Summer is just about here (or at least the hot summer weather is)! And with this latest heat wave on the outs and a beautiful weekend upon us, the time has finally arrived for our favourite outdoor pastimes. Since we talked about footwear for summer activities in Toronto the other week, it seems only fitting (pun intended) that we delve deeper into one of those activities: hiking!
If you want to get good use out of your summer hiking shoes, you don’t need to go far: Toronto offers many great hiking trails right in the middle of the city.
And if you are up for a little road trip, adventure or change of scenery, you can also check out these great options just outside the city throughout the GTHA (Greater Toronto Hamilton Area):
Trails of the GTA:
Scarborough Bluffs Trail
For Torontonians who want to stay in the 416, Scarborough Bluffs Trail is only about 13km from the downtown core. The trail takes you across the Bluffs, with beautiful views spanning Lake Ontario, the associated park and its beachfront. Just shy of 7 km, the out and back trek will give you a nice outdoor workout complete with a nice breeze off the lake.
Heading east toward Pickering and the Durham Region, the Cedar Trail is a shorter route at about 2km. Part of the larger Rouge National Urban Park, the Cedar Trail is described as “magical”, with little streams and wetland areas along the route. If you want flexibility and options, the trail also feeds into other hiking opportunities. It can be a little steep and slippery during inclement and wet weather, so beware of your footing. To help you stay surefooted in all conditions, wear a hiking shoe with good traction and grip.
If you happen to be in Burlington, Kerncliff is one of their best-kept secrets. Forget checking out the downtown lakeshore: You can see it from the cliff at Kerns, all the way to Niagara. You can even see the CN Tower on a clear day. The sunrise is epic, but it’s always a little chillier being at higher elevations (it’s part of the Niagara escarpment) so bundle up, even on a summer morning! A warm drink and dog to keep you company helps too!
A family-friendly trail, Kerncliff has shorter distance trails and multiple parking opportunities. The benefit of this trail is the nearby park and its accessibility to longer trails if you have the energy. The main Ian Reid trail is 3.5 km out and back and the Woodland Loop is 1.9 km.
The Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest hiking and recreational trail, spanning 900 km from Niagara to Tobermory. We are fortunate to have several trails accessible within a short drive from Toronto. Kerncliff is part of the Bruce Trail network if you aspire to hike the whole route.
Trails of the GHA
Did you know that Hamilton is the Waterfall capital of the world? That’s right -our Steeltown neighbour across the lake boasts over 100 waterfalls within its city limits, and even more in the surrounding locales. The Niagara escarpment runs through the entire region, making this area a nature lover’s paradise. That’s the same escarpment that leads to the world-famous Niagara Falls, just to the east. The GHA offers a plethora of scenic trails dotted with valleys, gorges, rapids and unique geological features to choose from. So if you can’t quite make the 2.5 hour trip to the border, no need to fret: these escarpment trails are all you need – just one hour from the downtown core (if you can beat the traffic)!
Dundas Valley Trail
This 9.5 km trail includes a waterfall and beautiful panoramic views. Overlooking the Dundas Valley, I’d recommend a separate trip just to check out the fall foliage alone. It’s perhaps one of the best all-season longer trails and a great adventure for your four-legged friends too!
Taking a further look at the maps, you can pick and choose the trails you wish to trek and see a few waterfalls on your journey. It is a moderate trail overall, but from experience, especially after some precipitation, Proper Footwear is highly recommended. The mix of mud and terrain requires extra caution.
Chedoke Radial Trail
This 9.5 km trail in Hamilton features access to several waterfalls. It’s great for all sorts of outdoor activity: hiking, trail running, mountain biking – you name it! The drive from Toronto will take you through some great Hamilton neighborhoods with wonderful options for food, coffee or a celebratory ice cream. Hamilton has several awesome cafes, so be sure to check out them out!
The benefit of exploring these Hamilton trails is that they are all within driving distance to one another, so you can purchase a parking day pass. We only listed a few of the many trails to choose from: Feel free to check out Hamilton Conservation for more trail inspiration.
Looking to be fully equipped for your spring hikes?
At Feet First we can assess your needs for proper foot health and make sure you have footwear for safety and comfort! Call us today at 416.769.FEET (4338) to book your appointment or inquire about our hiking shoe inventory!