Hikers warned to use extreme caution on Hamilton trails

Hikers are being asked to exercise extreme caution on the trails in and around Hamilton in the wake of last weekend’s ice storm.

Bruce Trail through Hamilton remains open, while some parks, routes in Halton are closed

This March 9, 2008 file photo shows a cross-country skier along the Bruce Trail on the Niagara Escarpment in Milton. (J.P. Moczulski/The Associated Press)

Hikers are being asked to exercise extreme caution on the trails in and around Hamilton in the wake of last weekend’s ice storm.

The Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club, which monitors the section of the natural thoroughfare that runs between Grimsby and Milton, says anyone walking the route should be prepared to turn back because of possible closures and blockages.

“Obviously, the ice has brought down a number of branches and trees onto the trail,” said Ken Lawday, the club’s trail director. “We’d recommend, rather than bushwhack and go off the trail, that people turn back just for their own safety.”

He said trail-goers on the Bruce should look for hazards such as tree limbs lying on the ground, broken branches hanging overhead and falling ice. He also recommended that people invest in Icers — treads with metal spikes that attach to the bottom of a person’s boots — to prevent slipping on snow or ice.

Downed trees and branches litter the Bruce Trail after last weekend's ice storm. (Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club/Facebook)

“People should make sure they have a warm drink and some food, and to be prepared to maybe be out for slightly longer than they think.”

This weekend’s ice storm felled tree branches and power lines across Hamilton, temporarily leaving thousands without electricity. Rural and suburban areas of Hamilton, including parts of Flamborough, Waterdown, Glanbrook, Mount Hope and Upper Stoney Creek, bore the brunt of the damage.

The conditions have spurred Conservation Halton to close the parks and trails it manages until January 2. The Hamilton Conservation Authority and the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) say their trails remain open, but warn hikers to take particular care.

However, the RBG has cancelled its Get Back to Nature walk on Sunday because the parking lot is currently closed at the Rock Chapel loop.

The guided hikes will resume on Jan. 5.