This morning we ventured out to Christie Lake in the Hamilton Conservation Area. It was a beautiful morning – and after a 25 minute drive West on Dundas St, we got to the lake at about 10:30am and it was 18C, sunny and dry – a perfect late summer day.
We wanted to hike the “Round the Lake” trail since it was listed as 5.6km for the loop and we likely hit 6km with the initial back and forth we did trying to find the trail head. :) At a leisurely pace, it took us about 2 hours.
The trail goes over grass in some areas and mostly packed dirt paths through the forest areas. There are a few hills but nothing very difficult. Once on the trail, the markings were clear for the trail we were on as well as several other walking and mountain bike trails crossing it.
The scenery was very diverse as you’ll see from the photos – and I can only imagine how beautiful it must be in the fall once the leaves start to change color.
Right after we parked the car (near the marina area) and headed out to find the trail head, we spied this heron perched in the sun. He was quite large.
He let us get pretty close then flew to a nearby post – what a graceful bird. I’d never seen a heron fly before – he was huge!
The lake was serene and beautiful. Our hike took us on a full loop around the lake.
There were lots of wildflowers and butterflies darting around. I was lucky to catch this guy:
We also saw what we believe is a loon. He jumped into the water as he saw us walking by.
Crossing to the south side of the lake:
This side of the trail was mostly forest and the trees offered some shade.
It was cool to see the trees lush and green on one side of the path but very dry on the other, except at the very top where they grew leaves:
Here’s a good shot of dry on one side and lush on the other:
One of the trail markers (showing a picture of the lake):
You can see the lake on the left through the foliage:
The trail brought us to the Darnley Dam which was pretty cool.
Approaching from the north side, right before you cross the pedestrian bridge, there’s a trail on the right to go down and see the Darnley Cascade waterfall – there was a small walking path to do down further as well.
This path also brought you to the old Darnley Grist Mill:
After that, we headed back up to the pedestrian bridge to cross it and head back towards where we parked the car. Posted on the side of the pedestrian bridge:
On the bridge, facing Christie Lake:
On the bridge facing the other side:
On the bridge, facing Spencer Creek. On the other side of the bridge is where the “Spencer Adventure” links to the trail that would bring you to Webster’s Falls (a must see).
It was a great hike with lots to see and lots of different terrain. Christie Lake has a ton of activities too: You can rent boats (canoes and row boats – we saw some), fish, swim (they rent tubes), play disc golf, enjoy a picnic and/or barbecue, not to mention lots of trails for walkers or mountain bikers. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy nature.