The breathtaking Mast Trail in Toronto follows a 200-year-old logging route
The five-kilometre loop trail leads from the Glen Rouge Campground to the head of the Vista and Orchard trails at Twyn Rivers Drive and follows the path of what used to be an old logging route in the 1800s.
The straight white pines in the area, which made perfect masts for ships, were cut and sent floating down the river toward Lake Ontario, eventually making their way to various European shipyards.
Today the area is home to a rare Carolinian forest, with those same skinny pines that were so sought after 200 years ago still dominating the landscape.
During the often steep ascent, sets of natural staircases have been created from roots and old logs will help you on your way.
The pathway ascends high above Little Rouge Creek and provides plenty of side trails to explore to keep the hike interesting. They come easy-to-navigate and all eventually connect back to the main trail.
Breaking away from the main trail along the walk will reward you with access points down to the river where you can take in some killer views.
Closer toward Twyn Rivers Drive, near a free parking lot, the terrain changes slightly, going from a deep and shady forest to a wide open meadow.
A steep and slightly daunting hill is reminiscent of the Caper Valley Ski Hill that used to be here. The old ski hill had a lift and chalet back in the 1950s when it was among just a handful of spots, like Earl Bales Park, offering urban skiing.
It's still clear of trees and provides a cardio burst to anyone passing through who's up to the challenge. Just don't expect to find much at the top of the hill beyond an old concrete block that used to support the lift.
If you're looking for a more leisurely route, the better option would be to cool down near Little Rouge Creek. The foundations of a former dam still sit at the edge of the riverbank, making for the perfect picnic spot.
But if that spot is already taken, anywhere along the steadily flowing creek will do.
There's a white arched bridge at Twyn Rivers Drive that's named after the twin rivers of the Rouge and its lesser-known counterpart, the Little Rouge Creek, that runs through this section of the valley.
Join the conversation Load comments