Short Hills Provincial Park
Locate in Fonthill near St. Catharines, is a 735-hectare day-use park that has six-side trails along with the Bruce Trail, and contains two magnificent waterfalls. This interesting park had both dense forests and open meadows, and also has meandering creeks and gentle hills that are perfect for strolling on.
Directions: From the QEW exit at Regional Road 24 and head south through Vineland, until you come to Regional Road 69. Head east long 69 until you come to the paring lot. Look for the park sign that is set back from the road, there is ample parking here.
While in the park be sure to take advantage of the lush Carolinian forest that includes uncommon trees such as American chestnut, and paw paw, as well as the more common black walnut. The park also has a large number of flora and fauna, and you might be lucky enough to see white tailed deer, opossum, wild turkey, or red fox on your journey.
There are several trails in the park. The Black Walnut Trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders, while the Scarlet Tanager, Hemlock Valley, Terrace Creek and Paleozoic Trails are open to hikers only.
To access the Bruce Trail take the Black Walnut Trail, which has a relatively easy terrain with a few inclines. From the main parking lot follow the wide gravel path down that leads into the park. On the left hand side you will see a marker for the Black Walnut Trail, look also for the white blazes that mark the Bruce Trail. The park takes you through a meadow with wild flowers, pear and pine trees.
You will come to a lookout with a panoramic view of a small valley. Continue down the path out into the open where you will reach a road going down to the Westakwisan Scout Camp. From there you will cross the road, go through a parking lot, and continue down a corridor of walnut, and sumac trees. This path takes you to a wooden bridge over a babbling stream. When you reach the other side continue on the path, which follows the stream from a distance.
Following along the path you will reach a dense wooded area with mature trees before entering an open meadow. Stay right, where you will encounter a small stream that you must jump across in order to continue along the trail. When you enter the forest you will see a junction, stay to your right. The trail ascends steadily here and is surrounded by maple, oak, and yellow birch trees. When you reach the top of the ridge stay to your left, and continue to climb until you come to the edge of the woods. You will now enter a meadow.
Continue straight along the Bruce Trail, and follow the Black Walnut Trail, which veers to the right. Continue along the Black Walnut Trail to get back to the main parking lot. You will enter a clearing of trees before encountering another meadow, stay to the right through the meadow, and the path begins to ascend uphill into the woods. You will cross another small creek before coming to another road. Turn right and keep on the road, which leads you to a small provincial parking lot. Continue past the parking lot down a road that has lovely fields alongside it, until you reach the junction with Terrace Creek Trail, which you turn right onto. Follow the blue markers along this path, which follows the creek.
The trail then runs uphill and continues through picturesque woodland along the creek. Follow this path until you descend alongside a quaint waterfall, from here the trail follows along the creek, until you reach a clearing onto a meadow. You will meet up with the creek again and will have to jump across it. The trail resumes through another meadow and you will come across a footbridge that takes you over the creek. Once over the bridge follow the path to the right and follow this trail across a larger bridge before you ascend uphill once again. Keep climbing until the trail levels out and leads back to the parking lot where your journey began.