Despite being early spring, we were glad we were dressed for summer weather and started early. Our timing was great – the trilliums, violets, periwinkle and other spring wild flowers were at their peak, and the day was bright, sunny, and hot. For this time of year, very hot – reaching 29 degrees Celsius!
The limestone cliffs of Rattlesnake Point are a dramatic part of the Niagara Escarpment and overlook the Lowville Valley which is drained by Bronte Creek. The views from the early part of the trail along the cliffs were spectacular, with turkey vultures gliding the canyon drafts and perching on trees along the cliff tops. This was a fairly strenuous hike as it descended the Nassagaweya Canyon and Limestone Creek, with a very rocky scrambling ascent as the trail headed up again and then towards Crawford Lake.
We stopped to eat our snacks at a shady picnic table at the Crawford Lake Visitor Centre, where a noisy school outing had occupied the indoor facilities. Along the path leading to the lake are beautiful wood carvings of Species at Risk like the Monarch Butterfly, the Hooded Warbler, and the mascot of spring: the Jefferson Salamander. A 750 m boardwalk trail leads around the meromictic lake (a deep, narrow lake lacking oxygen in its lower layers).
This was a great hike – greatly enhanced by carpets of trillium, including red trillium and a very unusual variegated trillium, which I have never seen before. We also enjoyed the variety of terrain – wet lands board walk, cliff top views, the board walk around Crawford Lake and the viewpoint on the way back looking across the valley to our starting point. The stunning weather helped and, as usual, an amazing lunch afterwards in Nancy’s garden in Etobicoke!
Date: May 8, 2015
Trail Guide: http://www.torontohiking.com/tohi/rattlesnake-point-to-crawford-lake.html
Distance: 15 kms, intermediate
Who: Mary, Anne, Pam, Astrid, Nancy, Sari, Liz and Oatie