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Much of the trail of this hike is along the rushing water of Grindstone Creek as the water tumbles over the [LINK=/tohi/grindstone-creek-great-falls.html]Great Falls[/LINK] and rushes down over a rocky creek bed forming numerous rapids in the creek below.
Grindstone Creek is one of five creeks within the Hamilton Harbour / Burlington Bay watershed. Shaped by glaciers, its watershed is approximately 90 square kilometers in size. Its headwaters originate near Harpers Corners in north Flamborough, traverses the Niagara Escarpment near Waterdown, winds through Hidden Valley in Burlington before emptying into Hamilton Harbour / Burlington Bay. It carries about 14% of the natural water that flows into Hamilton Harbour / Burlington Bay.
The Grindstone watershed falls within the northernmost limit of the [LINK=/tohi/ecology-features/carolinian-zone.html]Carolinian Forest Zone[/LINK] in Southern Ontario. It includes the greatest diversity of wildlife of any Carolinian Forest Zone, including species found nowhere else in Canada.
Grindstone Creek was once a powerful and pristine waterway that supported a thriving milling industry in Waterdown, filled with fish and wildlife. Entering Lake Ontario at the western tip, the lower creek and marshes provided one of the most significant Lake Ontario fish nurseries and migratory bird stopovers of the region. Over the years, changes to the Grindstone, including dam building, tree cutting, wetland filling, urbanization and introduced species have all contributed to its decline. At its lowest, the Grindstone lacked enough water to fight a 1922 fire that ravaged Waterdown.
However, overall it remains among the higher quality creeks of Lake Ontario, and with some focused stewardship, guided by Halton Conservation Authority's Grindstone Creek Watershed Plan, the creek can be reinvigorated.