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Hiking Trails in Ontario

There are many fine hiking trails in Ontario, ranging from major challenges like the Bruce Trail and Ganaraska Trail to more manageable ones like the Seaton Trail

And for cyclists as well as walkers, there are routes like the Ontario Waterfront Trail.

Almost all Provincial Parks have trails of varying lengths, depending mainly on the size of the Park.

However, this page focuses on those trails that are not limited to a particular park -- though they may run through one or more parks along their way -- and are longer than a stroll in the Park.

Many of these trails are associated with Conservation Areas, which are like Parks, but generally much smaller.

Hiking Trails in Ontario -- Seaton Trail

Hiking trails in Ontario -- Seaton trail

A good, though relatively short, example of this is the Seaton Trail in southern Ontario, which runs from Brock Road in Pickering at the junction with 3rd Concession to Highway 7 at Green River following the valley of Duffin's Creek. This trail could be hiked in one day, if you keep up a fast pace. If you stop to enjoy the view, you need at least two days.

Hiking trails in Ontario, view from the Seaton trail

The Seaton Trail crosses a number of roads, each of which has a parking spot for access to the trail. This makes it ideal for taking the trail in chunks, say a half day at a time.

Because it follows Duffin's Creek, the trail meanders through wooded areas, meadows, and floodplains. Sometimes you're down at the water's edge and sometimes on top of a cliff looking down on the river far below. Be careful around these cliffs, they're mud and clay rather than rock so erosion at the edges is commonplace. The trail has been moved back in a number of spots; stay on the safe side of the fence!

Ganaraska Trail

Hiking trails in Ontario - Ganaraska trail

One of the bigger hiking trails in Ontario, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail at around 500 km long is divided into sections for ease of maintenance (sections are managed by separate trail associations) and to help users with manageable walks.

The trail begins near the Town Hall in Port Hope and, after wending its way through forests, fields and Canadian Shield wilderness, it ends at the Bruce Trail near McKinney's Hill in Glen Huron.

Each Trail Association organizes hikes and other events throughout the year so contact the appropriate group if you want to take part. All the subsidiary associations work together as the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association or GHTA.

Just as the Trail connects to the Bruce Trail in the north, it connects to the Waterfront Trail at port Hope in the south. However, in the south, there are few places to camp so you're looking at accommodation if you want to continue along this part of Ontario's trails.

The Hiking Trail shouldn't be confused with the many trails in the Ganaraska Forest, a Regional Conservation area.

Bruce Trail

The oldest of the hiking trails in Ontario is the Bruce Trail. It's also one of the longest, longer even than the Ganaraska Trail, and it's also divided into nine districts to help manage it.

It runs from Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, which juts out into Lake Huron forming the southern end of Georgian Bay, and ends at Queenston on the Niagara River near Niagara Falls.

Along its almost 900 km (550 miles) length, it passes through towns, farmlands, wine country and, of course, the Niagara Escarpment, which forms the backbone of the trail. The Trail Association headquarters is at Raspberry House in the RBG Arboretum.

Like the GHTA, the Bruce Trail associations organize events throughout the year. Contact them at Bruce Trail for their calendar.

More Ontario Hiking trails can be found at Ontario Trails where you'll find information on places to hike, snowshoe, cross-country ski, snowmobile, canoe, horseback ride, dogsled, geocaching -- in fact practically every form of travel and travel activity that goes across open country.

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