Hilton Falls

Happy Wednesday, all! I hope everyone is staying warm and safe inside on this seriously snowy day.

Last week, I wrote about one of my favourite winter hiking spots: Felker’s Falls. (Click here to read the post if you missed it!) Today I wanted to share another local hiking trail featuring an equally beautiful waterfall: Hilton Falls Conservation Area.

Operated by Conservation Halton, Hilton Falls is a 1590-acre park located in Milton on the Niagara Escarpment. The conservation area features three hiking trails, a reservoir, the ruins of three 19th century sawmills, and of course, the falls themselves. In addition to being a great hiking spot, the park is also popular with bird watchers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers. Tania and I had always wanted to visit Hilton Falls but had never been, so last weekend, we set out to experience the area for ourselves.

Admission to Hilton Falls Conservation Area is $9.75 per adult and reservations must be made in advance online. If you have a Conservation Halton parks pass, admission is free! (Savvy tip: you can usually rent a pass from a local library, though there may be a bit of a wait. Tania and I borrowed ours through our Burlington Public Library membership; passes can be checked out for one week.)

Hilton Falls has three main hiking trails: the Hilton Falls Trail, the Red Oak Trail, and the Beaver Dam Trail. (More adventurous hikers can access the Bruce Trail system via one of the park’s side trails.) We decided to do the Hilton Falls Trail, which takes hikers directly to the falls. Note that this isn’t a loop trail; it goes from the parking lot to the falls and then you’ll walk back the same way. It’s about 3 kilometres total there and back. The trail is relatively easy and mostly flat, which makes it a great option for a winter hike.

It was a relatively quiet day when we visited the park and there weren’t many other hikers on the trail, allowing us to really enjoy the peaceful beauty of the area. We loved walking through the canopies of tall trees. You could really smell the pine; it took us back to Christmas time!

After walking for about half an hour, we heard trickling water and knew we were almost at the falls. Right before you reach the falls, there’s an area with campfire pits! We weren’t expecting this so it was a nice surprise. Apparently the park staff lights the fires on weekends, but you’re welcome to light them yourself on weekdays – the park provides a pile of firewood for visitors to use. The campfires were all occupied, but it was nice to see people enjoying them, and we even saw a couple of people hand-feeding chickadees. Apparently Hilton Falls is a popular spot for birders! I made a mental note to come back with some birdseed next time.

After passing through the fire pit area, we got to a short set of stairs that take visitors down to see the falls. We were hoping the waterfall would be frozen over, and we were partially in luck: one side of the waterfall had frozen into giant icicles, while the other side was still flowing! It was pretty neat to see that side by side. The falls themselves are ten metres tall and quite impressive. From the stairs, you’ll also get a great view of the rocky cliffs.

After enjoying the beauty of the falls for a few minutes, we headed back the way we came towards the parking lot. The hike took approximately one hour, which in my opinion, is the perfect length of time for a winter hike! By the time we got back to the car, I was ready to head to our next destination – a cute local coffee shop (which I’ll blog about shortly) to warm up over lattes and croissants.

Conservation Halton has eight beautiful parks to visit, and now that we live in the area, my goal is to visit all of them by the end of 2023. (I’ve already been to four out of eight, so I’m well on my way!) We’re actually planning to visit Mountsberg Conservation Area this weekend for their Winterlit event – I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!

Have you visited any of the Conservation Halton parks? Which is your favourite?

2 responses to “Hilton Falls”

  1. Great pics!


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