Short Hills Provincial Park
Situated just 15 minutes southwest of St. Catherines, Short Hills Provincial Park has over 23km of trails that pass through fields and forests and over many, many hills. This is a great location for families, hikers, bikers, pets, and even horses! There are so many trail options available that everyone can find something they’ll enjoy.
Entrances & Parking:
There are 3 main entrances to the park, each with their own parking lot. The northern entrance is off Pelham Road and this is where the trailhead is located. The eastern parking lot is just off Wiley Road and starting your day here will put you half way through the Black Walnut trail. The southern entrance is off Roland Road and here you can start on the Swayze Falls trail or take the Palaeozoic Path. All parking lots are free to use.
About the Park:
Short Hills Provincial Park is 735 hectares in size and is classified as a non-operating park (no visitor facilities). The park opens at dawn and is available for use until 10pm. Camping and fires are not permitted in the park.
Short Hills Provincial Park has 7 unique trails that range from 1km to almost 6.5km, with most close to 2.5km. Yellow coloured trails are multipurpose trails and allow both cyclists and horses to share the way with hikers. Blue trails are restricted to hikers only and the red trail is for hikers and persons with physical disabilities. Each of the trails offer a unique challenge and take you through a variety of scenery. The trails also connect at multiple point throughout the park which allows you to create your own hiking experience.
#1 Swayze Falls* – 6.2km – Yellow – Hard
#2 Black Walnut – 4.3km – Yellow – Hard
#3 Palaeozoic Path** – 0.8km – Red – Simple
#4 Scarlet Tanager – 2.3km – Blue – Average
#5 Hemlock Valley – 2.8km – Blue – Average
#6 Terrace Creek – 4.6km – Blue – Hard
#7 Very Berry Trail – 2.6km – Yellow – Hard
* Values and ratings might be slightly off as trail was rerouted in June 2012
** Trail is designed for those with physical challenges
Short Hills Provincial Park has numerous streams that run across the width of the park. Along two of the streams the park hosts a couple of great waterfalls. Swayze Falls is located just after the Swayze Falls trail continues past the Palaeozoic Path. You will be able to see the viewing platform from the benches on the Palaeozoic Path and if you’re able to, the view would be worth the walk. Though the falls have little to no water most of the time, the rock structure is interesting and the gorge is quite deep. On the eastern side of the park you will find Terrace Falls along the southern section of the Terrace Creek trail. You will see the falls as you walk east along the trail, they are impossible to miss. Terrace Falls is situated in the middle of the forest which gives it an excellent backdrop but it too seems to suffer from low water flow.
We’ve visited Short Hills Provincial Park numerous times as it makes a great stop on the way to Niagara Falls. Each time we’ve been we’ve had a great experience.