For a place that is already heavily urbanized, it is remarkable how easy it is for cyclists to get on their mountain bikes and pedal to pristine landscapes. The best trails for biking in Toronto show off this city’s natural topography, including rivers, great shoreline, and ravines.
If you are looking for both exercise and adventure, this guide will help you out. We will show you the best paths for cycling in Toronto.
Where to Go Biking in Toronto
1. Waterfront Trail
Formerly known as the Goodman Trail, the Waterfront Trail is made up of 3 main sections – Scarborough in the east, Etobicoke in the west, and Toronto central. Starting at Royal York, Etobicoke follows Lakeshore Blvd for 2 kilometers before continuing to Parklawn Road.
A popular option for most cyclists, Toronto Central has an asphalt path designed for road bikes, while the pedestrians get to enjoy their stroll along the boardwalk. Ideal for expert and beginning cyclists, the trail takes the riders to the Sunny Side Beach. If you are more adventurous, you can take one of the detour routes to continue to Woodbine Beach.
A mix of on-road and off-road paths, the Scarborough route is ideal for people interested in mountain biking. The trail eventually leads to The Bluffs, a path that is both bumpy and hilly. If you do have a hardtail mountain bike, exploring the path is worth it – the result is a rich experience along Lake Ontario’s shoreline.
- Scarborough: 15 km
- Toronto Central: 7.6 km
- Etobicoke: 5.8 km
Ideal for: Riders of all skill levels
2. Tommy Thompson Park
Just a couple of minutes from downtown Toronto, this 5 km peninsula is a surprise to most visitors. Featuring coves, wetlands, a bonafide lighthouse, and wildlife preservation projects, the trail for cycling in Toronto is equipped with enough backcountry adventure.
With over 300 bird species, the path offers a special experience for people interested in bird watching. In addition to this, you get to enjoy spectacular views of the city’s skyline while riding your touring bike.
The path is mostly paved and it is car-free. If you have taught your kids how to ride a bike, you can take them on a family-friendly biking trip.
The path is open between 4 pm and 9 pm on weekdays. On weekends, you can enjoy riding your commuter bike from 5:30 am to 9 pm. Always remember to bring your bike headlight to enjoy a clear view if you intend to ride into the night.
Distance: 5 km
Ideal for: Beginning riders and novices
3. Toronto Islands
A short ferry ride from the city, Toronto Islands gives you access to impressively beautiful biking trails. Cycling around the islands allows a breathtaking view of Toronto’s skyline.
A direct line from one end of Toronto island to the other is approximately 5.5 kilometers. This distance can, however, be tripled by wandering different paths. For riders whose goal is to cycle only half of the Toronto Islands, taking a ferry to Ward Island on the eastern half may be a good idea – this should allow you to explore the old quaint, old cottage homes.
If you intend to take your family with you, the central area might be ideal. In addition to having good trails for cycling in Toronto, it has a small kids’ amusement park, public gardens, a pier jutting from the beach, and more parkland.
It is worth noting that Toronto Islands often have numerous tourists during the weekends. If you would like to make sure that tourists don’t get in your way, you may want to visit during the weekdays – the island will have enough room for a smooth biking trip.
Distance: 15 Km
Ideal for: All levels and ages
4. Bluffers Park
If you are looking to give your calves a good workout, this trail for biking in Toronto might be ideal for you. Ideal for seasoned riders and those with energy to burn, the bikepacking trail takes you down the Kingston Road, onto the Brimley Road, and ends at the Bluffers park, at the foot of the Scarborough Bluffs
The path stretches along Lake Ontario and east of the Toronto beaches. Its vantage point is approximately 65 meters above the shoreline – this gives Pinterest-worthy views throughout the ride.
Down in Bluffers Park, riders get to enjoy a great view of wildlife. You will come across swans, geese, and ducks. If you remember to park your outdoor camera in your bikepacking bag, you can capture great pictures of the parklands and lagoons present along the path.
Distance: 15 Km
Ideal for: Experienced riders
5. Humber Valley Trail
For tourists visiting the west side of Toronto, Humber Valley happens to be one of the best trails for biking in Toronto. The trail offers a long, yet easy ride along the river, featuring an ever-changing scenic landscape on a perfectly-maintained paved route with minimal hills. The path has a lot of fountains, small waterfalls, and park benches where one can stop and relax before continuing.
The biking trail connects perfectly with the Lake Ontario Waterfront trail network, ending briefly at the St. Philips road detour and Weston road. At the top end, riders can continue after climbing stairs and then riding approximately 300 meters on the streets to access more than 20 kilometers of good biking paths.
The trail is divided into 2 main sections – the lower and upper sections. While the lower section is more popular, the upper end is more enjoyable.
Starting near the Old Mill south, the upper section gives you access to great restaurants along the way and eye-catching Tudor-style edifice constructed in 1914. The southerly route – which is paved – winds through parklands, some marshy areas, before terminating on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Distance: 19.2 kilometers one way
Ideal for: All levels
6. Don Valley Bike Path
Featuring numerous entry points, the Don Valley biking trail shows off the greener side of Toronto. The trail for cycling in Toronto is located away from traffic – this makes it much safer.
Don Valley has a wide assortment of trail opportunities. The trails range from wide open-single track and tight man-made paths to flowy ravine-wall trails. The location has everything for every biking level.
One of the best routes starts at the Don Valley Parkway and Bayview Avenue pedestrian bridge and links the east side of Riverdale Park to Riverdale Park West where riders can stop to enjoy the view of the historic Riverdale farm.
You can descend the pedestrian bridge to the biking trail, sit on your properly adjusted bike seat, and use your mountain bike pedals to head north where you can eventually find your way to the Taylor Creek Park or Sunnybrook Riding Stables. The path takes you through meadows, winds through hectares of picnic and parkland areas, and courses along riverbanks. By the time you explore the entire path, your eyes will be mesmerized by everything nature has to offer.
Distance: 92 km
Ideal for: All levels
7. Kay Gardiner Beltline
Established back in 1989 and following an old, closed railway line, the Kay Gardiner Beltline is a flat route that makes easy, leisurely rides a reality. The path does not require a lot of bike gear shifting or too much effort when pedaling considering that the elevation does not change that much.
Bike riders share this route with walkers, strollers, and joggers. For this reason, following bicycle road rules is extremely important to ensure everyone is safe. The speed limits are posted for the riders.
Featuring nearly exclusively car-free paths, the biking trail runs from the west of Caledonia, all the way east to Bayview, and then heads south, terminating near Bloor. Traveling all 3 sections of the path you will cross scenic bridges, explore tree-limited paths that lead you through Forest Hill, Moore Park, Rosedale, and detours through the Evergreen Brick Works.
On average, the entire 9 kilometers of the biking trail will take you 1.5 hours to complete. If, however, you intend to have your children ride kid’s mountain bikes alongside, you might take slightly longer to complete the adventure.
Distance: 9 Kilometers
Ideal for: Cyclists of all levels and families with children
8. Finch Hydro Corridor Recreational Trail
Stretching from Middlefield Road in the east to Norfinch Drive in the west, Finch Hydro Corridor is a 22.5-km trail. The trail is paved and is regularly shared by both cyclists and people interested in walking.
Broken into 5 sections, the trail for biking in Toronto requires cyclists to deal with a couple of street-crossings and intersections. The first section was constructed back in 2011. Spanning 13-kilometers, the section includes areas between Yonge and Norfinch, as well as the area between Middlefield and Birchmount.
The biking trail is not graced with greenery and meadows as it is by its hydro installations and transmission towers. If you like to explore cool industrial areas, the trail might be a perfect option for you. One of the most notable sights along the way is the G Ross Lord Reservoir dam that can be easily accessed via the Wilmington Avenue, near the Dufferin and Finch intersection.
Distance: 22.5 km
Ideal for: All levels – the trail is fairly flat
9. Wilket Creek Park Trail
Well known for its mature stands of deciduous and coniferous forest communities, Wilket Creek Park trail is an ideal option for those looking to explore Toronto’s greenery. The 44-hectare valley features more than 2 kilometers of bike and pedestrian trails. If you always pack gear for long biking trips, you will still find Wilket Creek Park trail appealing considering that it will eventually lead you to the Tommy Thompson Trail.
Mature stands of Hop Hornbeams, Red Oak, American Beech, Sugar Maple, and Eastern Hemlock thrive along the trail’s valley walls. In addition to this, the trail has a diversity of plant species. Some of the rare plant species include Snakerod, Canada Sicklepod, and the New York Fan.
If you are lucky to ride your aluminum road bike at the right time of the year, you might enjoy some bird watching too. Uncommon bird species often visit the trail during seasonal migrations.
Distance: 2 kilometers
Ideal for: Riders with some off-road experience
10. Crothers Woods Biking Trail
With Toronto being inundated with construction and traffic, Crothers Woods is an ultimate getaway for urban dwellers looking for a good workout and a fresh breath of oxygen. Its deep gullies have always attracted mountain bikers since the 1980s. Today, its winding trail continues to make it a prime location for riding and pumping bike.
Straddling Don River, in the Leaside, the 52-hectare land is bordered by Millward bridge towards the northeast and Pottery Road to the south. Designated an Environmentally Significant Area by the conservation authorities, the location does have some wildlife, including the occasional white-tailed deer. The location also numerous bird species, making it a perfect location for bird lovers.
It is, however, worth noting that the location is not very well-maintained, although its condition has improved since 2005. The key to avoiding flats resulting from the waste often found on the trail is to stick to established paths.
Crothers Woods is an ideal option for hiking or biking with a dog. However, when traveling with your canine friend, you will have to keep him or her on a leash throughout the ride. If a leash proves impossible, you can always put your dog in a basket.
Distance: 6.6 kilometers
Ideal for: Experienced riders
Globo Surf Overview
While it is possible to tour Toronto by car, bus, or public transport, hopping on a bike is an ideal way to connect with nature and also enjoy a great workout. Toronto has numerous bike trails – these will take you through forests, cool industrial locations, and zones filled with different bird species and wildlife.
In this article, we have outlined the most impressive trails for cycling in Toronto. With these options at your disposal, choosing your next destination should be much easier. Keep in mind that different locations may have varying biking rules – always consult with the relevant authorities before getting on the trail.