warden woods toronto

This secluded forest in Toronto is perfect for a nature stroll

Warden Woods is a 35-hectare piece of land around the Taylor-Massey Creek and an absolutely beautiful forest for a nature stroll. 

Located in the east end of Toronto, Gus Harris Trail leads you through the thickly-forested valley between St. Clair and Pharmacy Avenue. 

warden woods toronto

Massive inclines slope steeply down from the residential streets above into the woods. 

The 3.2-kilometre trail provides some breathtaking nature views as it winds through the mature forest that’s approaching old-growth conditions and past its steep valley slopes. 

warden woods toronto

The trail winds sharply through the forest making for a breathtaking nature walk. 

Reaching 20 metres (65 feet) high, the valley's contour was shaped by erosion around the creek some 12,000 years ago when a larger Massey Creek drained a retreating glacier into the ancient Glacial Lake Iroquois

As this happened, the sand was cut to form the Scarborough Bluffs and the dramatic shapes found in Warden Woods. 

warden woods toronto

The quiet forest is approaching old-growth conditions, with rare understorey plants surrounding the trail.

The high sand banks around the creek and trail continue to erode to this day. It’s partly due to these sandy cliffs that the land has been protected from development all this time. 

warden woods toronto

There's still a lot of erosion along the creek’s banks that continue to disintegrate to this day. 

This is good news for the many plants and animals that live within the high and dense forest canopy surrounded on all sides by mass development and urbanization.

warden woods toronto

The dense woods are a critical habitat for plenty of plants and animals in the area. 

Taylor-Massey Creek runs through Warden Woods and its neighbour to the west, Taylor Creek Park, before pouring into the larger main channel of the Don River. 

warden woods toronto

The Taylor-Massey Creek flows 16 kilometres before draining into the Don River. 

The trail sticks close to the scenic river the entire duration of the hike. 

warden woods toronto

There are a few spots where you can make your way down to the river for some scenic views. 

Once you hit the impressive bridge that can't be missed due to its massive archways on either end, you'll have the option to cross over to the other side of the babbling water. 

There's a dirt pathway on that side that also makes for a picturesque walk. 

warden woods toronto

The bridge gives access to the opposite side of the river where you can wander even deeper into the forest. 

If you’re coming by TTC, Warden subway station is just a five-minute walk from the park's north entrance at St. Clair Avenue East and Warden Avenue.

warden woods toronto

A staircase heading down into the ravine gives you access to the trail at the north entrance. 

The south end of the trail is less than a 10-minute walk from Victoria Park station. If you’re driving, there’s a parking lot at Pharmacy Avenue and Teesdale Place just past the off-leash dog park. 

warden woods toronto

Photos by

Olivia Little 

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