The Dundas Valley is a 1200 hectare conservation area located on the Niagara escarpment in Dundas Ontario. Dundas Valley includes Carolinian forests, colourful meadows, cold water streams, an array of rare plants, birds and wildlife, and stunning geological formations.The 40km trail system of the Dundas valley was developed by, and is owned and maintained by the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA). If you’re walking through this valley for the first time, the main loop is a good place to start.You will walk through a mature deciduous forest, an old apple orchard, an open meadow, Hermitage ruins, and hemlock groves. I love walking through the Dundas Valley.
When I first started I would walk the main loop then I started walking along the other trails that branched off the main loop. It’s always fun and exciting to walk along and discover new trails. Some of the other trails that I mentioned in my other blogs (McCormack, Sulphur Springs, Sawmill, Monarch), are actually part of the Dundas Valley trail system.
Many waterfalls can be found in the Dundas Valley; Sherman Falls, Hermitage falls, Canterbury Falls, Griffin Falls to name a few. The main loop is approximately 3.5 km.
There used to be free parking on the Lions Club Road from Sherman Falls all the way up to the Canterbury campsite. The City of Hamilton has now installed “No Stopping” signage along Lions Club Rd. A new parking area has been provided on Artaban Rd. A day use fee is in effect.
One of the side trails off the main loop is Trail Centre. Trail Centre is a modern replica of a Victorian railway station. Adjacent to it is a remnant of the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway track, with a 1929 executive coach car and a 1931 baggage car which was donated by the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Another feature in the Dundas Valley is the Griffin House located on Mineral Springs Rd just off the Homestead Trail. The Griffin House is a National Historic Site of Canada. Griffin House was built in 1827 by Englishmen in Ancaster, and was purchased along with the surrounding 50 acres, by Enerals Griffins and his wife Priscilla.
The Griffin House is recognized as an important Canadian Black History Site. Enerals and Priscilla Griffins were African-American slaves who came to Upper Canada in 1829 seeking a better life, free from slavery. Griffin purchased the house in 1834 and settled here with his family. For over 150 years the Griffin family descendants lived and worked on the farm as members of the Ancaster Community. In 1988 the house was sold to the Hamilton Conservation Authority.
Another feature seen on the Dundas Loop is the Hermitage Ruins, and the Hermitage Gatehouse. The Hermitage was originally built by the Reverend George Sheed. Story has it that Otto Ives and his wife Magdelene arrived in Ancaster in 1833 from Greece bringing her sister or niece as company for Mrs Ives. They bought the property from heirs of Reverend Sheed. Mr. Ives hired a coachman named William Black who was also an English tutor. William Black fell in love with the sister or niece, and asked for her hand in marriage. Mr. Ives rejected William’s proposal. Legend has it that William Black hung himself from the rafters in the barn as a result.
Legend also has it that the Hermitage, now ruins is haunted. The Gatehouse can be found off the Sulphur Springs road and the Hermitage Falls is just inside the entrance.