Silver Creek Conservation Area is one of the best places to go hiking in Halton Hills, Ontario. One of the best trails in Ontario, the Bruce Trail, meanders through the conservation area. You’ll also have the opportunity to hike several of the Bruce Trail Side Trails.
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Silver Creek is the largest of all the Credit Valley Conservation Areas. You can easily spend the entire day there or explore the park over several visits.
Map of the Hiking Trails at Silver Creek
Here’s a Silver Creek Conservation Area map. This map is posted on a sign at the entrance to the conservation area, but it isn’t posted anywhere else around the park. I suggest you save this map to your phone or take a photo of the one posted at the park before you begin your trek.
The small dot in the middle of the map shows the entrance. Our hike formed a loop starting with the Roberts Side Trail, looping on the Bruce Trail, and then linking up with the Irwin Quarry Side Trail that eventually loops back to the start (red, green, and orange trails).
As you can see, we didn’t tackle any of the trails southwest of the entrance. We’ll have to save those hikes for another day. Naturally, if we decide to return and hike those trails, I’ll come back and update this blog post!
Hiking at Silver Creek Conservation Area
Silver Creek Conservation Area is a wonderful place to go for a hike. The hiking trails are a mix between easy and more challenging, alternating between a flat path and rocky trails. You’ll encounter lots of intriguing scenery along the way: lush forests, scenic lookouts, escarpment and valleys, and Silver Creek itself.
Roberts Side Trail
When we started hiking on these Halton Hills trails, the first sign we noticed to the left of the entrance was for the Roberts Side Trail. You’ll see all of the Bruce Trail Side Trail signs in blue, and the trail blazes on the trees are also blue. Follow the blue blazes along the way so you stick to the trail without getting lost.
The Roberts Side Trail is 1.6km long. If you connect with the main Bruce Trail and loop back to the start, it’s a 2.8km loop. As we started our hike towards the middle to end of May, we immediately noticed that the trilliums were fully in bloom. There were thousands of white trilliums on either side of the path. The white flowers faced the sunshine and us as we hiked along the trail. I haven’t ever seen so many trilliums all at once, so it was quite the beautiful sight to behold.
At one point, we reached a wooden boardwalk as a raised path through the forest. While there wasn’t any water beneath the boardwalk, I imagine that the boardwalk protects hikers from any rising water levels from the creek. The boardwalk leads to a scenic overlook of a wider portion of Silver Creek. The trees reflected in the still water, and birds chirped and hopped from tree to tree.
Eventually, we reached the end of the Roberts Side Trail and had the choice of turning left or right at the white trail blazes denoting the Bruce Trail. We opted to loop back around towards the beginning again as we planned to take another side trail before our journey ended.
The Bruce Trail
The Bruce Trail is also an interesting portion of this hike. Wander through a mature woodlot between rows of tall trees. Spring is such a pretty time of year to go hiking in Halton Hills, Ontario. Leaves and buds are forming on the trees that lay barren for so many months. My only word of warning: it’s quite buggy here. There are black flies that will be a bit of a nuisance. Bring bug spray to protect yourself from black flies, mosquitoes, and ticks on the trails. I didn’t see any signs warning about ticks, but it’s best to be safe.
The trail seemingly comes to a dead end at a scenic lookout. There are trees as far as you can see, and you’re at the top of the escarpment overlooking a valley. Turning back around, we realized that the Bruce Trail continued around the bend, so we forged ahead.
There are massive, mossy rocks dotting the landscape that are the remnants left by a receding glacier. The green, fuzzy rocks and huge escarpment walls reminded me a little bit of our trip to Iceland, traversing through parts of Thingvellir National Park!
Irwin Quarry Side Trail
The Irwin Quarry Side Trail is another side trail of the Bruce Trail. Follow the blue blazes as you descend down into the valley below. The path is fairly narrow here and dotted with rocks. Watch your step! You’ll be hiking mostly on rocks or on parts of the trail between the rocks. Part of the rail used to be an old quarry access road.
If you also stop seeing the blue blazes at any point, you might have missed your turn. At one point in time, we stopped seeing the blue blazes and hit a dead end on the path. Once we backtracked, Justin and I saw that the trail takes a turn and we missed it. Some of the blue blazes are a little faded or the trees may have fallen over. I find that it’s easy to start daydreaming while hiking and I will stop paying attention to the blazes.
The Irwin Quarry Side Trail will loop back to the main Bruce Trail at the entrance to the park. You’ll know when you’re getting close when you can hear the sound of cars or traffic. It isn’t a very busy area, but it’s pretty jarring once you’ve spent a couple of hours in the silence of nature. Back to reality!
More Hiking Trails
There’s way more to explore at Silver Creek Conservation Area. We didn’t have the chance to hike the rest of the Bruce Trail in this region. There’s also The Great Esker Side Trail, the Maureen Smith Side Trail, and the Walking Fern Side Trail. If you want to continue farther, a trail connects Silver Creek Conservation Area to nearby Terra Cotta Conservation Area.
Plan Your Visit
Here’s a map of where you’ll find Silver Creek Conservation Area. The entrance to the park is near the intersection of Side Road 27 and Fallbrook Trail. There’s parking on the side of the road here (I didn’t see any parking lots). Silver Creek Conservation Area is a trail based conservation area, meaning that there are no restrooms or facilities. It’s free to visit and there aren’t any staff members on site.
What to Bring on a Hike
A proper pair of hiking shoes is an absolute must. It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen and lots of water, too. My water bottle of choice is the GRAYL Purifier because you can drink ANY water from any source, no matter what. Water from lakes, streams, rivers, public restrooms, you name it. It’s the world’s fastest portable purifier. Get your hands on one ASAP!
Don’t forget to pack some bug spray because there can be biting bugs depending on the time of year. Even if there aren’t any signs, it’s safe to assume that ticks are all over Ontario hiking trails. Protect yourself against ticks by reading our guide to avoiding ticks on the trails.
More Credit Valley Conservation Hikes
There are several Credit Valley Conservation Areas in Mississauga, Halton Hills, Caledon, and beyond. Here are all of the Credit Valley Conservation Areas:
- Silver Creek Conservation Area
- Terra Cotta Conservation Area
- Cheltenham Badlands
- Island Lake Conservation Area
- Belfountain Conservation Area
- Ken Whillans Resource Management Area
- Elora Cataract Trailway
- Limehouse Conservation Area
- Meadowvale Conservation Area
- Rattray Marsh Conservation Area
- Upper Credit Conservation Area
- Riverwood Conservancy (owned by CVC & City of Mississauga)
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