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Hiking in Toronto and the Surrounding Regions
 
Hiking: There are dozens of trials within Toronto and dozens more in the surrounding regions. In Toronto the ravines offer excellent hiking. You can also take advantage of the incredible system of trails and walkways that connect the ravines. Although you may have to take a short detour along a street, you can often plan a route which is almost entirely in a natural setting. You can reach a lot of the trails by bus, subway or even the Go Train, giving you no excuse, for not getting out there.  
 
  The surrounding region provides a lot of different natural settings from forest to field to river gorges and beaches. In the city, the Toronto Parks Department maintains most of the trails, in the surrounding regions the Conservation Authorities and the Provincial Parks are largely responsible. Of course there are private trail associations as well. All of the responsible groups welcome a helping hand so don't be shy about giving back a little.
 
Metro Toronto
  • The Waterfront Trail - This is an excellent example of what can be done with some determination and dedicated individuals. This most interesting of trails, runs 350km from Stoney Creek on the western shore of Lake Ontario to Quinte West in the east (Quinte West in the East, hmm!). There are dozens of natural areas along route in Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks including forests, marshes and beach areas. There are dozens of access points throughout the Toronto and Mississauga area. Although it's a groomed trail surface, don't think of it as a concrete path, the trail passes through some of the nicest natural settings on Lake Ontario's north shore. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*
  • Humber River Trail - 32km, Multi-use, Easy - The Humber River Trail is located in the cities central area (but north west of the core), just to the west of Jane Street. The Humber Ravine has a multi-use trail (you'll share it with cyclists) which essentially extends from Lake Ontario to the 401 and beyond. Perhaps the trails nicest section is the area below Eglington Avenue which includes (from the south), South Humber Park, the Humber Marshes, King's Mill Park, Etienne Brule Park, the Lambton Woods and Scarlett Mills Park. Above Eglington the trail skirts a number of golf courses. You can access the trail from dozens of locations (click on one of the parks above and follow the link to get more info. on the park along with detailed access information) including Bloor or Eglington or if you wish take the subway to the Old Mill subway station which provides easy access to Etienne Brule Park.
  • Don River Trail - 20km, Multi-use, Easy - The Don River Trail is located in the central area of the city east of Yonge St. You can access it from dozens of sites in the city including the Don Valley Brick Works, Riverdale Park, E.T. Seton Park and Charles Sauriol Conservation Reserve. There are trails that allow access from Taylor Creek Park and Sunnybrook Park as well. While the trail follows in the shadows of the expressway of the same name but don't get the wrong impression, the trail winds through some lovely natural areas and interconnects with dozens of others. In the upper part of the trail the historic brickworks is worth a look. As you approach the lake you'll find your self back to urban reality but rather than fight it, why not take advantage of it with a drink on a bistros sunny patio.
  • Rouge River Trail - 10km, Multi-use, Easy. - Fox, Rabbits, Raccoons, Pheasant, Grouse and White Tailed Deer. No, it's not the Zoo but it is located nearby. Starting above the 401, just to the south of the Metro Zoo and stretching all the way to Lake Ontario, Rouge Park is a remarkable 11,000 plus acres of natural splendor in an urban area. You can access the Rouge River Trail just south of the Zoo or on Twin Rivers Rd. off of Sheppard. This multi-use trail (not just bikes, watch out for horses) follows the river south where it continues through Glen Rouge Park and Campgrounds (campgrounds in the city are common in Europe, lets hope this idea catches on here) and onto Rouge Beach Park, until it empties into Lake Ontario.
  • Tommy Thompson Park (Leslie St. Spit) - 9km, Multi-use, Easy - This man made spit is testimony to how we can successfully reclaim or in this case actually develop natural habitat. Certainly this wasn't the original aim, and while it was mans construction work, it was natures methods that provided the reclamation. The proof of natures success is the fact that this area is arguably the best birding site in or around Toronto, with almost 300 different species identified. Terns, Geese, Sandpipers, Gulls and Black Crowned Herons are common, while species rarely seen else where in southern Ontario are often sighted. The hiking along the spit is, shudder, paved but the really interesting parts are the trails that swing out to several short arms along the spit's edges. There is a light house at the end of the spit. * For more information click on the link for the park*
  • High Park - The park protects a beautiful area of Black Oak Savannah within the city. While largely an urban park, much of it is in a natural state. There are short trails everywhere through out the park. Our favorites are the trails in and around Grenadier Lake. You'll find several species of duck in this picturesque pond with its over hanging willows and surround paths. The park is easily accessed from Bloor St at Parkdale or you can take the subway to the High Park Station. * For more information click on the link for the park*

Toronto Region

  • Bruce Trail - This is Ontario's premier hiking and backpacking trail extending almost 800km in length. You can access it from a number of areas in the Toronto region. The trail starts in the south near the falls at Niagara and heads north to the Bruce Peninsula, terminating in the beautiful little town of Tobermory. Hikers love this trail not only for it's natural wonders but also for the large number of access points allowing you to customize your hike.In the Toronto Region there are a number of access points to the Bruce in the Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas. These include the Terra Cotta Conservation Area, the Ken Whillans Resource Management Area, both managed by the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, Albion Hills, Glen Haffy managed by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority and the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. There are many more access points in the nearby region. Check out our featured listing for the trail and make sure you pick up a copy of the Bruce Trail Trail Reference which is excellent.
  • Burk Trail - 1.25 km, Easy. Located in Darlington Provincial Park, the trail follows through a mix of habitats on its way to the bluffs. The overlook gives you an excellent view of Lake Ontario below. There are several other trails in the park, which also has connections into the Waterfront Trail. The park is just off of highway 401, a short drive east of Toronto just outside of Oshawa off of the 401.* For more information click on the link for the park*
  • Ravine Trail - 2.7km, Easy. Located in Bronte Creek Provincial Park, this is a very nice hike following one of the river watersheds that are typical of this area. The trail follows the length of the park and is nicely forested. You find a interesting look off point along the trail. The park has several other trails you can choose from. The park is located east of Toronto just off the QEW west of Burlington. * For more information click on the link for the park*
  • Hockley Valley Trails - 12km, Intermediate. Located in Hockley Valley Provincial Park the trials are a set of interconnected loops which wind up and down the escarpement and along the Nottawasaga River. The park offers access to the Bruce Trail.The park is locate north of Orangeville on Hockley Valley road about 5km to the east of highway 10.* For more information click on the link for the park*
  • Credit Falls Trail - 6km, Easy. The trail is an easy loop within the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. The reward for the two hour walk is the impressive site of the Credit Falls just below the town of Cateract. The park offers access to the Bruce Trail. Take highway 24 from Caladon, then take 2nd line south to the park. Caladon can be reached from highway 10 from the 401. * For more information click on the link for the park*

Backpacking Trails: The following are from our "Backpacking Section". Most of these trails are also excellent for hiking since they have multiple access points, allowing for almost any length or difficulty of hike.

  • Ganaraska Trail The trail starts on the shores of Lake Ontario at Port Hope, less than an hour from Toronto. From there it wends its way north before veering to the west above Lake Simcoe and passed Barrie on the way to Wasaga Beach on the shores of Georgian Bay. The section above Moore Falls north of Port Hope is considered the most difficult and only suitable for seasoned hikers. Once the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail is complete you will be able to combine it with the Bruce and the Ganaraska creating a long distance extended loop. Description - The Pine Ridge section starts at the cairn opposite the Town hall in Port Hope, beside the Ganaraska River and within sight of Lake Ontario. The wilderness section above this starts in Moore Falls, where highway 35 meets the Black Lake Cottage road. The Peterborough section is almost entirely in Victoria County. The Orillia section starts in Sadowa and ends after 68 kilometers at the Sugarbush Estate, south of Horseshoe Valley Road, about 10 km east of highway 400. This section of the trail is mostly flat and suitable for novices. The Mad River section is named after the Mad River, which it parallels for some distance. It has a length of 55 kilometers and ends at the end-of-trail cairn. The Midland section splits off from the main trail in the Copeland Forest, about three kilometers east of Craighurst. It swings through Copeland Forest and then heads north toward Midland along country paths and forests. The Wasaga section of the trail winds through the sand hills of beautiful Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. Map From the Ganaraska Trail Association *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*
  • Oak Ridges Moraine Trail - A Work in Progress - The completed sections include Uxbridge, King, and Scugog and the association is working to develop the Aurora, Caledon, Whitchurch and Ganaraska areas. Why not give them a hand, go to their website to see how you can help.*For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*
  • The Waterfront Trail - Not a wilderness and some might say not a backpacking trail at all. This most interesting of trails, travels a distance of 350km from Stoney Creek on the western shore of Lake Ontario to Quinte West in the east (sounds funny doesn't it). There are ample campgrounds along route in Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks. One big advantage to being close to (it runs right through the city of Toronto) urban areas is the reduced need to carry a lot of food. Don't think this is a concrete foot path, it passes through some of the nicest natural settings on Lake Ontario's north shore. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*

  • The following backpacking trails are several hours to a days drive from Toronto

  • Voyageur Trail - This is a very ambitious project which takes advantage of a number of the trails already in place. Traveling along the shores of Lake Superior, the North Channel of Georgian Bay then through the rugged beauty of Manitoulin island, this will be a spectacular and very difficult trail when it's completed. For the truly ambitious, you can connect to the Bruce Trail by using the South Bay to Tobermory ferry to continue hiking down to Niagara Falls. The trail will run from South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island to Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario a total of 1,100km. To date, over 600km have been completed including established sections in Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park along the spectacular north shore of Superior. *For more information contact the trail association through their web site.*
  • La Cloche Silhouette Trial - Out-There's Killarney Provincial Park - Located in Killarney Provincial Park, the La Cloche Silhouette loop is a seven to ten day hike approximately 100 km in length. The trail takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ontario. It includes forested sections, as well as ridge hiking along the La Cloche Mountains. Many of the camp sites along the way are located lakeside and are shared by canoeists. This is a tough backpack and you should be in shape if you intend to complete the whole thing. A trail map can be purchased from the Friends of Killarney Park. *For more information contact the Friends or Killarney Provincial Park through their web site.*
  • Abes and Essen Trail - The trail consists of three overlapping loops. The loops from shortest to longest take about 1.5, 4 and 7hrs to complete and provide a great weekend getaway or a single overnight trip. There is an excellent lookout above Essen Lake providing a nice panoramic view. All of the campsites are lake side, a pleasant setting for a weary backpacker which of course also offers the possiblity of a refreshing swim. *For more information contact Bone Echo Provincial Park or the Friends of Bone Echo through their web site.
  • Western Uplands Trail - Out-There's Algonquin - Intermediate-Expert, Multiple Loops. Access is off Hwy 60 near the west gate but you can also access it from the other end off of route 11, through Kearney. This is an excellent backpacking area which is often over shadowed by the parks canoe reputation. There are over 100km (includes loop sections) of trail with dozens of campsites along route, many or which are lakeside. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*
  • Highland Backpacking Trail - Out-There's Algonquin - Intermediate, Loop. Located in the center of the park's main corridor off highway 60. The trail consists of two loops with a total length of about 33km. The shorter most accessible loop circles Provoking Lake.*For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*
  • Eastern Pines Backpacking Trail - Out-There's Algonquin - Novice, Intermediate - A set of loops located in the parks eastern section, outside of the main corridor its accessible from Hwy 17. This is a great place to bring novices since the trail provides camping not far from the trail head. There are other options that are more challenging for the more experienced. *For more information contact the Friends of Algonquin or Algonquin Provincial Park through their web site.*
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