Trails at Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail
Total Distance – 325km, 0.9km through Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
The Waterfront Trail extends 325 km from Trenton to Hamilton along Lake Ontario’s shoreline, and will eventually span 650 km from Gananoque to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The City of Mississauga’s 21.5 km section of the trail provides walking and cycling routes through parks, green spaces and scenic streetscapes. Trail guides can be purchased from bookstores or from the Waterfront Regeneration Trust at (416) 943-8080. Visit their website at http://www.waterfronttrust.com.
The Pedestrian Waterfront Trail is accessible by pedestrians and wheelchairs, and acts as a component of the larger regional Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail. This section centrally crosses through Rattray Marsh Conservation Area and the variety of habitats and features that are found here. Visitors please note that bicycle use is prohibited in Rattray Marsh Conservation Area.
Entering Rattray Marsh in the eastern portion of the property and heading west from Jack Darling Park towards the Old Poplar Row street entrance, visitors will experience the gentle topography of this accessible trail. Along the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail visitors will pass by a wildflower meadow and shaded hillside before coming upon the Lake Ontario lookout. At the lookout point visitors can stop to view the marsh as it enters Lake Ontario, while also watching for birds and wildlife that inhabit the marsh during all seasons of the year. From the lookout point the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail passes the Knoll, Sheridan Creek and a Meadow Marsh community. West of Sheridan Creek, visitors will pass through remnants of old farmland that is now regenerating into green ash woodland. Access to the other major trails at Rattray Marsh Conservation Area is accessible from the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail.
Knoll Trail – Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
Distance – 0.3 km
From the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail, visitors can enter a 0.3km boardwalk loop called the Knoll Trail. The Knoll is home to some of the most sensitive and unique plant species in the conservation area and it is a great location for visitors to view the marsh and the birds and wildlife that live here. You will also find some of the largest trees in the conservation area and it is an ideal location for visitors to view spring ephemeral flowers and Carolinian species. The Knoll is a sensitive and unique ecosystem and in order to protect the plants and wildlife that are found here, visitors are asked to remain on the trail at all times.
Meadow Wood Trail – Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
Distance – 0.9 km
Visitors can access Meadow Wood Trail from either the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail or the Meadow Wood Road entrance on the north-western edge of the property. From the Meadow Wood entrance visitors will hike east through mature forest communities dominated by sugar maple, beech and oak trees. As visitors continue east the forest composition changes to one dominated by hemlock and pine. As the trail takes visitors past Sheridan Creek they will notice floodplain features and a green ash swamp. Along the Meadow Wood Trail visitors have the opportunity to view white trilliums in the spring and see evidence of the deer and owl populations that are present in the Conservation Area.
Meadow Trail – Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
Distance – 0.6km
Visitors may enter Meadow Trail from either Meadow Wood Trail or the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail. Travelling from the centre of the property north, visitors will hike across varying landscapes with a gentle change in topography. Historically, agriculture and homestead development dominated the area; today in the conservation area, visitors will notice a regenerating forest habitat. From the Pedestrian Waterfront Trail towards the Meadow Wood Trail visitors will travel along a boardwalk through a young swamp and into a forest dominated by ash, maple, poplar and willow trees.