Ten Worthy Adventure Zones In The Greater Toronto Area

To celebrate the opening of our new store in Toronto, we've stepped up our game by putting together the scavenger hunt that keeps on giving. It starts with a chalk bag hidden somewhere in the city limits of Toronto on the morning of Saturday, August 16, and ends with a chance to win a trip to Whistler at our Grand Opening on August 23! We wanted to get you revved up for game day by listing off 10 Worthy Adventure Zones In The Greater Toronto Area:

Words and photos by Jenny Johnson.

What’s an adventurer to do between hiking the West Coast Trail and summitting Mount Logan?  When nine to five is sucking your energy and your next big wall can’t come soon enough, ditch the work pants and recharge your oomph in and around the city.  If your city happens to be Toronto, here are some quick hits to satisfy your need for a little quality time with the outdoors.

Toronto Islands

Grab a paddle and make your way from the Toronto waterfront to serenity in no time.  Kayak or canoe…whatever strikes your fancy.  Wind your way through the channels, lagoons and bird sanctuaries of this 13 island archipelago.  Catch a ferry with your bike, or rent one when you land. There are plenty of bike trails and beaches to be explored.

Rouge Park

Canada’s first National Urban Park, the Rouge is over 10,000 acres of awesome.  Hikes range from one hour to an entire day and cover the gamut of terrain.  Dense forest, rocky outcroppings, cliffs and the river are calling your name.

Niagara Escarpment

Two biggies at this destination…

The Bruce Trail is 885 km long.  Jump on where you like.  If you wanted to hike the whole thing, it would take approximately 8hrs/day for 30 days to complete!

Rock climbing!  Check out the limestone at Rattlesnake Point, Buffalo Crag, Nemo and Kelso to the south and Devil’s Glen, Old Baldy, Lionshead and Metcalfe to the north.  The seemingly endless offering of routes is mind-blowing and the views are killer.  The escarpment is perfectly suited for top-roping, but don’t let that stop you from trad lead-climbing.       

Crothers Woods

A 52 Hectare respite consisting of mature beech, maple and oak located in the Don River Valley. Hiking enthusiasts will love the 10kms of natural surface trails.

Bluffers Park

Sand beaches, 20-storey cliffs, marshes, hiking trails and paddling…you do the math.  Bluffers Park has a little bit of everything.

Humber River

The Humber River is splendid to explore by water.  It’s one of the best spots in town to test out the old SUP skills.  A mix of urban graffiti and concrete, verdant banks and curious wildlife, the Humber will keep all your senses in play.  Also, don’t miss the recreational trail that hugs the shore.  It’s paved but has gorgeous views and 19kms to cycle or run.

Don River Trail

Popular with cyclists and runners alike, this 20km trail begins in The Beach and stretches all the way to Edwards Gardens.  The best part of this trail?  It’s all uphill, baby.

High Park

There are lots of hiking routes and plenty of waterfront in High Park, but the real reason to go is for the running.  400 acres will challenge you with as much as you’re willing to accept.  Oh, and there are cherry blossoms in the spring.  Bonus.

Durham Forest

This 405 hectare forest presents the trifecta of outdoors with excellent cross-country skiing, single and double-track mountain biking and extensive hiking trails. Located at the top of the Oak Ridges Moraine, it is a lush and beautiful spot to sweat your stress away.

Hardwood Hills

Mountain biking in the warmer months transform into Nordic ski trails in the winter.  Hardwood offers up six XC trails ranging from beginner to “feel the burn” difficult with some wince-inducing climbs and tight singletrack.  When the world is white, seven ski loops keep newbies and elite equally content.

There are no excuses for going soft in your downtime.  Get your adventure on any day that you like and keep up your training and stoke so that at your next ultra marathon or dance-a-thon or whateveryou’reinto-a-thon, you’ll be unstoppable. 

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Jenny Johnson is a travel blogger from Toronto who updates her blog on the regular.  

More info on our scavenger hunt in Toronto on August 16.

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