Betty Sutherland Trail

Dog-friendly hiking trails in Don Mills

This trail was named after Betty Sutherland in 1988. She was a North York City Council member dedicated to the development of regional park systems. 

Plaque for Betty Sutherland hiking trail Toronto

I don't know if she's related to the famous Canadian actors Donald and Keifer Sutherland, but I often think of these two when walking on the trail.

Map of 5 km Loop

The trail goes along the Don River from Graydon Hall to the North York General Hospital at Sheppard Ave and Leslie Street. There isn't much parking at any of the entry points unless you can find street parking. The two schools near Graydon Hall Park might be your best bet on weekends: George S. Henry Academy or Rene Gordon Health and Wellness Academy.

Map of trail from Graydon Hall to Better Sutherland in Toronto

Graydon Hall Manor is a beautiful old mansion that is now used for wedding receptions and conferences. Surrounding the manor is a large park that is primarily hilly green space, but there is also a children's playground and tennis courts. 

Graydon Hall Manor Toronto

Most of the time, this park is deserted, so this area appears ideal for playing ball or frisbee with your dog.

Three dogs playing in Graydon Hall Park Toronto

The worst part of this hike is crossing Don Mills Road. Once you are through the intersection, access the Betty Sutherland Trail on the north side of the Duncan Mills Road.

Intersection Don Mills Road and Graydon Hall Drive that turns into Duncan Mills Road

Keep your dog on a leash as many cyclists and joggers also use these paved trails. There are several nature trails to explore where it is safer to have your dog off-leash if you choose to do so. Past the bridge, you'll see stairs going up a hill. 

Stairs on Better Sutherland trail taking you to an off-leash dog park in a forest

This area was used for off-road cyclists but now seems to be primarily for off-leash dog parties. The land goes right to the corner of Don Mills and the 401, so it is nearly an endless playground in a forest.

Forest next to the Betty Sutherland Trail Toronto near 401 and York Mills

The Don River in this park is magnificent, but moves fast and is pretty deep, especially in the spring thaw and after a rainstorm.

Don River in Better Sutherland Park, Toronto

There is a safer spot to play in the water if you use one of the trails off the paved path. The path is about halfway between the bridge and the Highway 401 underpass.

Trail to the shallow part of the Don River along Betty Sutherland trail Toronto

Just before you reach the 401 when approaching from Duncan Mills, there is a bench next to the river where you can stop and enjoy the beauty. If you're lucky, you'll spot Blue Jays and Cooper's Hawks in the area. Or maybe just friendly neighbours soaking up nature.

park bench on Betty Sutherland trail at the hwy 401 underpass where neighbours often meet to watch the don river toronto

Going under the 401 leads to trails to the Henry Farm neighbourhood and then behind the North York General Hospital.

Under the 401 at Don Mills Road Toronto

Once you get to Sheppard, I suggest turning around and going back. The trail does continue on the other side of Leslie and Sheppard, and I'll create a blog post about that trail soon.


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