The top 10 walking trails in Toronto
Walking trails in Toronto differ from hiking paths because they are less physically challenging and easier to navigate. For the most part, these are nature trails with a wide berth that you can leisurely stroll along without breaking a sweat, though some are slightly more undulating than others.
Here are my picks for the top walking trails in Toronto.
This is already one of the prettiest places to walk in Toronto and extensive renovations to the site's infrastructure over the past few years have made it much easier to stroll under the remarkable tree canopy, all thanks to long boardwalk and improved pedestrian bridges.
One of Toronto's most underrated valleys, this green space is lined with walking trails that generally see very limited bike use, which means you don't have to worry about sudden interactions with cyclists. If you're looking to extend your trip, you can cross Bayview Avenue and head to Sunnybrook Park.
You can hear the gentle hum of the DVP as you explore this ravine near Lawrence and Don Mills, but you'll still feel far away from the city as you explore a lush landscape that even includes a beaver pond. Part of this trail leads to the iconic rainbow tunnel that thousands drive by every day.
Composed of three sections, the Beltline Trail stretches nine kilometres in length, following a long-abandoned commuter rail line. It's mostly flat and feels adequately secluded in numerous sections despite its proximity to the developed urban environment that surrounds it.
There are lots of trails to explore in High Park, but my favourite one runs alongside the western edge of the park beside Ellis Park Avenue before pulling alongside Grenadier Pond, which it follows all the way to the south end of the park. Early mornings are particularly pretty here.
The main difference between these two closely linked sets of trails is difficulty level. The Sun Valley loop is a double track path that's primarily flat once you get into the valley. It's an easy walk. For something more challenging, try the trails of Crothers Woods.
This largely paved multi-use path does have its fair share of bike traffic, but it's still worth exploring for its scenic route, which travels from the Humber Bay to the marshes around Old Mill and all the way up to Scarlett Woods.
If you're looking for urban solitude, you're likely to find it in this section of the Don Valley ravine system. You can go long stretches without seeing other people while following the trail that winds alongside the river.
This wide ravine trail can get quite busy on summer weekends, and it's easy to understand why. With a lovely tree canopy and connections to the Don Valley Brick Works and David A. Balfour Park, it's an ideally-placed natural escape near the heart of the city.
The newest trail on this list is on the short side, but it's both paved and nicely secluded, so it makes for an excellent little walk. Formerly a CN Rail line, there are plenty of signs of its past life as you travel from York Mills almost to a point just north of Eglinton Avenue.
Greg Southern Ontario of the Don Valley Rainbow. With files from Derek Flack.
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