interpretive displays, brochures and maps. In the summer, it is open from 8:30am – 5:00pm on weekends and 8:30am – 3:00pm on weekdays. In the off season from Thanksgiving to Victoria Day, it is open from Wednesday to Sunday (8:30am – 3:00pm on weekdays, 8:30am – 4:00pm on weekends). There are also guided tours and nature workshops from time to time.
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What’s your favourite local hiking trail? What’s the best hiking trail you’ve visited for fall colours?