Hiking the Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls and the Laura Secord Legacy Trail (Hike #2)

Bruce Trail Hike Niagara

Continuing along from my last Bruce Trail hike at Queenston Heights Park (and the starting point/Southern Terminus Cairn), I embarked on my second adventure on the Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls. I picked up right from where I left off at the 4.2km point (at the Upper Canada Heritage Trail side trail).

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Bruce Trail and the Laura Secord Legacy Trail

For those just stumbling upon this article, I have the lofty goal of eventually hiking the entire Bruce Trail. It’s 900km in length spanning from Niagara to Tobermory in southern Ontario. The trail follows the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, one of 16 UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada.

While many people attempt the end-to-end hikes all in one go (which usually takes around a month to complete, unless you’re racing on it), most will hike the trail one section at a time. If you’d like to learn more, here’s a detailed guide to the Bruce Trail.

Hiking the Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls

The Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls, Ontario

I love inviting friends and loved ones to attempt various sections of the Trail along with me. There are always new discoveries and a variety of terrain to tackle on the way. While Justin ventured out on Bruce Trail hike #1 by my side, I invited one of my best friends, Shannon, to come down to the Niagara Region for hike #2.

We parked the car on York Rd (Regional Rd. 81), just east of Concession 2. Directly across the street, we started our hike on the side trail, the Upper Canada Heritage Trail. From there, the side trail linked directly up with the main Bruce Trail. You know you are on the Bruce Trail when you see the white trail markers painted on trees. The side trails have blue markers.

By properly following the markers on the trees, you will not get lost or wander off the trail; this can be easy enough to do as multiple trails often merge in the forest. I highly recommend that you download the Bruce Trail app if you’re serious about hiking the trail. You’ll find a set of maps and additional information, like places to park your car.

Venturing Onto Private Property

Private property for hiking only - Bruce Trail and Laura Secord Legacy Trail

Early on, we came across a ladder with some chain link fence that was along a fallen tree limb. The ladder allows hikers to easily climb over the fence. I feel like the fence was there for a couple of reasons: to denote that it’s private property, and to keep vehicles (bicycles, ATVs, for instance) off the trail. There’s also a sign posted by the fence: “Private property. For hiking only.”

Climbing over a small ladder on the Bruce Trail
Climbing over a small ladder on the Bruce Trail
Climbing over a small ladder on the Bruce Trail

About half of the Bruce Trail meanders through private property in order to continuously link up all 900km of trail. The Bruce Trail Conservancy is slowly purchasing more and more land, so this green space will be made public, forever. But, at times, the hike will wind through some private land.

As long as the hikers are respectful, most landowners will continue to offer a portion of their land up to hikers. There have been instances where the landowners have revoked their handshake agreement and banned hikers from setting foot on their property (it is rare, but it’s happened). In these cases, the Bruce Trail is rerouted to other places, like nearby roads and streets.

Hiking through the forest and down steps, Ontario Canada
Hiking through the forest and over bridges

For most of the day, we didn’t see another person in sight. It was surprising. We figured that many people would be hiking this weekend, on such a warm weather day, but perhaps this area of the forest isn’t as popular as other spots.

Road Crossings and Railroad Crossings

Hiking across city streets

At one point, we emerged from the forest and came to a city street. This part of the Bruce Trail isn’t actually in the forest at all. We had to walk beneath a highway overpass and across the road to meet back up with the trail. It wasn’t the most scenic journey, but a necessary walk to continue with the hiking trail on the other side.

On this day in late September, it was lovely to see the leaves already starting to change color. While most of them are still green, you do get bright pops of red and yellow here and there. Fall is most likely my favorite season of the year because it’s just so beautiful.

Beginnings of fall in late September on a hiking trip in Ontario Canada
Small path through a very green forest

Shannon and I continued our walk along the winding path, which ascended and descended around imposing trees and meandered around large tree roots. At times, the ground beneath us felt almost sandy, which was very interesting as I’ve never encountered anything like it before on a hike in Ontario. I didn’t think too much of it until we got back to the car later and there was sand all over the car mats, as well as inside my shoes!

Hiking across the railroad tracks

We came to another clearing and walked up another small street that crossed some railroad tracks.

Back Into the Forest and Reaching 9.0km

Parts of this next section of the hike were quite scenic in the forest, and other parts gave us views of a huge field with the QEW highway far in the distance.

A late September day hiking trip
Hiking the Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls Ontario
Reaching an overlook with meadows and colorful weeds

We reached kilometer 9.0 on the map and decided to call it a day. After all, we had to hike all the way back to where the car was parked! As it turns out, I’m likely going to end up hiking the entire Bruce Trail twice – there and back from where I parked. Until we can figure out a better system, this is the way it will have to be. (Please note that back when I wrote this article, Uber wasn’t very popular. Now, depending on where you are on the trail, it’s possible to call Uber to take you back to your car!)

Ending our hiking for the day on Mewburn Road
Railroad tracks on Mewburn Road in Niagara
Meadows and farmland in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Lauren hiking the Bruce Trail
Shannon hiking the Bruce Trail

It seemed like a good place to stop as I could tell there was room to park the car here when we would return walking the Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls (on Mewburn Road). There was a clearing here with a small bridge high above the railroad tracks.

The hike back was equally as lovely. We saw some volunteers maintaining the trail, trimming away small tree branches that spread out too far onto the path. We saw several chipmunks, squirrels, many birds, and even some little caterpillars. It was such a wonderful day to go hiking, and hopefully the weather will stay this nice so we can go on many more hikes before the winter!

Hiking the Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls Ontario
Caterpillar on the hiking trail
Red leaves of Fall on the hiking trail

The Laura Secord Legacy Trail

Some parts of this section of the Bruce Trail in Niagara Falls overlaps with the Laura Secord Legacy Trail. For a brief history lesson, Laura Secord is a hero of the War of 1812. She walked for 32km (20 miles) out of American occupied territory to warn the British of an impending attack. The Laura Secord Legacy Trail follows approximately the journey that she traveled back in the day. The trail is 32km long, starting at the Laura Secord Homestead in Queenston and ending at the Decew House Heritage Park in Thorold.

You can read about any of my Bruce Trail hiking trips in one place. Also, read on to experience Bruce Trail Hike #3, or go back and read Bruce Trail Hike #1.

Bruce Trail Hike #2 in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hike #2
DateSeptember 28, 2014
LocationMap 02, St. Catharines
Distance4.8km (x2)
Total Trail Distance9.0km (885km remaining)
Start4.2 Upper Canada Heritage Trail
Finish9.0 Mewburn Road

Where are your favourite places to hike? Have you ever hiked the Bruce Trail?

24 Responses

  1. BritHikesOntario
    | Reply

    Have recently decided that I’m going to attempt this challenge (so far I’ve just done Queenston Heights/Map 01) and stumbled across your blog while looking into it. Will continue to follow your story!

  2. Yuen Mi
    | Reply

    I love that bruce trail map! I think I hiked most of the hamilton area bruce trail but I did not know it goes all the way to tobermory. I will make this a goal this summer -to complete the bruce trail hike from niagara falls to tobermory.

  3. Raphael Alexander Zoren
    | Reply

    Nice post!!! That nature trail looks lovely!!!

  4. K.T.
    | Reply

    Ahhh! This takes me back to being a kid. Used to do so much camping in this area of Ontario! Great photos!

  5. Bruce Trail Hike #3 - The Screaming Tunnel - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] one in the middle in the above photo. Shannon, Robyn and I all started where Shannon and I left off one week prior. To some, it might appear to be a dead-end road in the middle of nowhere. Well, it kind of is a […]

  6. Anda
    | Reply

    I didn’t realize you could have such a great hiking places at Niagara. I visited the waterfalls many years ago, but didn’t go around at all. Very beautiful photos, Lauren, they made me feel like I was there…

  7. Margherita @The Crowded Planet
    | Reply

    What a wonderful adventure! I would love to hike the entirety of the trail, there’s something special about trekking for months at a time. The way you are doing it sounds amazing too, I’m sure the sense of accomplishment at the end will be incredible!

  8. christine
    | Reply

    That isa long trail! Looks like you saw a lot of good stuff along the way!

  9. Ron | Active Planet Travels
    | Reply

    Beautiful hike, just came back from Alberta area last Spring and enjoyed Banff. The Johnston Canyon Trail is very nice, cool and quite scenic! :-D

  10. Dave Cole
    | Reply

    Don’t you love challenges like this that you can work on over time? It looks like early fall is an ideal period to hit this trail. You get a nice array of colors and the temperatures are a lot more agreeable for exercise. I am probably going to take advantage of some New England weather in the coming days for some shorter hikes. Hope they are as fun as your jaunt!

  11. Claudia
    | Reply

    SPECTACULAR VIEWS! No wonder you want to hike the entire thing. I would. I am so glad I am finally reading posts about hikes – I don’t really care too much about city breaks :)

  12. Meg Jerrard
    | Reply

    I had no idea there were hiking trails around the NIagara Falls area! Which is awesome because my husband is hesitant to go just to see the one waterfall and then leave – i can definitely convince him to take a trip if there’s great hiking nearby though!!

  13. Hannah
    | Reply

    Glad to see you guys had some awesome weather this weekend too (I actually went swimming in the lake at my cottage a few times because it was so warm!) after a yucky summer we deserved it! great pics, although I’m surprised to see things so green down there still, we’re changing fast up here in Ottawa!

  14. antonette - we12travel
    | Reply

    Yay for hiking! The leaves are coloring a little bit here as well already, but not too ready for autumn yet. Long distance walks are such a fun project and the good thing is that you can always pick them up whenever you have time. We finished one of Holland’s longest walks recently after about 5 years (it’s 490 km) and are about to finish another one this weekend….

  15. Anne Klien ( Meaanne)
    | Reply

    Looks like you had amazing hike, I love hiking

  16. Sammi Wanderlustin'
    | Reply

    What a lovely looking hiking trail :) it’s been unseasonably warm here, too! Long may it continue ;) it’s really strange that people can decided whether or not a trail goes through their properties. In the UK, if a footpath goes through someone’s property they’re legally obliged to let people hike there.

  17. Jowita
    | Reply

    I’ve never hiked the Bruce Trail, but I would like to! It looks like an amazing hike.

  18. Samantha
    | Reply

    Awww this makes me miss fall so much! So pretty. Plus fuzzy caterpillar season! Brings back good memories!

  19. Anne Sutherland-Smith
    | Reply

    The hike looks amazing! It is great to have a goal to do such a big trek as you progressively achieve it.

  20. Mikaela
    | Reply

    What lovely photos! Believe it or not I have never been to Canada (shocking as a Minnesota native). I have recently done some hiking here in South Korea, but would love to try some of the trails in Canada, especially in the autumn.

  21. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer
    | Reply

    Beautiful fall colors! It reminds me of a hike I did near Albany, NY recently :)

  22. Milosz Zak
    | Reply

    As a resident of Guelph, Ontario – I have to admit that I did know about the trail – I just didn’t know how long it was. Very impressive!

  23. elaine schoch
    | Reply

    Great pictures! I haven’t hiked the Bruce Trail – yet – although we do a lot of hiking in Colorado. Good luck with finishing the whole thing.

  24. Ari
    | Reply

    Quite a bike. I shall need a respirator ;)

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