Winter’s snow is melting away and gorgeous spring sunshine is starting to peek through the trees, which means that it’s time to dust off those hiking boots! While Toronto and the surrounding area is generally known for busy cities, high-rise buildings and suburban neighbourhoods, there are more than a few parks and trails around to help you get out in nature and make the most of hiking season. 

GTA West – Halton and Peel Regions

Crawford Lake Conservation Area

Exploring Crawford Lake Conservation Area is an adventure in and of itself: the Iroquoian village brings history to life and diverse flora and fauna surround the area. The Crawford Lake Trail takes visitors on a peaceful 1 kilometre stroll around the park’s namesake lake; the Pine Ridge Trail is a 3.6 kilometre loop throughout more wooded areas of the park and; the Escarpment Trail Loop is a 3.5 kilometre trail offering gorgeous views in any season.

Mount Nemo

This conservation area in north Burlington is small, but the vistas are mighty, with scenic views of the Niagara Escarpment in any weather, and even out across Lake Ontario to the CN Tower on a clear day. There are a few different trails to enjoy at Mount Nemo: The Mount Nemo Loop is just over 5 kilometres, and the Quarry Hike is almost 2 kilometres, and both are good for all skills levels. 

Lake Aquitaine Loop

Mississauga’s Lake Aquitaine Park is known for fishing, with species like sunfish, rock bass, perch and bass calling Lake Aquitaine home. The loop trail is a lovely 1.6 kilometre easy trail that guides visitors around the lake, with stunning views of the lake and surrounding trees along a family friendly route that’s suitable for all ages and abilities.

GTA East — Durham and York Regions

Long Sault Conservation Area

Bowmanville, Ontario’s Long Sault Conservation Area is the largest conservation area in the Durham Region owned by the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority. With almost 20 kilometres of marked hiking trails of varying difficulties, there is something here for every hiker and the ecologically diverse natural beauty and wildlife will astound. 

Seaton Trail

The Seaton Trail is a 12+ kilometre trail that runs through Pickering, Ontario and has actually been in use for hundreds of years. With various entry points along the route of the trail, hikers can spend their excursion following historical fishing and hunting routes and learning about the history of the region, or visit the community and park of Whitevale, which is one of the main access points to the trail. 

Hollidge Tract Accessible Trail

Located in the York Regional Forest, the Hollidge Tract Accessible Trail is a short trail in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville that passes through different varieties of areas, including a wetland, red pine, lowland mixed wood, and young hardwood forests. This destination offers a beautiful day in nature for visitors of all abilities, and provides accessible parking and a beautiful lookout area near the wetland.

These are just a handful of the many trails, parks and conservation areas in the GTA where you can enjoy a solo hike, a day out with your family, or even a long walk with your best four-legged friend – most public trails are parks welcome dogs, as long as they’re leashed, so Fido can help you guide you on your adventure. Keep physical distancing top of mind when planning your visit and be sure to check out each trail’s specific safety measures and guidelines before heading out for the day. Some locations do require reservations, and you can book in advance to avoid disappointment. Happy Hiking!

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