From High Park to the Islands, the city of Toronto boasts some great urban hiking within its city limits. However, a short jaunt out of the city this autumn can lead to even more excellent day hikes for those of us who love walking through the leaves.
Here are 5 great treks close to Toronto to get out of the city, and into the foliage:
Driving distance from the CN Tower: 1hr, 2mins
(Courtesy Spencer's Gorge Conservation)
Hamilton, located about 50 minutes from downtown Toronto, is the waterfall capital of the world. With the leaves turning, and the air crisp, autumn is a great time to venture the trails that wind around the region's mighty natural falls. If you're looking for some great foliage, Spencer’s Gorge has it. Admire the ancient trees, as you can check out both the 22M tall Webster's Falls, and Hamilton's largest waterfall: Tew's Falls. The gorge, located on Hamilton's western borders, is best of hiked in from the bottom, and offers a variety of difficulties for all levels of hikers.
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Driving distance from the CN Tower: 1hr, 17mins
Located near Orangeville, Ontario, Mono Cliffs Provincial Park sits along the mighty and picturesque Bruce Trail. Brimming with fern and cedar, Mono Cliffs offers a handful of hikes - ranging from 1km to 5kms in length - that take you through the basin, or along the cliffline.
Driving distance from the CN Tower: 1hr, 9mins
(Via Marie Robinet/Pinterest)
Not far from Mono Cliffs is Hockley Valley Provincial Park, which again holds part of the Bruce Trail, as well as it's own trails such as the Tom East Side Trail. The valley is part of the Niagara Escarpment, and offers a variety of hills and elevations to challenge the moderate hiker while taking in the autumn splendour.
Rouge National Urban Park
Distance from the CN Tower: 37 minutes
(Courtesy of Rouge National Urban Park)
Located on the outskirts of the Greater Toronto Area, "the Rouge" offers a fall foliage lovers dream: a Carolinian ecosystems. Look for Oak, Aspen, Red and White Pine, and the iconic Maple trees. Also, the trails this time of year will be sprinkled with the fruit of the Black Walnut, adding a citrusy aroma to the forest. The Rogue is a work-in-progress, a unique national park within an urban setting which, on completion will be 23 times bigger than New York City's Central Park.
Distance from the CN Tower: 1hr, 52mins
This may be the furthest trip from downtown, however, the Elora Gorge does not disappoint. In the autumn months you won't be able to tube down the Grand River as you might in July or August, though you will enjoy the sounds of the rapids as you hike through the gorge along the 7km trail. While the setting is lovely, the path is partially paved, and some of the views are fenced off, so measure your expectations accordingly.