The Hamilton, Ontario area has some great hiking trails that are free to the public and not overly used. For a nice change from the packed Halton-region conservation areas and trails, Crooks’ Hollow Conservation Area near Dundas, Ontario is a great alternative.
It’s also a perfect alternative to Hamilton’s busy waterfalls. Whereas Webster’s Falls, Tews Falls and other falls in the area are hugely popular, Crooks’ Hollow Trail is less travelled.
The Crooks’ Hollow trail that runs along Spencer Creek and into Christie Lake, is a quiet spot with the occasional fellow-hiker walking along. This trail, run by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, is not long – approximately a 3.5 km round trip. Nevertheless, it’s very scenic at any time of the year, especially the Fall. Deciduous trees offer a very colourful view, particularly along the creek.
History All Around You
This trail by Spencer Creek is also a historic route with several interesting spots along the way. The area was settled by United Empire Loyalists – James Crooks and Jonathan Morden. Both built mills in this area of the creek.
Dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the remains of the various old buildings along the way give the location a bit of a spooky vibe. This makes for a perfect for a walk around Halloween time. It’s an easy walk, so it’s ideal for families with little kids.
The best preserved are the remains of Darnley Mill, closer to Christie Lake Conservation area. This was the gristmill built by James Crooks and named after his hero, Lord Darnley.
Our route at Crooks’ Hollow Conservation Area
We started out at Greensville Optimist Park (access at Brock Road 46, Bullock’s Corner) walking along Spencer Creek. This is also a good spot for a walk, however you will find the occasional piece of furniture thrown into the creek from one of the bridges along the way.
The one thing you will note about these trails – they are fairly clean and well-kept. There’s little garbage on the ground as compared to some of the other trails we have been on in the area. This may be partly due to fewer people on them.
Ideal spot for fall foliage photography
As the trees were just starting to show their brilliant colours this past Thanksgiving weekend, we can probably expect some more colour over the next week. This is another good spot to take your camera for those brilliant fall foliage scenes. The best time to walk west along Spencer Creek is late afternoon as the sun is setting – it lights up the colourful trees on the opposite side of the creek.
Bring along a map of the trail. Along the way you’ll see interpretive signs about the history of the area.
Have you hiked the trail at Crooks’ Hollow Conservation Area?