Family-Friendly Walking Trails in Niagara:
1. Woodend Conservation Area
(1 Taylor Rd, St. Catharines)
Woodend is located on the Niagara Escarpment, and has a network of forested trails. The trails are wide and easy to walk on and most trails can be walked in under an hour, though you could spend a few hours walking the entire Woodend trail system. There are some trails close to the edge of a cliff, so you might want to stay in the interior of the woods if you have little ones. The District School Board of Niagara has its own building at Woodend and there are rock tables for picnics. There is a nice natural playground for kids to play as well.
2. St. Johns Conservation Area
(3101 Barron Road, Thorold)
St. Johns Conservation Area has a small trail around a large pond, great for tadpole/frog and turtle watching. There are also several longer trails (but still short enough for young kids). It is a renowned hot spot for seasonal trout fishing, and is also known for bird watching and nature education.
3. Heartland Forest
(8215 Heartland Forest Road, Niagara Falls)
Heartland forest is a great nature area for the family to enjoy. There are trails, frog and turtle ponds, picnic shelters, a small playground for young kids, mini-putt and one of Canada’s largest tree-houses that offers a panoramic view of the forest. It’s free to the public and trails are open daily from early morning to dusk.
4. Dufferin Islands
(Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls)
Dufferin Islands is a quiet, secluded park containing several small islands connected by small bridges and footpaths. There is a ‘catch and release’ fish program, which is great for the kids. Dufferin Islands is free to the public and open daily, year round. It’s located just south of the Falls on the Niagara Parkway, between the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse and the Rapidsview Parking Lot.
5. Ball’s Falls Conservation Area
(3292 Sixth Avenue, Lincoln)
Ball’s Falls Conservation Area has three short trails: Forest Frolic Trail (850 m), Switch Back Trail (725 m) and the Cataract Trail (1.3 km to Lower Falls and 1.7 km to Upper Falls). The trails are fairly easy, and great for kids. There are two waterfalls, an operational mill, and numerous historical buildings.
6. Shorthills Provincial Park
(Pelham Rd, St. Catharines)
Shorthills consists of seven forested trails, ranging from 0.8km to 6km.
The Palaeozoic Trail is an easy 0.8km trail and is most suitable for strollers and young kids.
7. Burgoyne Woods
(70 Edgedale Rd, St. Catharines)
Burgoyne Woods is a nice place for a picnic or family gathering or just to go for a walk. There are two trails through wooded terrain. The first trail loop is about 650 metres and is wheelchair and stroller accessible, while the second loop will take you into a more forested area with woodchips, pavement and dirt. The winding hill in the back portion of the park is pretty steep. There are two fenced areas for large and small dogs and there is also a big playground.
8. Malcomson Eco Park
(345 Waterfront Trail, St. Catharines)
Malcolmson Park is located on the north side of Lakeshore Road at Niagara Street. It is adjacent to the Welland Canal at Lock One. The Welland Canal Parkway Trail and the Waterfront Trail both travel through this park. There are several short trails through forest, meadows, and wetlands. Great for kids and strollers.
9. Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site
(400 St David’s Rd, St Catharines)
The Glenridge Quarry Naturalization Site is a large public open space with attractions for families, school children, environmentalists, walkers, joggers, hikers and bird watchers. Only half of the trail is treed, the rest of the trail doesn’t offer much shade.
Kids will love walking the boardwalk by the pond filled with catfish and geese, climbing the big rocks, and going through the small tunnel.
10. Welland Canal Parkway
A wide paved trail running along the Welland Canal from St. Catharines to Port Colborne, this trail offers a lot for families. It’s great for strollers and bikes. There are several playgrounds along the way, a museum at Lock 3 and you can also watch the ships go by as you walk.