Things to do in Toronto

Hiking Places in Toronto

See Toronto from a new perspective on one of the city's excellent hiking trails.

With a population of nearly 3 million, Toronto is a true concrete jungle. It's also home to an extensive, well-maintained network of parks and trails that extend from the downtown core to the outer edges of the metro area. If you want to discover Canada's largest city on foot, the opportunities are endless. Hiking is one of our favorite things to do in Toronto.

The best hiking places in the city welcome all types of hikers. The terrain is mostly flat, and you can tackle most trails in regular sneakers — no special gear required.

Downtown Toronto

With its towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, Downtown Toronto seems like an unlikely spot for hiking. But looking around, you'd never guess one of the best-kept hidden gems in Toronto—and locals' favorite outdoor recreational area—is just a few minutes away.

1. Toronto Islands

Lace up your sneakers and head to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to catch a boat to the Toronto Islands. A breezy 15-minute ride brings you to Toronto Island Park, a massive green space that stretches across 15 different islands in Lake Ontario.

With nearly 15 kilometres (that’s just over nine miles) of multi-use trails, you can hike or bike to your heart's content. The terrain is gentle, the vibe is relaxed, and the city skyline views are spectacular. It's the perfect spot for an easy hike or a family adventure.

Distance from Toronto: 3.9 kilometres (9.3 miles)
Time to complete: 2.5 hours
Entry fee: Free park entry and a CAD $9.11 ferry ticket

East Toronto

This area stretches along Lake Ontario, offering easy access to gorgeous Toronto hikes and stunning views. Whether you want a quiet, meditative hike or a beachside stroll, you don't need to drive far to find a trail that fits the bill.

2. Tommy Thompson Park

Tommy Thompson Park feels like an island escape on the long, narrow Leslie Street Spit. The 16-kilometre (9.9 mile) trail network is a peaceful oasis since the park prohibits pets and amplified music to protect the wildlife.

Spring and summer bring lush green foliage and excellent bird-watching. Watch for the wild owls that roost in the trees in the winter.

Distance from Toronto: 6.1 kilometres
Time to complete: 2-3 hours
Entry fee: Free

3. Scarborough Bluffs Park

Scarborough Bluffs Park is one of Toronto's most popular hiking spots, and it's easy to see why. The scenic trail takes you past sandy beaches, thick forests, and steep bluffs that rise dramatically from Lake Ontario.

Leave yourself ample time to complete the 10.3-kilometre (6.4 mile) route, as every bend in the trail reveals another breathtaking view. This hike is gorgeous in the fall when the changing leaves turn the trees to vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. The edges of the bluffs can be unstable, so it's essential to stick to the path.

Distance from Toronto: 17 kilometres (10.56 miles)
Time to complete: 1.25 hours
Entry fee: Free

Photographer: Eric Aiden

West Toronto

Set a short distance from downtown, West Toronto buzzes with young professionals, hipsters, and everyone in between. It's also an excellent spot for urban hiking, with local parks providing a serene break from the city's fast pace.

4. High Park

Enjoy a leisurely hike or run on the trails at High Park. The 5-kilometre (3.10 miles) park loop is partially paved and accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, and you can explore the side trails for a longer walk.

This isn't your ordinary city hike. Most of the park's 400 acres are natural, so you can explore a black oak savannah or look for wildlife in the picturesque Grenadier Pond. Our performers love to stop for photos in Maple Leaf Gardens, where red flowers form the shape of Canada's national symbol—the maple leaf, of course.

Distance from Toronto: 8.4 kilometres (5.21)
Time to complete: 1 hour
Entry fee: Free

5. Humber Bay Park West

Are you looking for a quick and easy Toronto hike? Drive straight to the beginner-friendly 1.7-kilometre (approximately one mile-long) trail at Humber Bay Park West. It's flat, paved, and accessible for hikers of all skill levels. The path ends at the adorable Toronto East Entrance Inner Lighthouse, which has been guiding ships to safety since 1898.

Pro tip: Come back after dark for awe-inspiring views of the CN Tower and Downtown Toronto.

Distance from Toronto: 11 kilometres (6.8 miles)
Time to complete: 20-30 minutes
Entry fee: Free

North Toronto

North Toronto is a suburban hiker's paradise with its rolling terrain and large forested areas. This area is home to some of the best Toronto parks, and you'll often share the trails with locals who are out for a run or an evening stroll.

6. Sunnybrook Park

Sunnybrook Park was once a privately owned horse farm. Today, it's one of the most magnificent hiking spots in Toronto. As you follow the trails through thick stands of trees and past open meadows, you can imagine you're deep in the wilderness.

You can choose from various short paths, including the paved Road Apples Loop. Many routes connect to adjacent parks to allow longer hikes. We love the river views on the Wilket Creek Trail.

Distance from Toronto: 16 kilometre (9.9 miles)
Time to complete: 30-60 minutes
Entry fee: Free, although some parking lots charge a fee

7. Earl Bales Park

Walking through the forest at Earl Bales Park, it's hard to believe Toronto is only a few miles away. The tall trees and ponds feel like a wild escape, but you're never more than a few minutes from the surrounding residential neighborhood.

If you like our performers and love a good workout, climbing the hills at the on-site ski center is a great way to get your heart pumping.

Distance from Toronto: 13.6 kilometres (8.4 miles)
Time to complete: 40-60 minutes
Entry fee: Free

Photographer: Jeffrey Eisen

Central Toronto

Although Central Toronto is densely populated, it offers a surprisingly extensive trail network. The area's best hiking trails are tucked into ravines, which create a comforting feeling of seclusion and peace—a balm for the soul after a busy day.

8. Moore Park Ravine

If you love the scenic variety of a loop trail, Moore Park Ravine is the ideal place for hiking in Toronto. Hop on the Beltline Trail at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It turns into Park Drive Reservation Trail near the Glen Road Bridge and brings you back to the starting point for 6.1 kilometres.

Take a detour to the Prince Edward Viaduct for a fun side quest. If you don't feel like driving, St. Clair Station is a short walk from the trail.

Distance from Toronto: 5.6 kilometres (about 3.5 miles)
Time to complete: 1-1.5 hours
Entry fee: Free

9. Don Valley Brick Works Park

Hike through a historic brick quarry at Don Valley Brick Works Park, just off the Moore Park Ravine. Here, you can choose your own adventure on the maze-like trails blanketing the steep hillside.

Keep an eye out for the ponds. They're part of the city's effort to re-naturalize former industrial areas. You might even spot a few birders searching for red-tailed hawks and European starlings.

Distance from Toronto: 5.6 kilometres (roughly 3.5 miles long)
Time to complete: 30-60 minutes
Entry fee: Free

10. Cedarvale Ravine

Surround yourself with nature in the Cedarvale Ravine. A lovely out-and-back trail runs through a forested ravine, providing a pleasant and relaxing getaway.

The path is mostly flat and made from packed dirt, so it's accessible for beginner hikers, strollers, and bikes. Go on the weekend or weekday evenings, and you'll often see local families out for a stroll.

Distance from Toronto: 6.2 kilometres (3.8 miles)
Time to complete: 1.5 hours
Entry fee: Free

Greater Toronto Area

Locals know the best hiking places in Toronto sit just outside the city. If you're willing to venture beyond the city center, you'll be rewarded with spectacular natural areas and some of the most varied trails in the region.

11. Rouge National Urban Park

Despite its name, Rouge National Urban Park feels anything but urban. When you summit one of the bluffs and survey the surrounding forests, it feels like the heart of the Canadian wilderness. It's understandable — at more than 77 square kilometres in size (almost 50 miles), this is one of the biggest urban parks in the world.

You can choose from 16 trails ranging from 0.5 to 10.7 kilometres long. Our favorite is the Cedar Trail, which offers a tranquil forest trek and excellent wildlife-watching opportunities.

Distance from Toronto: 35 kilometres (21.7 miles)
Time to complete: 15 minutes to 4 hours
Entry fee: Free

Photographer: Jeffrey Eisen

Scarborough (27 km from Toronto)

Scarborough is the hidden gem of the Toronto hiking scene. The city has an extensive, interconnected park system, and you can hike for miles without setting foot on a sidewalk.

12. Guild Park and Gardens

Guild Park and Gardens has been a hub for Toronto artists since the 1930s. You'll see evidence of this creative tradition as you hike. Outdoor sculptures and fragments of historic buildings are scattered throughout the park.

One of the most striking spots is the Greek Theatre, made from towering columns that once stood before the Bank of Toronto. Keep hiking along the tree-lined trail to find the historic Osterhout Log Cabin and panoramic views of Lake Ontario.

Distance from Toronto: 21 kilometres (about 13 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour
Entry fee: Free

13. Morningside Park

With its impeccably maintained trails and river views, Morningside Park offers some of Toronto's most beautiful urban hiking. The pastoral landscape is most spectacular in the spring and summer when the trees seem impossibly lush.

Extend your hike by walking east through the University of Toronto Scarborough campus and onto Colonel Danforth Park. Keep going to eventually hit the Waterfront Trail that parallels the shore of Lake Ontario.

Distance from Toronto: 32 kilometres (almost 20 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour
Entry fee: Free

Photographer: Justin Ziadeh

Etobicoke (13 km from Toronto)

Etobicoke sits between Toronto and Mississauga, stretching from Lake Ontario to the Claireville Conservation Area. Tucked into the densely populated residential neighborhoods, a park and green way network provides easy access to outdoor adventure.

14. Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Nestled on the shores of Lake Ontario, Colonel Samuel Smith Park offers fresh breezes and views for days. The terrain might be flat, but plenty keeps you entertained. Watch for birds at the North Creek Wetland Lookout, or go yacht-spotting at the marina.

When the temperature spikes, stop at 3rd Beach for a refreshing swim. In the winter, the city turns part of the path into an ice trail. Strap on your skates and glide through the trees for a truly Canadian experience.

Distance from Toronto: 17.6 kilometres (almost 11 miles)
Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Entry fee: Free

15. Centennial Park

Hikes in Centennial Park are short and sweet, ideal for an evening excursion or a quick afternoon workout. Walk around the quiet Joe Benesh Pond but avoid the aggressive geese, or watch the action as you hike next to the disc golf course.

The park is enormous, so it feels relaxing even on busy days. Coming with kids? You might even see planes taking off from the nearby Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Distance from Toronto: 23 kilometres (14.2 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour
Entry fee: Free

North York

Drive north from downtown Toronto to find the bustling city of North York. Ravines and greenways stretch across the city, ensuring you're never far from your next great hike.

16. G. Ross Lord Park

Slip your fishing gear in your pack during a G. Ross Lord Park hike. That way, you can take a break at the G. Ross Lord Reservoir and try to reel in a carp or bullhead. Not an angler? The park's 4-kilometre (2.5 mile) trail network is an adventure all on its own.

It's remarkably diverse, with paths that climb through the forest, cross rivers, and pass through expansive fields. The city grooms the park trails for cross-country skiing when there's enough snow.

Distance from Toronto: 18 kilometres (11.1 miles)
Time to complete: 1 hour
Entry fee: Free

17. Downsview Park

If you like to spot rare birds while you hike, Downsview Park should be at the top of your list. This park, home to more than 215 bird species, offers some of the most exciting bird-watching of all the Toronto hiking trails.

We love the large web of trails filled with scenic surprises. Both the Circuit Path and the Sesquicentennial Trail are paved and fully accessible.

Distance from Toronto: 17.5 kilometres (10.8 miles)
Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Entry fee: Free

East York

East York is one of the greenest cities in the Toronto metro area. A vast stretch of parklands bisects this largely residential area, and most local homes are within 3 kilometres (1.86 miles) of a hiking trail.

18. Taylor Creek Park

Taylor Creek Park is a long, narrow park that stretches from Don Valley Parkway to Warden Woods. Hike the 3-kilometre (1.8 mile) Taylor Creek Trail from the park to the Taylor Creek Dog Park, or head northeast and explore the thickly forested Gus Harris Trail.

Both routes change dramatically with the seasons, giving you a front-row seat to the spring buds, the colorful fall leaves, and the winter snows.

Distance from Toronto: 11 kilometre (6.8 miles)
Time to complete: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Entry fee: Free

Photographer: Nikos Vlachos

19. Todmorden Mills Park

Get a glimpse into Toronto's industrial past at Todmorden Mills Park. Check out the historic paper mill and stroll through the trees on the park's short trail system. It's a breeze to navigate, even if you're coming with kids or hikers with limited mobility. Looking for something a little longer? The 12-kilometre (7.45-mile) Lower Don River Trail is close by.

Distance from Toronto: 6 kilometre (3.7 miles)
Time to complete: 30 minutes
Entry fee: Free

Step Into Nature's Embrace With Toronto's Hidden Hiking Gems

The hiking trails in Toronto are one of the best parts of the city. They offer a fresh perspective on Ontario's capital. No matter which nature trail you choose, you'll finish feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

As you hike, you'll witness many elements that inspire our creative team. See these natural influences come to life on stage, and discover the mystery and wonder for yourself at our shows in Toronto.

More articles about