Red Hill Valley – The Trail is Still There

When I was in high school, our cross country team always went to Red Hill Valley to do some nice trail runs.

The valley was beautiful and it was a treasure to have this huge green space in the east end of the city. If you hiked off of the main trail, you could walk right under Albion Falls. It was a little known treasure right in my own backyard.

A few years ago, they decided to put a highway through this valley and I was very upset about it. As a silent protest, I hadn’t even driven on it until recently when I realized that avoiding this particular stretch of highway didn’t really accomplish anything.

This weekend, I decided to go see if the trail was still there. The builders had promised that they would preserve it but I didn’t have faith that they would. Either way, it wouldn’t be the same I told myself, so I avoided going there for the trail as well.

Nonetheless, I laced up my shoes and I want to present you with a visual tour of my trail run through the Red Hill Valley.

This isn’t a good first sign. It obviously hasn’t been looked at since my old high school days. And worse yet, it says that the trail is closed. But I’m here and I’m up for a run so I press on anyway.

So far, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why the trail is closed. It looks nice.

It’s still a nice looking trail. I’m feeling pretty good about this run so far. I wonder why there was a sign saying the trail was closed.

Maybe this is why. The bridge is out. I don’t mind though. I can still manage to get across it. Besides, I always like a challenge.

The trail looks good on this side of the bridge. I bet that was the only reason that the trail was closed. The expressway has been up and running for quite some time now. I wonder when they are going to complete the trail.

I remember this hill. Nice, the trail is still here the way I remember it.

I love all of the hills in the valley.

I don’t like running on flat ground. I need some hills and steep ones. It makes the run feel all that much more satisfying.

This valley used to be far removed from the city. It was quiet back here. But, today, I have been acutely aware that the highway was hiding here all along. I could hear it, but at least I couldn’t see it before now.

This is the second trail marker that I have passed that hasn’t been finished either.

I can’t believe that I actually haven’t been here in years. This is a great run!

I wanted to show you a picture of the waterfalls but I couldn’t remember exactly how to get there. I’m pretty sure that I would have had to leave the main trail and hike it a bit. I wouldn’t have been able to run all the way there. I will probably go back in the springtime to share that with you.

It’s a little sad seeing this instead of the lush, green space that used to be here. But, what can you do? At least the raised the expressway so that there is still some room for nature here.

Fortunately, the expressway does fade away again. And you can really enjoy the beautiful trail.

It is still a great trail to run. I am impressed that it hasn’t been destroyed. They actually managed to keep the trail and build the road. I hope you enjoyed this visual tour of my run through The Red Hill Valley in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

4 responses to “Red Hill Valley – The Trail is Still There”

  1. Hello Chase,
    I’m glad that you have rediscovered the Red Hill Valley and found that it’s still a wonderful place to be. The trail is closed for repairs due to the damage that occurred during the large storms of this past summer. Repair work has begun and should be completed by the end of the month. The trail signs you observed are being replaced and updated and will speak to the 11,000 years of human history associated with the valley and will include information about First Nations history, Euro-Canadian history and the story behind the engineering works in the valley.

    The bridge you saw at the face of the escarpment was built specifically to allow nature to be re-established and to allow for passage of both people and wildlife across the escarpment face. You may have noticed the odd looking poles under the viaduct. These were installed to allow the Southern Flying Squirrels that live in the vicinity to pass under the bridge without being exposed to predation from the ground. In the late summer of 2006, a student from McMaster University working on her Senior Honours Project began baiting the poles with peanut butter to encourage the squirrels to begin using them. The baiting was stopped in April of 2007 when the student determined that there was also a healthy population of owls in the area. As the poles provide no cover, the squirrels would be unnecessarily exposed to predation by the owls. To mitigate that issue Virginia creeper, Moonseed vine and Wild grape have been planted at the base of each pole. When it is determined that adequate cover has been provided the baiting will begin again. That said there may be other fixes that are faster than waiting for the vines to grow.

    You will also have noticed that there is a fair bit of freshly placed fill below the viaduct. This is also storm damage repair work. We have completed a significant amount of ecological restoration in the area, using only native, source identified species which over time should establish an ecologically functional system.

    The section of trail from which you could see the Parkway traffic, once part of the main trail is now a side trail, while the main trail is located quite a bit further to the west. Additionally if you follow the Bruce Trail under the bridge to where it intersects with Red Hill Creek, then turn south, you will find Albion Falls.

    The Red Hill Valley Trail reconstruction and the ecological restoration of the Valley are just a couple of examples of how we at the City of Hamilton work to offset our effects on the environment. I encourage you and your readers to visit the Public Works Department's Web page at and click on "Environmental Stewardship" in the upper right column for an overview of our stewardship vision and what we've accomplished to date.

    Best regards,
    Jim Rockwood, B.Sc.
    Environmental Coordinator
    Public Works Dept., City of Hamilton

  2. Hi Jim,

    I appreciate the detailed response and history you just gave us. Thanks for the all the great work you guys have been doing to keep it a rich, and beautiful valley. And thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog.

    Hi Silverfish,

    I'm glad that I didn't stay away from the valley. It's nice that I have rediscovered it, as Jim says. And I really appreciate all the great info he gave us about it too. Pretty cool, eh?