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Best Hiking Trails Toronto

author
Ellen Grant
• Tuesday, 17 November, 2020
• 9 min read

Toronto is filled with hidden trails that wind through parks and wooded areas, past rivers and lakes, and that are home to many flora and fauna to keep you engaged and excited throughout your journey on one of many nature trails on this list. This trail gives access to exceptional views of Lake Ontario and the Scarborough Bluffs, an escarpment that runs along the eastern waterfront of Toronto.

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Contents

Doris McCarthy Trail is a pathway that leads from Ravine Drive, off Kingston Road to the Lake Ontario through Gates Galley. The area has incredible biodiversity, which adds to your experience out in this blend of culture, agricultural, and natural landscapes.

Toronto’s beloved High Park offers around 5 kilometers of a loop trail that features the wonderful wilderness feeling right in the midst of the city. It is a park home too much wildlife, a pond, and plenty of rare plant species.

As you make your way along the trail, you can marvel at the art, spend some time at the river, or simply enjoy this nature experience interwoven into the city. Bluffer’s Park is located at the base of the famous Scarborough Bluffs, and is known for its beach, lookouts, and trails.

Over 300 recorded species of birds reside here, and so do panoramic views of Toronto’s skyline. The wooded trail is filled with wildlife and has views of the city skyline, and also features a farmers’ market on Saturdays.

This hidden gem is a nature escape in Toronto that is open year-round, offering a transition from city to wilderness. It was designated an Environmentally Significant Area by conservation authorities and is frequented by nature lovers, while the winding 2.4-kilometer trail is popular with beginner hikers.

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Details The Belt line is a popular trail set on an old railway line in the city. You may have passed the famous rainbow tunnel entrance on the path, a public art piece that is complimented by another internal mural.

Named after the elected representative of the former North York Council, the Betty Sutherland Trail is a big part of Toronto’s improvements to access to recreation. Details This 6.1-kilometer loop trail is a lush and forested nature walk that travels through an impressive canopy of maple, beech, and oak trees.

Rest awhile at the many benches provided along the trails overlooking Lake Ontario and delight in the spectacular scenery. The footpaths take you from the Glen don Forest to Sunny brook Park, and can even take you north to the Edward Gardens, or southeast to the Toronto Waterfront.

Taylor Creek Park boasts mature forests, scrub communities and marsh habitat that is home to wildlife and rare plants. The many paths exhibit the stunning spring, summer, and fall colors and changes and is a multi-use 5.6-kilometer trail shrouded in forest.

Located west of Ontario Place at the Lake Shore Boulevard waterfront, this stunning park features a boardwalk along the shore, green areas for picnics and relaxation, as well as biking and walking trails. The park is designed by a landscape architecture, explaining the uniform and well-constructed path for a comfortable stroll among the trees by the water.

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Enjoy the sounds of more than 170 birds as you amble along paths that meander through dense bushes and trees and along the Lake Ontario bluffs. The Lamb ton Woods is a natural environment that contains deciduous forests on steep valley slopes around small wetlands.

Sunny brook Park is your opportunity to hike through the world-famous ravines and enjoy the fall leaves, the crisp air, and the overall dominance of nature. There is a magic with the Sunny brook Park paths, where you can truly enjoy the rivers and creeks in a hidden atmosphere.

Details Head onto the Colonel Danforth Park’s paved trail system that runs through the park, and check out the white-tailed deer, the fall salon running up the highland creek, and lake and beach views. With botanical gardens and conservation areas, this forested walk is a sublime way to enjoy a sunny day in the big city.

Author John Muir once said, ‘Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few are dirt.’ Whether you’re hiking for exercise, walking the dog, or simply to get out into nature, we list 10 great trails in the Greater Toronto Area to explore on foot. The Joker’s Hill Trail and Thornton Bales Conservation Area is well maintained throughout the seasons and is a favorite spot for local dog owners.

Joker’s Hill Conservation Area, 17186 Bathurst St, Newmarket, ON, Canada Hamilton may be best known for its steel factories, but many are unaware it’s also considered by some to be the “waterfall capital of the world”.

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The Scarborough Bluffs are popular with tourists in the summer as the peaks offer spectacular views of Lake Ontario and the escarpment. The trails are moderately easy, but proper footwear should be worn while hiking the peaks due to uneven footing and rock movement.

Pristine sandy beaches located at the bottom of the Bluffs are a relaxing end to an afternoon of hiking. Best known for its wildlife viewing opportunities, Lynne Shores offers easy trails, many of which are paved and are suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.

At the southern tip of the trail is an entrance to a secluded beach which many swans call home in the summer. Rattlesnake Point offers hikes along the cliff line, and exploration of countless caves.

The foliage rich paths presents a tranquil escape from the city, and you can book a pitch at one of the many campsites if you’re after a full weekend of nature. Fishing is permitted along the scenic pond and is popular in the summer and early autumn.

The trail is moderately easy, ideal for all age groups, and is well maintained throughout the year. Best visited in the autumn for the stunning panoramic views and colorful foliage, the Niagara escarpment can be seen for miles on a clear day.

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Between March and May, dozens of bald eagles can be seen flying over the area during their spring migration, which attracts quite a crowd on weekends. In the spring, High Park offers stunning views of the Japanese cherry trees in blossom.

Located in the heart of Toronto, Evergreen Brickwork is an urban community space that occupies a former farm and brick factory that was built in the 1880s. Today, it offers community gathering spaces, as well as several footpaths and trails that are accessible to hikers of all levels and families so that they can get to know the vast outdoor and environmental opportunities in the Don River area.

The paths pass by the peaceful Grenadier Pond and through miles of shady forested areas, perfect for an early morning walk or a mid-day stroll. Because its mission is to help Toronto locals learn about the environment, the park also offers lots of classes about the outdoors, wildlife, and gardening.

Photo Credit: Karin Lewis (Built) (Flickr CC) Trail Length: 10.9 kilometers Location: East Don Parkland Situated in the outskirts of the city, the East Don Parkland trail is a wonderful and convenient place to go hiking in Toronto.

Located on the Don River Watershed, the park area consists of several waterways that all flow into Lake Ontario. On a hike through, you’ll encounter some very picturesque historic bridges, tons of waterways, and paved pathways perfect for hikers of all levels.

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Photo Credit: Ashton Emanuel (Flickr CC) Trail Length: 19 kilometers Location: Downtown Toronto Along the way, you’ll find recreation areas, wooded patches, scenic waterways and bridges, and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

With towering, rugged cliffs bordering teal blue lake waters, this stunning recreation area is perfect for photographers or hikers seeking a true break from the city grind. Located along Lake Ontario, the trail here leads you down to the beach, where you can wander and view the amazing bluffs (just don’t climb them, or you’ll face a hefty fine).

As Scarborough Bluffs is one of the most popular day trips from Toronto, we’d strongly recommend going early in the morning to avoid heavy crowds along the trails. Passing through 2.2 miles of forests, meadows, and scenic waterfalls, the trail is a perfect escape from the concrete and noise of the city.

While there is a bit of an incline, the trail is fairly easy and accessible, and the rewards (and photo opportunities) of the surrounding scenery are well worth the hike! Note that this trail can get a little slippery and muddy, so it’s important to wear solid hiking boots and avoid after heavy rainfall.

For a tranquil outdoor getaway that’s not far from the city, the Rouge Valley Vista Trail is a fantastic place to experience the natural attractions that Toronto has to offer. This forest trail is quiet and peaceful, and offers lovely views of the creeks nearby, especially in the fall when the leaves blaze red, orange, and yellow.

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Photo Credit: Sean Marshall (Flickr CC) Trail Length: 5.3 kilometers Location: Mount Nemo Conservation Area This forested trail is just 3.3 miles, but will take you up to the summit of Mount Nemo, which boasts views of the Toronto skyline and the nearby farmlands and countryside.

The Sundas Peak Trail is an absolutely epic place to go hiking in Toronto, featuring a historic mill and some stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Spencer Gorge waterfalls. Needless to say, you’ll find peaceful waterways, easy, paved paths, and a bit of quiet on this beautiful trail.

Photo Credit: Chung Ho Lung (Flickr CC) Trail Length: 8 kilometers Location: Mono Cliffs Provincial Park Mono Cliffs is one of Ontario’s most beautiful provincial parks, and the Cliff-Top Side Trail is the perfect way to explore all it has to offer.

During the winter, this trail can get very icy and slippery, so be sure to bring crampons and/or micros pikes and proceed with caution if you choose to hike in cold weather. Locals love this trail because it has dirt paths and feels separate from the city, but isn’t too difficult or exposed.

Photo Credit: Eric Parker (Flickr CC) Trail Length: 11 kilometers Location: Tommy Thompson Park You can still see piles of rubble and concrete along the trail, but amateur artists will frequently turn these into small pieces of temporary art.

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Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars as the park is a bird sanctuary, offering wildlife watchers plenty of things to do on this long hike near Toronto. Locals recommend bringing a GPS or map with you as the trail seems to be poorly marked, making it easy to get lost.

Photo Credit: NDH (Flickr CC) Trail Length: 10.5 kilometers Location: Crawford Lake Conservation Area Majestic forests, striking rock formations and canyons, and sweeping viewpoints characterize this 10.5-kilometer trail, which has fairly challenging ascents and descents.

In the springtime, the entire trail turns bright green and has lots of local wildflowers blooming along the edges. This rocky path consists of lots of scrambling and frequent ascents and descents, but you’ll be rewarded with the stunning views of the Grotto (pictured above), as well as a cold dip in its teal blue waters.

The Ganaraska Trail is one of Canada’s longest hiking trails, and hiking a stretch of it is a rite of passage for any Canadian hiker. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool base layers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell.

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