It may not be the first activity that pops into your head when you are looking for a great spring day activity, but Vaughan’s many walking trails are not to be missed! Our great city has a plethora of gorgeous trails to walk, bike and even hike. Each trail has its own unique beauty and also varies in how physically challenging it is. Here is a list of trails that you may enjoy.
The Maple Nature Reserve
The Maple Nature Reserve is part of a system of trails that continues to get larger every year. Since the plan was first executed, more than 20km of new or updated trails have been made available to the public. Jamie Bronsema, Director of Parks Development for the city says that the site is the perfect place for a quiet walk but not too large so active hikers may need to explore more than once. This is a natural system with challenging slopes and the surface of the trails is either granular or wood mulch with lots of surrounding trees. Avid walkers should be able to do it with little difficulty. These trails are lined with lush green plant life in the summer and lots of grass and trees.
Boyd Conservation Area
This very popular area of protected woodlands and natural trails is 5 kilometres north of Hwy 7, just before Rutherford Road. It is open only from April to October and there is an admission fee, so it’s best to check online before you. It opened in 1957 and is well known for barbecues, camps and sports including soccer and volleyball. Most importantly, it has 7 kilometres of hiking/walking trails and is great for bird watching. The trails themselves are mainly flat with trees close to the road and are described on their website as a ‘long walk’. Many species of natural wildlife can be seen in this area.
Bartley Smith Greenway
This beautiful 15 kilometre trail follows along the West Don River and is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon if you enjoy long walks. There are many entrances and it runs from Steeles Avenue all the way into Maple. The area is called a ‘work in progress’ as it has been and continues to be transformed with new marshlands and thousands of new trees and shrubs have been added, which attracts lots of wildlife. Since its restoration, walkers and hikers who visit will be able to see green frogs, turtles, beavers and a wide variety of birds. The area has a nature trail, observation deck and signage throughout.
Kortright Centre For Conservation
This gorgeous area boasts itself as Canada’s largest environmental centre. It has over 18 kilometres of hiking trails through forests, marshland and parks. They even have a Maple Syrup Festival in the spring, which is a fabulous and delicious reason to bring the kids along. In regards to walking or hiking, the Kortright Centre caters to all levels of difficulty. There are paved walkways for walkers, perimeter trails, marsh trails, forestry trails and they even have what they call a ‘power trip trail’, which offers educational stations on renewable energy.
The McMichael Art Gallery
This well-known attraction combines the natural outdoors with incredible art and is a wonderful place to take in the scenery, as well as culture. The gallery’s website mentions “kilometres of walking trails perfect for hikers, walkers, naturalists and mountain bikers.” For example, one of their trails aptly named the “McMichael Trail” is a 1.5 kilometre path down to the valley alongside the Humber River into Binder Twine Park. The beautiful trail is great for beginners. On the grounds you may see various species of birds, insects and mammals including fox, beaver and even occasionally wild turkeys. It also has other great attractions including the gallery itself, a sculpture garden and of the ten members of the Group of Seven, six of them are buried in a small cemetery onsite.
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