With warmer weather finally on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about all the fun activities you’ll soon be enjoying outside.
That’s right, the days of hibernating indoors binge-watching countless hours of Netflix will soon be behind us and we’ll be able to head outdoors and stretch our legs and conquer the trails.
From family-friendly trails to challenging climbs, we’ve rounded up 19 hiking trails in and around Toronto that are waiting to be explored this spring.
So regardless of your hiking experience or where you live, chances are we’ve found a hiking trail that’s perfect for you.
If you’re looking for a hike that offers rewarding views, a visit to Scarborough Bluffs needs to be on your list this spring. Not only will you discover some of the most Instagram-worthy views in the city, but also plenty of walking trails below the bluffs that lead through the park as well as trails that run between the cliffs and the park.
Just over an hour from downtown Toronto, you’ll find Beamer Memorial, which is easily home to the best lookout point in Ontario. On clear days, hikers can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Niagara Escarpment, as well as the picturesque cliffs and falls along the trails.
Part of the Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls Conservation Area, hikers can enjoy the Spencer Adventure Trail, which connects from Christie Lake all the way to the Dundas Peak. From raging waterfalls to lush green views as far as the eyes can see, this is one of the most stunning nature areas in Ontario.
There’s more to High Park in the spring than its photo-worthy cherry blossoms. Newcomers to High Park are blown away by the park’s vastness and number of hiking trails. A hike through the sprawling park offers diverse vegetation, wildlife, a peaceful lake, a zoo and even a dog park.
With over 40 km of scenic nature trails to explore and plenty of spots to stop for a picnic, Albion Hills is the perfect escape from the city. And while the Albion Hills trails are currently closed because of winter weather, they’ll be opening once it gets warmer.
Located about 1.5 hours from Toronto (on a good traffic day), you’ll find DeCew Falls, a picturesque plunging waterfall located by a historic mill. Spend an afternoon exploring the mill, hiking along the Bruce Trail and, if it’s warm enough, you can even take a dip near the Falls.
Speaking of the Bruce Trail, no list with ‘hiking’ in the title is complete without mentioning Canada’s oldest and longest footpath. If you can’t find a stretch of trail to enjoy among the 1300 km at your disposal, it’s a safe bet to assume hiking just isn’t for you.
For a nature-filled walk along the water, hit the Leslie Street Spit and Tommy Thompson Park – the largest existing natural habitat on the city’s waterfront. Here, your hike will come with close to 400 plant species, many of which are nationally and provincially rare, wildlife and stunning views of Lake Ontario.
Canada’s first and only national urban park is perhaps Toronto’s best-kept secret and boasts plenty of hiking terrain to match. Located just under an hour from downtown Toronto, Rouge National Urban Park is home to nine exciting trails, each of which comes with their own unique feature and level of difficulty.
Winding through the Elora Gorge Conservation area, this 10 km trail boasts scenic overlooks which provide hikers with stunning views of the picturesque 20-metre waterfall and sweeping views of the gorge.
Rattlesnake Point is home to 12 km of space to explore including countless caves and cliff lines which offer hikers breathtaking views of the country below. There are three trails to choose from depending on your experience, with the most challenging running 7.2 km (round trip) to the Crawford Lake Conservation Area.
The Ganaraska Hiking Trail is over 400 km long running from Port Hope on Lake Ontario to the Bruce Trail near Collingwood, with side trails to Wasaga Beach and Midland. Whether you’re an expert hiker looking to explore remote areas or you’re looking for a family-friendly hike, Ganaraska offers something for everyone.
The Don River Valley is home to a network of trails, providing the perfect location for hikers to connect to nature in the heart of the city. Spanning from Pottery Road south to Corktown Common at the mouth of Lake Ontario, the 200-hectare park is home to numerous trails for both hikers and cyclists to enjoy, providing an idyllic escape from the city.
The West Humber Trail offers hikers a mix of paved, hard-packed and grassy trails, as the hike takes you through peaceful gardens, woodlands and along the West Humber River leading to some significant features in the city’s west end.
Joker’s Hill is well maintained throughout the year, making it a go-to spot for hikers and dog owners. Home to the infamous ’99 Steps’, this conservation area is best suited to people who are in good physical condition and enjoy a challenge. Trails can be accessed from the main entrance located on Bathurst Street.
While Whitby is a bit of a trek from Toronto, Lynde Shores Conservation Area is definitely worth the drive. Best known for its wildlife viewing opportunities, Lynde Shores offers easy trails, many of which are paved and are suitable all fitness levels. Chances are, you’ll come for a workout and leave with a few wildlife selfies as the squirrels and birds are very friendly.
If you’re looking for an easier trail that boasts incredible views all within the city limit, a visit to the trails at Evergreen Brick Works needs to be in order. A climb up the hill in the back of the Brick Works buildings rewards hikers with a sprawling view of the city’s landscape.
Just under an hour west of downtown Toronto is Mount Nemo, a peaceful escape from the city filled with incredible wildlife and panoramic escarpment views. Mount Nemo is home to 5 km of trails that are challenging enough for a workout, but friendly enough for dogs and children to enjoy.
This heavily wooded terrain is quite hilly with some rolling sections. Ideally, the hiking trails at Hockley Valley are great for those looking to enjoy a good cardio workout and don’t mind breaking a serious sweat.