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Niagara Escarpment (Biosphere Reserve)


Caption Large Left Image: Overhead view fall, 2008, Caption Top Right Image:Behind Brock University, Caption Bottom Right Image:Ordovician rock strata

General Information

The Niagara Escarpment played a pivotal role in shaping the southern landscape of the peninsula. It stretches a total of 725 kilometers from Watertown located in northern New York all the way to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. The stretch between Hamilton, Ontario and Watertown, New York is where the escarpment reaches the greatest heights above sea level. Within that distance, the height ranges from 183 to 189 metres above sea level. The escarpment is so significant from an ecological stand point that it was recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve in 1990.


By taking the Bruce Trail throughout the Niagara Esacrpment, it provides breathtaking views and a great way to see all the Escarpment has to offer.


TripClip Audio File



Hours of Operation

Open Year-Round


From Toronto: Head Southwest on QEW approximately 96.5km
Take Exit 49 for Martindale Rd approximately 1km
Merge onto Kings Highway 406 approximately 10.3km
Take the St. David’s Rd Exit approximately 0.5km
Merge onto St. David’s Rd approximately 0.6km
Parking for the Quarry on the right
To get to the Bruce Trail proceed north on the paths through the quarry, come to Glenridge Ave, carefully cross the street and you will see the trails!
From Fort Erie: Head west on QEW towards Exit 1A approximately 30.4km
Take Exit 32 for Thorold Stone Rd approximately 0.4km
Left (west) at Thorold Stone Rd approximately 5.5km
Continue onto King’s Highway 58 approximately 3.1km
Take the St David’s Rd Exit approximately 1.5km
Left at St David’s Rd (southwest) approximately 0.5km
Parking for the Quarry on the right
To get to the Bruce Trail proceed north on the paths through the quarry, come to Glenridge Ave, carefully cross the street and you will see the trails!


The escarpment is responsible for the Niagara Falls and Niagara River Gorge, and without it the natural world wonder would not exist. The escarpment was formed prior to glaciations and has stood above sea level for approximately 245 million years. This land formation came into being during the Paleozoic Era. Some of the oldest rocks found along the Niagara Escarpment range date back approximately 430 million years. During the millions of years that followed, the sediments were compressed into rock, mainly magnesium-rich limestone and shale. The progressive action of glaciers, water flows and the elements caused the more resilient dolostone to weather at different rates than the shale, resulting in the very dramatic land forms that we see today including the sea stacks, karst formation caves, deep valleys, scenic waterfalls, rugged hills, and perhaps most remarkable, the spectacular cliffs along the Niagara Escarpment itself. Contrary to what many may think, the escarpment is not a fault line, but in fact a cuesta (large ridge formed by tilted sediment).


The diverse natural landscape contains an incredible ecosystem located in the heart of Canada's most densely populated region. In fact, biologists have stated that the Escarpment is the most diverse region in the province. It is home to a wide assortment of flora and fauna including 36 species of reptiles and amphibians, 53 species of mammals, 90 species of fish, and more than 350 species of birds. Unusual plants are also found including the walking fern. Despite the UNESCO designation and the Niagara Escarpment Plan, currently 109 species found in the Niagara Escarpment are on the threatened of endangered list.


Hiking, Walking


Note: There is no biking permitted along the Bruce Trail


Google Paths

Below is the path with destinations along the way

View interactive map and turn-by-turn directions


St. Catharines, Ontario

GPS Co-ordinates

Latitude 43.123634
Longitude -79.249148
UTM easting 642424.0885156067
UTM northing 4776032.062927955

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