ONTARIO'S HIKING TRAILS
from Hike Ontario
ONTARIO'S HIKING TRAILS
reprinted with permission from Hike Ontario
These trails, all affiliated with Hike Ontario, are developed and managed by local volunteer trail clubs. Trails often cross over private land and the exact landowner agreement depends on local conditions. Therefore commercial groups and large outside groups wishing to use the trails are asked to contact the local clubs, to minimize possible problems and impacts. Individual hikers are welcome to use these trails, but you should purchase the local guidebook to confirm the latest route. You may consider joining the trail clubs to give them your support. In all cases the trail may have been changed without notice: in case of divergence the blazes marking the trail take priority over the guidebook description. Trails that have a web site can be accessed from this page or from the 'Long Distance Trails' page.
1185 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 411,
Toronto, Ontario M3C 3C6
Ph. 416-426-7362, Fax 416-426-7045,
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , Web www.hikeontario.com
Membership and guidebook costs are correct as of September 2000. However, you should be aware that these may change. Shipping charges are extra unless stated otherwise.
The Avon Trail runs close to Stratford with a side loop up the Avon River to the Festival Theatre. 13 km of trail are within Wildwood Conservation Area; the rest follows pleasant creek valleys through woods and agricultural land, including the farms of the Mennonites near Waterloo. It links the Thames Valley Trail at St. Marys with the Grand Valley Trail at Conestogo. The difficulty of the trail ranges from easy to moderate; no camping is allowed on the trail. Length: 100 km. Membership: $15. Guidebook, 1998 edition: $7 (members), $10 (non-members).
Avon Trail, Box 21148, Stratford, Ontario N5A 7V4
Website : www.avontrail.ca
The Bruce Trail, Ontario's oldest and best-known trail, follows the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory. Geologically fascinating, the Escarpment also provides endless scenic variety: lookouts, caves, meadows, forests and, for the history buff, ruins of abandoned dams, kilns, and mill houses. About 100 km of the trail, mainly in the Bruce Peninsula, offers a challenge to even experienced hikers, but there are easy and moderate sections as well. There is camping only in designated campsites. Length: 780 km. Membership: $40. Guidebook, 21st edition, 2000: $24 (members), $29 (non-members).
Bruce Trail Association, Box 857, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3N9 (905) 529-6821 or 1-800-665-HIKE; fax (905) 529-6823; e-mail : email@example.com
ELGIN HIKING TRAIL
The Elgin Hiking Trail runs south to north from Port Stanley to St. Thomas, then in a north-westerly direction to Paynes Mills and from there north to the Elgin-Middlesex Line where it connects to the Thames Valley Trail. Many sections of the trail are rugged as the trail passes through the Kettle Creek Valley. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted. Camping is not permitted on the trail but is available at nearby Dalewood Conservation Area.
Membership: $15, family $20, senior $10. Guidebook $10 to members, $13 to non-members.
Elgin Hiking Trail Club, c/o Kettle Creek Conservation Authority, 44015 Ferguson Line, St. Thomas, ON N5P 3T3. Telephone: (519) 633-3064.
ELORA CATARACT TRAILWAY
Owned by the Credit Valley and Grand River Conservation Authorities, the Elora Cataract Trailway is a multi-use trailway. It is managed by the Conservation Authorities and the Elora Cataract Trailway Association. The Trailway links two watersheds (the Grand and the Credit), urban and rural communities, woodlot, meadow valley and ridge, as well as three major park systems found in the Elora Gorge, Belwood Lake and the Forks of the Credit at Cataract. Length : 47 km. Family membership $20.
Elora Cataract Trailway Association, 41 Mathieson St., Elora, Ontario N0B 1S0 Website : www.trailway.org
The Ganaraska Trail follows the Ganaraska River, crosses the Great Pine Ridge, and traverses the drumlin fields west of Peterborough. It passes through the Kawartha Lakes and skirts the Minesing Swamp where waterfowl, mink, muskrat, and beaver can be observed. The trail also swings past historic Midland where Jesuit Missionaries settled with the local Huron people in the early 1600s. The trail then connects with the Bruce Trail near Collingwood. The wilderness section of the trail is very difficult: hikers should consult with trail association members to learn current conditions. Otherwise the trail is moderately difficult. No camping is allowed on the trail, but adjacent to it are several provincial parks and commercial campgrounds. Length: 500 km. Membership: $15. Guidebook, 2000 edition: $10 (members), $14 (non-members).
Ganaraska Trail Association, P.O. Box 693, Orillia, Ontario L3V 6K7 website: www3.sympatico.ca/hikers.net
GRAND VALLEY TRAIL
The Grand Valley Trail follows the Grand River north from Dunnville through the Mennonite farms near Kitchener to the spectacular Elora Gorge. The easy-to-moderately-difficult trail runs north to join the Bruce Trail near Alton and south to Lake Erie, where it connects back to the Bruce Trail by a series of historic canal footpaths. No camping is allowed on the trail, but the Grand River Conservation Authority operates conservation areas which are close by. Length: 250 km Membership: $15. Guidebook, 5th, 1999 edition: $12.00.
Grand Valley Trails Association, 75 King St South, Box 40068, RPO Waterloo Square, Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 4V1 (519) 745-5252 website: www.gvta.on.ca
GUELPH HIKING TRAIL
The Guelph Radial Trail runs northeast from Guelph along an abandoned electric railway route to meet the Bruce Trail at Limehouse. The Speed River Trail follows the river southwest to Cambridge: this trail becomes very wet after heavy rain. Many glacial features, including eskers, drumlins, and moraines, add interest to these pleasant and easy trails. There are three loop trails near Guelph for interesting afternoon outings. Camping is not available along the trail, but the Rockwood Conservation Authority is nearby on highway #7. Length: 65 km. Individual and family memberships: $15. Guidebook: $10 (only available to members).
Guelph Hiking Trail Club, Box 1, Guelph, Ontario N1H 6J6 (519) 822-3672
HUMBER VALLEY HERITAGE TRAIL
The hiking trail follows the Humber River, from Bolton to Palgrave, connecting to the Caledon Trailway. Along the way you will traverse an interesting array of old fields, meadows, lowland cedar groves and mature upland maple forests. Length : 15 km. Membership: $20 for individuals or families. Trail map, published 1999, $10.00.
Humber Valley Heritage Trail Association, Box 273 Bolton L7E 5T2 website: www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Trails/5400/
The Maitland Trail follows the Maitland River in Huron County from Goderich through the hamlet of Benmiller to the village of Auburn. Special features of the trail include a two-hundred year old Carolinian red oak tree; the Menesetung Bridge, an abandoned C.P.R. bridge which concerned local citizens saved from demolition and which connects Goderich with the Tiger Dunlop Trail; and passages through unique limestone formations and hardwood and pine forests. Length: 44.5 km. Guide to the Maitland Trail, 2000 edition, available for $8.00 postpaid from MTA or by calling 1-888-320-2323.
Maitland Trail Association, Box 443, Goderich, Ontario N7A 4C7 website : www.maitlandtrail.cjb.net
OAK RIDGES TRAIL
The Oak Ridges Moraine lies just north of Toronto, consisting of a series of forest-covered hills containing the headwaters of over thirty rivers which drain into either Lake Ontario or Lake Simcoe. The moraine is the product of the last Ice Age when retreating glaciers left behind mounds of sand, silt and gravel. This club is mapping and blazing a continuous trail along the moraine, from the Niagara Escarpment in the Town of Caledon to Northumberland Forest in the east. This east-west trail links with the Bruce Trail via the Caledon Trailway, and will soon join the Ganaraska Trail. Length: 120 km now open.
Membership: $15 single, $20 family. Guidebook, 2nd edition, 1999: $15 members, $20 non-members.
Oak Ridges Trail Association, Box 28544, Aurora, Ontario L4G 6S6 (416)410-2601, 1-877-319-0285
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.orta.on.ca
The Rideau Trail, Ontario's most easterly trail system, is named after the Rideau River and Canal. It extends from Lake Ontario at Kingston to Richmond Landing on the Ottawa River, passing through an area of early settlement, mining and lumbering, now more often returned to its original wild forests amidst the granite rocks and numerous lakes. The trail in some places is quite challenging. There is camping at some primitive sites, at canal locks and in provincial parks and conservation areas. Length: 300 km main trail with 85 km of loop trails.
Family membership: $20. Guidebook, 6th edition, 2001: $22 (members), $27 (non-members), postage included.
Rideau Trail Association, Box 15, Kingston, Ontario K7L 4V6 (613) 545- 0823 website: www.ncf.carleton.ca/rta /
THAMES VALLEY TRAIL
The Thames Valley Trail begins at the Elgin-Middlesex county line (Southdel Road), about 1.4 km east of Southwold, where it joins the Elgin Hiking Trail. From there it goes north to Delaware where it meets the Thames River, then mainly follows the river through London to "The Forks", where it continues along the north branch of the river to St Marys, there meeting the Avon Trail. An easy to moderately difficult trail, it displays the contrast between neat farmlands and steep riverbanks, between historic villages and the modern skyline of London. Though no camping is allowed on the trail, the Fanshawe Conservation Authority has campsites at Wildwood and Fanshawe Parks; Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority has camping at Sharon Creek Conservation Area; Scouts Canada: Windemere Road; and River View Campground (private); all camping areas require reservations and a fee. Length: 109 km and 26 km of side trails.
Family membership: $25. Individuals: $20. Seniors: $16. Guidebook, 2nd edition, 1998: $12 (members), $15 (non-members), plus $2.25 mailing and handling.
Thames Valley Trail Association, Grosvenor Lodge, 1017 Western Rd., London, ON N6G 1G5. (519) 645-2845, website: www.thamesvalleytrail.org
The Voyageur Trail lies in one of the most scenic areas of the world, with access to the forests north of Georgian Bay and the clear water of Lake Superior. This exciting trail draws hikers from around the world to experience the untamed wilderness of northern Ontario. The trail passes through Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park, and sections are still under construction. The ruggedness and remoteness of the terrain make it advisable to contact the Trail Association for the most up-to-date information. Most sections of trail have wilderness campsites on lakes at suitable intervals for the backpacker. Length: 550 km completed, 600+ km planned.
Membership: $20. Guidebook, edition 3.1, 1998: $15 (members), $25 (non- members).
Voyageur Trail Association, Box 20040, 150 Churchill Blvd., Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 6W3 (705) 946-2484
The Waterfront Trail runs from Stoney Creek to Trenton, 325 km along Lake Ontario. The trail is built and maintained by municipalities and conservation authorities, with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust providing overall coordination and promotion. Running in part through Ontario's most developed urban areas the trail nonetheless offers a surprising diversity of shoreline experiences - urban, rural and natural - that walkers, hikers and cyclists can enjoy along its length. Mapbook: $9.95 + tax from selected bookstores and office supply stores; published by MapArt.
Waterfront Regeneration Trust, 207 Queen's Quay West, 5th Floor, Box 129, Toronto M5J 1A7 (416) 943-8080 ext.228
TORONTO CLUBS WITH A HIKING PROGRAM
If you are interested in finding people to hike with or participating in group hikes within Toronto, or walking tours organized out of Toronto, the following organizations may be of help. Hike Ontario does not recommend or endorse any of the clubs listed and cannot accept responsibility for their quality, but feedback from participants would be welcome.
TORONTO BRUCE TRAIL CLUB
The TBTC is one of nine clubs of the Bruce Trail Association, whose primary goal is the preservation of the Niagara Escarpment by developing a hiking trail. The TBTC runs an extensive hiking program each week, both in Toronto and beyond, as well as various social events. Some weekend hikes leave by bus from York Mills or Islington Subway, but there are also car-pooling hikes and hikes leaving from other locations. Annual membership fee in the Bruce Trail Association is $40.00, which includes membership in one of the nine clubs. Toronto Bruce Trail Club, Box 44, Station M, Toronto M6S 4T2. Activity line 416-763-9061; website: www.torontobrucetrailclub.org
TORONTO FIELD NATURALISTS
The TFN conducts organized outings year round throughout Toronto. All these are accessible by public transit. Whatever your interest in nature - trees, wildflowers, birds, geology, insects, mushrooms, or nature arts - you'll find many outings to interest you. Families are welcome on all outings. $30 Family membership; $25 Single membership; $20 Single senior/student.
Toronto Field Naturalists, 2 Carlton Street, #1519, Toronto M5B 1J3, Tel. 416-593-2656; website: www.sources.com/tfn
THE TORONTO HIKING AND CONSERVATION CLUB
Generally one hike each weekend. All hikes leave at 10:00 am from the parking lot on the northwest corner of Yonge and York Mills. Hikers car pool to get to the start of the hike. Hikes take place on trails, in conservation areas and other locations throughout the GTA. $15 Single membership; $20 Family membership.
The Toronto Hiking and Conservation Club, Box 121, Station F, Toronto M4Y 2L4. Tel. 416-283-4516 http://www.sproulephoto.ca/thcc
Peter Sproule - President, Toronto Hiking and Conservation Club.
THE OUTING CLUB OF EAST YORK
Founded in 1976, this club conducts an extensive program from March through December, of day and overnight activities, including hiking, city walks, cycling, in-line skating, volleyball, canoeing, kayaking and mountain biking. Carpooling is arranged to most activities. Membership: $25 adult, $10 senior, $50 family.
The Outing Club of East York, Box 99533, 1095 OConnor Drive, Toronto M4B 3M9. Tel. 416-724-3316.
TORONTO TRAVELERS OUTDOOR CLUB
A Christian, interdenominational, adult, singles club, with activities on weekends, including hiking, skiing, canoeing, camping, barbecues and retreats. Membership is $20 per year.
Toronto Travelers Outdoor Club, 55 Ellerslie Ave., #1706, Willowdale M2N 1X9. Tel. 416-588-3039.
NORTH TORONTO SKI CLUB
Sunday walks are held, beginning in March. The group meets at 10:00 am at the York Mills subway parking lot at the corner of Yonge Street and York Mills Road. Carpooling transports participants to the hike location with everyone contributing towards gas, etc. Contact Sandy McDowell 416-466-9947. Guests are welcome.
HIGH PARK CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Monthly, evening tours of High Park. Each tour lasts approximately 2 hours. A $2 donation is requested. Contact 416-392-1748 x5.
SENIORS SPORTS CLUB
This group of seniors (55 and over) hikes most Wednesdays in the Toronto area. Bus are sometimes used. Membership is $5.00.
Seniors' Sports Club, Pape Recreation Centre, 953 Gerrard St. East, Toronto M4M 1Z4. Tel. 416-392-0750
OAK RIDGES TRAIL ASSOCIATION
This group conducts weekly walks on the Oak Ridges Moraine to the north of Toronto. Call 1-877-319-0285 or website: www.orta.on.ca
"A STROLL IN THE PARK" WALKING & ADVENTURE CLUB
This group is a commercial company organizing walks and other social activities for single nature-lovers. Walks take place Saturday and Sunday in Toronto's parks and ravines. Trips are organized for many locations beyond Toronto. Membership of $40 includes 3 free walks, members: $115 for 12 walks, $60 for six walks, $35 for three walks; non-members: $20 per walk.
"A Stroll in The Park" Walking & Adventure Club, 275 King Street East, Suite 140, Toronto M5A 1K2. Tel. 416-969-3162 or 484-9255(WALK);
MORE THAN JUST WALKING
This is a commercial fitness walking club with a social aspect. Weekday walks explore the Beaches Boardwalk, last about 75 minutes and are offered April to December. Weekend walks are 2 to 3 hours, geared towards singles, explore areas in and around the GTA, start at 1:00 pm unless noted otherwise, and are offered year round. All walks are what they term fitness walks. Weekday Walk annual fee $75 plus $4 per walk. Weekend Walk annual fee $25 plus $12 per walk. Non-members, $7 weekday and $15 weekend, per walk.
More Than Just Walking, The Fitness Walking Club, 1880 Queen Street East, Suite 109, Toronto M4L 1H2, Tel. 416-701-1515; website: http://members.home.net/walking
THE OUT AND OUT CLUB
A club for gays and lesbians, The Out and Out Club offers a number of walking and hiking opportunities in Toronto and southern Ontario.
The Out and Out Club, P.O. Box 331, Station F, Toronto M4Y 2L7; website: www.outandout.on.ca
METRO TORONTO FITNESS CLUB
A running and walking club for people of all ages and abilities, this group meets every Sunday in Sunnybrook Park at 8:30 am. The day begins with a Social Mile for everyone, then the group splits up for walks of varying lengths. A social time follows after the walk, back at the park pavilion. The Club has also established a power walking interest. Contacts: Howard Sandys 416-441-4965, email: email@example.com" or Edie Tisch 416-935-0241 firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.powerwalking.com
OTHER TORONTO WALKING GROUPS
Refer to the Toronto Heart Health Partnership brochure called Toronto Walking Clubs available from local libraries and community centres, or by calling 416-396-5656 for a copy. Also available from Hike Ontario 416-426-7362. Free of charge. Copies of local Heart Health Route Maps are available from the same sources.
Discovery Walks is a program of self-guided walks that links City ravines, parks, gardens, beaches and neighbourhoods. For copies of the series of seven Discovery Walk brochures, visit your local library, civic centre or community centre or call Parks and Recreation Information 416-392-1111.
TORONTO PARKS & TRAILS
Produced by the City of Toronto, this map was designed for walkers and hikers, to help you navigate through the many parks and trails of the city. It is available free of charge, at Hike Ontario and local Civic Centres or by calling the Toronto Heart Health Partnership 416-338-5656.
THE OTHER MAP OF TORONTO
Produced by the Green Tourism Association of Toronto, this map shows numerous walking and cycling trails. Copies may be picked up, free-of-charge, at various tourism locations, obtained from Hike Ontario, or ordered from the Green Tourism Association 416-392-1288, e-mail: email@example.com
Hiker Mikes Best Hikes, The Megacity and Beyond by Mike Kirby (Boston Mills, 2000) $19.95. Compilation of popular walks around the GTA; fun to read; trails rated for difficulty. Available from Chapters, Indigo, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Hikers Haven, Hike Ontario or Book City:
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