Wilket Creek Park
Visit Wilket Creek Park and Don Mills Trail
Explore wilderness within the city
Wilket Creek Park is in a valley that lies west of Leslie Street, just south of Edward's Gardens at Lawrence Ave. The trail is 2 km in length and features a paved path, a creek, and mature deciduous trees.
The park is stunning in the fall when the leaves change colour.
ParkingThere are several places where you can start your hike in Wilket Creek Park. My suggestion is to park at the southern entrance, 1132 Leslie Street, Toronto. This is near the Crosstown construction on Eglinton. At the end of the blog, I give a few other parking spots in case you wish to avoid this area until they are finished.
Park at the first parking lot on the right when you enter the park via Leslie Street.
Suggested RouteGo down the steps from the northwest end of the parking lot to begin the suggested route.
BridgesSome of the bridges along this trail were rebuilt after the summer storm in 2005.
Like most parks in Toronto, it is not legal to have your dog off-leash. There may be short opportunities for you to let your dog off if you're willing to risk a fine. Be sure the park isn't too crowded with cyclists, joggers, or walkers. And, be sure you're able to get your dog on the leash quickly when needed.
Winter and Spring Hiking
The paths are not maintained during the winter, and when it thaws, the trails become very dangerous with ice. I suggest you wear water-proof footwear and have icers (spikes) that you can put on your boots to walk on the ice without falling.
BirdwatchingAs usual, I hear more birds than I see when walking in the ravines of Toronto. I was able to spot a few birds getting a meal at bird feeders that were set up along the trail.
Edward's GardensThe north entrance of the park is next to the beautiful, former estate garden called Edward's Gardens. This is a popular place for wedding photos, and it used to be open to people with dogs. That changed recently, so if you have a dog, you must either turn back or go up to the parking lot.
My suggestion is to go to the parking lot at the corner of Leslie Street and Lawrence Ave to continue the walk.
When we visited during the first week of March, we were greeted by two black beauties who look similar to Lucy.
And a lovely snow lady who doesn't have much time left in this world.
Just before the parking lot, you can see signs for Edward's Gardens and the Toronto Botanical Garden's. The posters give the history of the park and information on the species of plants and birds you might encounter.
Walk the short distance on sidewalks to the entrance of the Don Mills Trail.
The Don Mills TrailWalk south (turn right) on the Don Mills Trail.
You'll see why I think this trail is boring: it is so flat and straight. But, despite being flat and straight, it connects many great parks and will be extended in the future to make the trail even more valuable.
Several of the businesses next to this part of the trail have openings in the fence that makes it easy for employees to commute to work via the path or to take an excellent lunchtime hike.
At Overland Drive, you'll see a sign that the trail dead-ends in 900 meters, but ignore that sign.
The trail does have an exit which will bring you back to the parking lot where you started.
Turn right onto the unofficial trail that lies between a construction site and the OTT Financial building. This takes you to Leslie Street, a short distance from a crosswalk.
Turn left on Leslie Street and walk south. Walk past the Fire Station and cross at the crosswalk.
Walk south a bit more to reach the park entrance and your car.
Alternate starting pointsNot too long ago, I would have suggested you park in the lot at Edward's Gardens, but they now charge for parking.
You could also make a nice loop from Sunnybrook Park through Wilket Creek. There are side trails that connect the two parks.
You could also start your walk by parking at Bond Park. This will add roughly 3 km to the hike I've described.
More trails to explore
Read Windfield's Park for another hike along Wilket Creek.
Read Don Mills Trail to Shops on Don Mills if you want to visit a trendy shopping area for a beverage and snack.