St. Catharines – Bruce Trail, Twelve Trail

Terrain: Is varied with relative flat areas to steep areas.

Directions: From the QEW take Highway 406 through St. Catharines to Highway 71. From highway 71 west take the Merritville Parkway (Highway 50) follow the parkway south to DeCew Road. Turn right on Decew Road and continue until you come to the small parking lot on your right near DeCew House Park.

This trail begins at the historic DeCew House Park. From the park you can reach the Bruce Trail which heads east. Be sure to follow the white blazes marked on the trees, as it twists and turns in various spots. This trail winds along the shoreline of picturesque Lake Moodie for a short stretch, where you will come upon a hydro generating station that uses water diverted from the Welland Canal. Stay to your left into the woods and head along a field before re-entering the woods and heading towards the escarpments edge above Twelve Mile Creek. The trail affords a good view of DeCew Falls so be sure to bring your camera to snap some lovely pictures of the picturesque falls.

The trail continues along a stretch of roadway towards historic Morningstar Mill, where Wilson Morningstar milled flour in the late 19th century. It is now a museum, which you may want to visit before continuing along the trail. Follow DeCew Road west and turn left into the woods reentering the trail. You will cross several streams before descending out of the woods into a more swampy area and then emerge into a fielded area. This area is part of Short Hills Provincial Park, a 700-hectare park with six trails that are ideal for hiking, and two picturesque waterfalls.

From here you can continue onto the Louth side trail, which is a fairly far trek. To do so follow the trail through the low-lying area towards Hog Back Road, follow Hog Back Road across the steel bridge to a gravel road. Crossing the road the trail ascends up a bank and crosses another gravel road that leads up to a parking lot on top of a hill. Then proceed up the hill and across a fence line, then along the grounds of the north side of Twelve Mile Creek, where you will experience breathtaking views of Short Hills Provincial Park.

Continue onto Effingham Road to the right for a short while. The trail then turns left near an old water-filled quarry. After bypassing a field the trail briefly follows an old road allowance before ascending to just below the edge of the escarpment. It then proceeds down to another old road allowance before rising towards the top of the escarpment. Continue through the forest to Pelham Road, where you turn right and follow the road for a short while before turning left across a field and then to a forested area. You will cross a small creek before ascending an incline and coming out behind Rockway Community Center. This area is home to Rockway Falls, an impressive 19.5-meter waterfall that runs down the jagged limestone and dolstone rocks of the Niagara Escarpment. Fifteen-mile creek also runs over the escarpment here.

To continue along the trail follow Pelham Road West, turn right onto 9th Street, continuing downhill, down a steep road. Turn left through a mature forested area. The trail then bypasses a rifle range, crosses a small creek and climbs up and down a few inclines. You will come across another creek and a swampy area before heading west on a road that takes you part lush vineyards and then re-enters the woods to reach Louth Conservation Area.