Written by Emily Zabanah, Volunteer Writer
Are you an outdoor enthusiast looking to explore the breathtaking landscapes around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)? Look no further! Whether you’re a beginner seeking a leisurely stroll, an intermediate hiker craving a challenge, or an expert trailblazer wanting an adrenaline rush, the GTHA has a diverse array of trails to cater to all skill levels and interests. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey of the best trails for both cycling and walking that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty the region has to offer.
Remember to pack essentials like water, snacks, proper footwear, and a fully charged phone with trail maps. Always adhere to trail rules and regulations, respecting the environment and other trail users.
The Don Valley Brick Works Park offers a perfect starting point for beginners who want to enjoy a leisurely walk or a pleasant cycle. This reclaimed industrial site boasts scenic ponds, historic ruins, and well-maintained walking paths. It’s an ideal spot for picnics with family and friends or an educational visit to learn about Toronto’s history.
Lush greenery during the summer
Snow covered pathways during the winter
For those seeking a calming stroll in the most ecologically diverse community in the Credit River Watershed, the Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga is a must-visit. Nestled in the heart of the city, the trails consist of woodlands, meadows and tablelands, ravines and slopes, wetlands, creeks and floodplain, and former agricultural lands. The beautiful network of trails is a peaceful retreat away from the urban hustle and bustle.
Fall colours at Riverwood Conservancy
Crothers Woods is a hidden gem within the city of Toronto, offering a network of beginner-friendly trails amongst lush greenery. This urban oasis is perfect for a peaceful walk or a laid-back bike ride, and it’s an excellent place for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.
Cycling trails at Crothers Woods
Embark on an intermediate hiking adventure at Rattlesnake Point, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas from the Niagara Escarpment. The trail meanders through lush forests, impressive cliffs, and lookout points that offer sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
View from Rattlesnake Point
The Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest marked footpath, has a variety of sections to explore. The Crawford Lake section is particularly captivating, featuring a boardwalk around the meromictic lake (a lake in which the layers of water do not intermix) and passing through landscapes filled with diverse flora and fauna.
Snow covered boardwalk at Bruce Trail
Tucked away in the heart of Toronto’s Beaches neighborhood, the Glen Stewart Ravine is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. This intermediate trail takes you on a journey through a lush, forested ravine, offering a peaceful escape from the city. As you walk or cycle along the winding paths, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees, tranquil streams, and vibrant wildlife. The ravine’s natural beauty is particularly enchanting during the spring and fall seasons when the foliage displays an array of colors.
For seasoned hikers seeking a challenge, the Dundas Peak trail is the pinnacle of adventure. This demanding trail leads you through steep ascents and descents, but the stunning panoramic views of Hamilton and the Spencer Gorge make every step worthwhile. Don’t forget your camera to capture the picturesque landscapes.
Fall views from Dundas Peak
Located in Burlington, the Mount Nemo Conservation Area offers an expert-level trail that provides hikers with a captivating experience through the Niagara Escarpment’s unique geological formations. The trail includes challenging sections with rocky terrain and steep ascents, making it ideal for seasoned hikers seeking a thrilling adventure.
If you’re an experienced hiker or cyclist seeking adventure, the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park is a well-kept secret worth discovering. Located near Orangeville, this park features a network of challenging trails that wind through the stunning Niagara Escarpment terrain. As you venture deeper into the park, you’ll encounter hidden caves, limestone cliffs, and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The park’s diverse ecosystems support a variety of flora and fauna, making it a fantastic spot for nature enthusiasts.
Climb the Mono Cliffs stairs
Whether you’re an avid hiker, a casual walker, or a seasoned cyclist, the GTHA has an abundance of trails to cater to your preferences and skill level. From serene paths to challenging escarpment hikes, every trail presents a unique opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the region. So, lace up your hiking boots or hop on your bike, and embark on a memorable adventure through the best trails in the GTHA.