Top 5 Best Hiking Trails Just Outside of Mississauga

While it's certainly true that Mississauga has some gorgeous hiking trails, it's important to remember that other cities -- actually, the entire province of Ontario and, really, the entire country of Canada -- offer hikers absolutely stunning trails that are good for both avid walkers and novice wanderers.

Since fall is creeping up on us and the leaves are about to change, now is the perfect time to get out of the city and enjoy nature a little further from home.

Here are the top five hiking trails you can find just a little outside of Mississauga.

5) Crawford Lake

If you're a novice hiker who doesn't want to travel too far to enjoy a relaxing nature walk, Crawford Lake is a great choice. Located on 3115 Conservation Road in Milton, the park offers year-round activities and an Iroquoian village -- so it's good for both exercise and education (in fact, if you grew up in the GTA, you've probably visited on a school trip). The main draw is the area's meromictic lake that's surrounded by a boardwalk and relatively easy hiking trails that are good for casual strollers, people with mobility issues and families with small children. Also, if you or someone else requires more assistance, you can access an all-terrain wheelchair.

This fall, if you want to celebrate back to school time with a little education, you can check out the Season of Falling Leaves program to learn about the autumn harvest for Iroquoian people. The park is also hosting a Fall Into Nature festival with BBQs, reptile and bird shows and fire-making demonstrations.

4) Rattlesnake Point

Also in Milton (7200 Appleby Line), Rattlesnake Point is probably one of the most famous conversation areas in the province. If you're into bird watching and nature, you can see turkey vultures from the Buffalo Crag lookout point and thousand year old cedars. If you're particularly daring (and skilled), you can rock climb on a cliff face. If you like your nature time a little more Zen, you can enjoy some Yoga in the Park. The park offers easy and more challenging trials and if you really want to burn some calories (and travel a greater distance), you can take the Nassagaweya Canyon trail to Crawford Lake. The round trip is about four to five hours.

This fall, remember that, even though temperatures are dipping, you can still book a campsite for a night (each site comes with a fire pit, so you can stay warm).

3) Niagara Glen Hike

If you don't mind traveling just a little further west, the Niagara Glen nature reserve is a nice spot to hit in the fall. The area is located in the Great Gorge and boasts stairways that lead to four kilometres of paths that wind through Carolinian Forest. If you're hiking this trail, you should know that pathways in the Glen involve an elevation change of over 60 m (200 ft.) and that proper footwear is an absolute must because of the steep and sometimes rough terrain. Because the Glen is a nature reserve, you should know that you may encounter wild plants and animals. To ensure an incident-free visit, stay on the trail and follow posted instructions. Also, if you're into sightseeing, you might be happy to know that the Glen overlooks the Niagara River Whirlpool.

If you're interested in indulging in some fall events in the Niagara region, you can check out Niagara Parks' fireworks every Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and holiday until Oct. 21.

2) Spencer Gorge/Webster and Tew Falls

Did you know that Hamilton offers some exceptional sightseeing opportunities? If you're into waterfalls (aren't we all?), Webster Falls and Tew Falls should impress you (especially if you never knew they were there). A hike up to Dundas Peak in this popular conservation area boasts gorgeous views of both Hamilton and Dundas and its surrounding fauna and flora. If you're more into the idea of hiking than admiring a waterfall, note that this place doesn't offer a full-loop trail, but rather connects you to the Bruce Trail.

If you finish your hike early and want to embark on more exploration, you can check out the Hermitage Ruins, Dundurn Castle and the Hamilton Farmer's Market.

1) Bruce Trail

I'm sure you knew this one would be number one. The Bruce Trail is the oldest and longest marked footpath in Canada and it runs along the Niagara Escarpment (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve) from Niagara to Tobermory. It boasts a seemingly endless amount of hiking trails and some of them are genuinely hardcore and worth trying if you really want to challenge yourself. For example, the annual Iroquoia End-to-End hike consists of four hikes over two weekends (this year, it'll take place on Oct. 15-16 and Oct. 22-23). The hiking section is a whopping 121.7 km long, with each hike averaging 30 or more kilometres.

If you really want to stave off potential pre-holiday weight gain, these hardcore walks might interest you.

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