by Piotr Golinski
You want my advice? Just walk away from your problems. Literally. Sometimes a city walk just doesn’t cut it but you can’t afford to take time off or spend money on a cottage trip. If this applies to you, then look no further for your go-to list of great hiking trails within an hour’s drive out of Toronto. Just keep in mind to do your research and check how to prepare for each trail, some locations require a reservation, while others allow you to pay for parking upon arrival, and others are the kind of park-on-the-side-of-the-road-safely type of situation.
The Bruce Trail is a scenic hiking trail that stretches over 900 kilometers from Niagara to Tobermory. The trail is divided into nine sections, and each section offers a unique experience, from rolling hills and waterfalls to forests and rocky outcrops. Kind of like the PCT of Ontario, this trail goes through parks, private properties and conservation lands so be respectful and clean no matter where you enter it. Find more info about the Bruce Trail here.
Rouge National Urban Park
Rouge National Urban Park is located just 30 minutes from downtown Toronto and is one of the largest urban parks in North America. The park has over 40 kilometers of hiking trails, including the Mast Trail, which takes hikers through a mature forest, past towering trees, and along the banks of the Little Rouge Creek. This is also very accessible by transit and very close to the Scarborough Bluff if you want to turn your trip into a two for one! More on the park here.
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
Located less than an hour’s drive west of Toronto (without traffic), Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area is a popular hiking destination with breathtaking views of the Niagara Escarpment. The park has over 12 kilometers of trails, including the Bruce Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Read more here!
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
Located about 1.5 hours west of Toronto, the Elora Gorge Conservation Area is a unique hiking destination with stunning views of the Grand River and the gorge below. The park has over 10 kilometers of trails, including the Trans Canada Trail, which takes hikers through a mix of forests, meadows, and wetlands. Visitors are limited so make sure to check capacity restrictions and more here.
Hilton Falls Conservation Area
Located about an hour’s drive west of Toronto, the Hilton Falls Conservation Area is a scenic hiking destination with a 10-meter waterfall and over 30 kilometers of trails. The park has a variety of trails, including the Hilton Falls Trail, which takes hikers through a beautiful forest and past several scenic lookouts. It’s another Halton area park so expect to have to make a reservation here.
Forks of the Credit Park.
This is a provincial park located in the west Caledon region. It has a combination of trails, waterfalls, flyfishing opportinities and cross country skiing/snowshoeing in the winter. It’s a really great area for all types of hikers, just bring a snack and watch for turtles crossing the road on the way in! Lastly, Don’t forget to make a reservation before hand, it’s about 8 dollars per vehicle and you have four hours, they won’t let you in without the confirmation email.
These are just a few of the many great hiking trails in the GTA and surrounding areas. Each of these trails offers a unique experience, from stunning views of the surrounding landscape to beautiful forests and waterfalls. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, these trails are definitely worth exploring. Don’t forget water, a snack and some sunscreen for the perfect day out!