A Perfect Day at Hilton Falls: hiking, 3 geocaches, lots of chickadees and waterfalls, of course

The other day my older son said “Lord of the Rings” was boring because people walked a lot and didn’t do much. And then, he added that if he wanted to read about people walking, he’d just read my blog. I don’t know if I should feel offended since he implied my blog was boring or flattered that it was compared to a classic. But here comes another post about walking.

As I mentioned in my previous post, a nature adventure was long overdue. I was hoping to go further north, like Scenic Caves near Collingwood, to do some cross-country skiing. However, my husband, always the more sensible of the two (or a buzzkill as I call him), noted that it was too much of a drive for a one-day trip. Annoyed as I was, I had to agree. It was already pretty late in the day so by the time we’d have gotten there, there wouldn’t have been much time left to ski.

In the end, we agreed on Hilton Falls Conservation Area about 30 minutes away from home. Our younger son immediately consulted his geocaching map and pronounced it a very good choice. We had brunch, packed some snacks and water, wrote down clues for the caches and were on our way.

Hilton Falls is one the Conservation Halton parks. It is the fourth one we have visited, and I must say it is my favourite so far. The falls, of course, is the main attraction but there are also over 30 kilometres of trails, including part of the famous Bruce Trail. Three of the trails are usually groomed for skiing in the winter with gear rentals available right in the park. However, with this winter being so flaky, the rentals were closed.

Hilton Falls Conservation Area trails map   Hilton Falls Conservation Area information panel

We had to settle on walking, and we couldn’t have picked a better day: fresh, crisp air, sunny skies, trees casting long shadows on the snow.

Hilton Falls Conservation Area in the winter   snow covered log

dry oak leaves   red snowball-tree berries

There were quite a few people in the park. Some were skiing (those lucky ones who brought their own gear), some were pulled in sleds. There were a couple of people on fat bikes. But the majority were walkers just like us.

fatbiking at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   fatbiking at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

hiking at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   Bruce side trail at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

We started on the Hilton Falls Trail, then turned onto Bruce, which eventually took us to the edge of Niagara Escarpment with its signature rocky outcrops and cedars.

winter walk at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   winter walk at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

rocky outcrop at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   cedar roots wrapped around the rock

The most interesting feature along the trail was a pothole. As the glaciers were retreating some 12,000-14,000 years ago, loose stones got caught in a water swirl, spinning round and round until they formed this perfectly circular, smooth well. As you can see, it also bears signs of more recent history left by some not very smart hikers.

pothole at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   pothole at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

The area around the falls was pretty busy. There was a fire going, a great place to warm up and have a snack.

campfire at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

Hand feeding chickadees was another popular activity. We received a bag of seeds when we paid our entrance fees at the gate. But our fellow bird-feeders told us that chickadees loved peanuts and shared some with us. And it seemed to work: our little group standing there with outstretched hands was attracting birds and people alike. So here is the tip: bring peanuts and seeds with you when heading to Hilton Falls.

feeding chickadees at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

feeding chickadees at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   feeding chickadees at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

chickadee on a sitting hand

chickadee eatig seeds from a hand

The Falls, of course, were the main attraction. Rushing water under the thin lace of ice looked magnificent.

frozen waterfall at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

frozen waterfall at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   froze nwaterfall at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

frozen waterfall at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   Hilton Falls in the winter

hilton falls in the winter

mill ruis at Hilton Falls Conservation Area   waterfalls at Hilton Falls Conservation Area

Once we checked out the falls and fed the birds, our son started his search for geocaches. In the end, he found three, one was particularly tricky. It was quite an achievement, I must say, considering he didn’t use any GPS devices, just a map and some clues. He says he can smell them. He couldn’t smell all of them, however, so we decided to leave the remaining geocaches for another time.

As we were leaving the park, we were treated to a splendid sight: a plump, orange wolf moon making its way through the tree branches, eventually perching on an electrical wire. A single note on a music sheet in the purple sky.

full wolf moon amog the branches   full moo among the tree branches

full wolf moon and electrical wires

full wolf moon and electrical wires

14 thoughts on “A Perfect Day at Hilton Falls: hiking, 3 geocaches, lots of chickadees and waterfalls, of course

    • Thank you, Meghan. It was a fantastic trip. The only reason I want to go further north is an opportunity to ski. There isn’t much snow around here so we haven’t been able to go skiing this winter just yet. Keeping fingers crossed for the family day weekend (mid February). We are going to Allegany State Park in NY. They have some amazing skiing trails there. Now all we need is snow.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You made me laugh with the comments about your son’s opinion of Lord of the Rings in the introductory paragraph. Kids can be so honest. 🙂 The pictures of the half frozen waterfall are incredibly beautiful! Now that’s something I definitely wouldn’t see in Queensland. Thanks for another gorgeous set of outdoor shots and interesting commentary. We both live in beautiful countries and I enjoy learning about the the contrast of seasons and landscapes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The funny thing is he does read my blog so I guess he finds it slightly better than “Lord of the Rings” 🙂 Yes, the falls were beautiful. I didn’t think they’d be frozen since this winter is so mild. I agree there is so much beauty around the world. And it’s great that we get to share our nature experiences with people on the other side of the globe. As always, thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Fall season of microadventures launched at Hilton Falls | Gone Camping

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