Welcome to Toronto, Canada's largest city and one of the world leaders in technology, culture, entertainment and business. The city is proud to be multicultural and is also the most populated in Canada. Toronto stands as the capital of the province of Ontario and its access to major waterways and the Great Lakes have allowed it to become a major trading center. There are many reasons to visit Toronto, like its numerous cultural festivities and the fact that it has seven major league sports teams.
If you are someone who loves to be active then you will be thrilled to hear that Toronto is a great place to go hiking as well. It is within driving distance of the famous Niagara Falls and other beautiful provincial parks, so if you want to spend some time around nature during your stay in the city then you can follow this guide to the best local hiking trails. You will be doing lots of walking so you might want to leave your things at a bag storage locker in Toronto.
Our Top Hiking Trail Picks in Toronto
Rouge Valley Conservation Centre
The Rouge Valley Conservation Centre is located about an hour North-East of the city and is right next to the Toronto Zoo so you can visit both spots in one day. The trails here will only take you about an hour or two and are not too challenging but still worth a visit.
You should follow the Vista Trail or the Mast Trail which takes you through a 200-year-old road that was once used for logging. It will bring you past by some pretty waterways like the Rouge River Valley and Little Rouge Creek. You will get to experience several different ecosystems in this conservation center, like forests and meadows, and will probably see some wildlife as well.
Humber Bay Park
We highly recommend checking out the Humber Bay Park West and Humber Bay Park East which are located in the same area right on the coast of Lake Ontario. You can get here easily by one of the main roads so you will arrive in less than half an hour by car.
There are some nice areas by the Humber River and you can watch as it flows to the lake. The park is popular among locals and visitors of all ages and experience levels so you can enjoy the trails even if you aren't an experienced hiker. It is a popular spot to walk, jog or bike since the pathways are paved. Consider renting a bicycle to ride along the 11.8 mile trail.
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
You can get to Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in just over an hour from Downtown Toronto by car. It will take you to a beautiful space by Crawford Lake surrounded by a calm forest and stunning cliffs that are part of the Niagara escarpment. We suggest taking the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail which will bring you to several viewpoints and eventually you will end up by the lake.
Some of the trails can take up to 4 or 5 hours to complete the round trip so make sure that you are prepared with the proper clothing, footwear, snacks and lots of water. If you want to take a shorter hike there are some smaller paths that circle around Rattlesnake Point that might be better suited to you, or you always have the option to begin a longer trail and backtrack.
East Don River Valley Park
The beautiful area of Don Valley is located within the city and is found near Old Toronto. You can spend 2 to 3 hours walking this route and it is not too challenging so everyone can enjoy it. You will pass by the East Don River and will also see some beautiful views of the city skyline.
You can take your time exploring the East Don Parkland trail or the lower Don River trail that will take you over bridges, through small forests and by wetlands. See how many wildflowers and wildlife you can spot.
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
This is a great spot for a hike but it is located a little further away from the city and you will have to drive for just under two hours to get here. The trails will take you to the Grand River Valley where you can take a break to wade in the water and cool off. All around you, there will be impressive cliffs that reach 22 meters high.
The adventurous trail begins in the town of Elora itself and you will get to pass by a waterfall on your journey through the park. The path is not too challenging and can be a good choice for people who want to have a relaxing hike. Start the day with a lovely brunch and then commune with nature.
For some beautiful views with the Toronto skyline in the distance you can make your way to Mount Nemo, a small mountain found about an hour away from the city. The Mount Nemo Trail will take you through a forested path to the summit of the mountain and is a good beginner trail since it is only 3.3 miles long and not too difficult, but keep in mind you will have to do a bit of climbing.
Once you reach the top you will be at an elevation of 81 meters high. It is best to visit this place during the week as it can get busy during weekends. Also, be aware that the trails can get muddy after heavy rainfall which can make them slippery, so take that into account when deciding when to climb Mount Nemo.
Visit High Park for some beautiful trails inside the city of Toronto. You won't have to travel far to reach this greenspace, so make sure to stop by while you are in town. The pathways that you can follow here are simple and accessible, making them a great spot for a family hike or relaxing walk in the early morning or afternoon.
Other than hiking, this place offers education and fun classes that can teach you about the environment and wildlife. It is the largest park in the city so you can have lots of fun exploring the paved pathways and shady forests.
Spencer Gorge Conservation Area
One of the great Toronto hiking trails is the Dundas Peak Trail in the Spencer Gorge Conservation Area. What makes this place so amazing are the Tew Falls and the Webster Falls which can both be seen in the nature reserve. You will also be shown some stunning views of Dundas, Hamilton and the gorge if you follow this path.
This place is also just over an hour away from the city and it usually takes an hour or two to complete the trail. The path is not round trip so you will walk out to a point and then turn around and follow the same path back. Be aware that this place charges a small entrance fee and you will need to pay to keep your car in the parking lot.
Slightly higher to the North you will find the Niagara escarpment, so if those cliffs that you see on Rattlesnake Point interested you then this is the place to go. This park is also not too far from Toronto and you can get there in under an hour and a half. This place is well worth visiting and is a favorite hiking trail among the locals, which is why it is named as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve site.
You will find lots of land to explore here since there are over 500 miles of main trails. You should definitely venture into the Bruce Trail, which is the longest marked footpath in all of Canada as well as the oldest. It is so big that you could spend several days exploring it, making this a great option for multi-day hikers although there are options for people of all ability levels.
Bluffer's Park will take you under an hour to reach as it is located right next to the city of Toronto. This greenspace is situated along the coast of Lake Ontario and will bring you to several places that offer great views of the water. At some points you will be about 200 feet above the lake.
When you get to the park you should take the Scarborough Bluffs Trail. The path is not too long and will only take you about an hour or two to traverse but it is well worth it.
Easy Hikes in Toronto
At High Park you will find some scenic routes and pathways that will take you through the city of Toronto. Since it is an urban hike the pathways are nicely paved and fairly flat so you won't be challenged too much by the elevation or any obstacles. It is an easy hike and good spot for beginners.
Humber Bay Park
This is another urban trail that is perfect for new hikers or anyone who wants to spend some time relaxing in nature. The walking trails are perfect for a calm stroll before going out to Downtown Toronto.
Rouge Valley Conservation Center
This greenspace is home to some wooded trails through a tranquil forest of red maple trees that change with the seasons, making it a perfect spot for a fall hike. This old logging route is a favorite among many locals and is highly recommended for everyone.
Intermediate Hikes in Toronto
Although the path to the top of Mount Nemo is not a long hike, it can still be tough for those who aren't used to being active since you will be climbing a bit. This Toronto located mountain is recommended for those who are in the intermediate level range.
East Don River Valley Park
The great thing about Don Parkland is that there are lots of trails suitable for people of all difficulty levels. If you are not too experienced in hiking you should try some of the easy hikes listed above, but if you feel as though you are ready for a more challenging hike then you can try the different trails here.
These are the best walking trails for experienced hikers who want to take it easy or for those who are new to hiking and want to challenge themselves. The dirt path in this park will take you to the Scarborough Bluffs lookout past quiet lakes, forests will tall trees and towering cliffs, and although it is not super challenging you can still enjoy the gorgeous views and fresh air.
Difficult Hikes in Toronto
The Niagara Escarpment is home to the Bruce Trail, which is one of the longest and most challenging Toronto hiking trails because it takes so long. You will be brought through beautiful forests, meadows and creeks making for a truly scenic hike. Trekkers can follow the trail or make their own path through the park, which is also home to some impressive wildlife and rare plant species.
Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
This is definitely one of the most beautiful hikes found near the city and the towering rock formations and rocky gorges make it well worth the trip. Keep in mind that the path follows rolling hills so there will be some elevation and descent during your hike which can be challenging.
Scenic Trails in Toronto
Whether you want to do day hikes or follow shorter trails, Toronto has some beautiful locations for people of all levels who love hiking. There are some stunning greenspaces both inside the city limits or just outside of it, so you can definitely hit a couple of these places during your stay.
Before going out on a hike always make sure to be prepared and bring the right equipment, even if it's not supposed to be difficult. Having the proper shoes, appropriate clothing and a hiking pack with some food is important and can make your experience much more enjoyable.