Crothers Forest Trail
Urban Forest Hiking at its Finest
Thomas Hauser Memorial Trail Head
You can thank mountain bikers for this amazing forest trail. Thomas Hauser worked with the City of Toronto and the International Biking Association to improve the trails in Crother's Woods. You'll see a plaque honouring Thomas' contribution at the trailhead.
The history of this area is rather grim. Brick factories, manufacturing plants, sewage treatment, and then a landfill. After significant efforts to clean up and revitalize the park, it is now seen as environmentally significant, and we all win. Work continues, so at times parts of the trails may be closed or fenced off.
For a thorough look at the history, I suggest the blog Crothers Woods by Hiking the GTA.
Environmentally Significant Area
Hiking in the Time of CoronaVirus
Keep your distance from other people while hiking. Soak up all the nature you can and stay well!
I suggest a hike through the Crothers Forest, around the Sun Valley Trail, across the Don River, and through an important wetland area. This hike ends up being about 5 km in length. Many side routes can either lengthen or shorten your walk as you desire.
There are several entry points to this trail system, but I recommend the parking lot near the Thomas Hauser Trailhead. It is a huge parking lot next to the Loblaw's store (11 Redway Rd, East York, ON M4H 1P6).
At the trailhead, you'll have to choose between three different paths. Take the trail directly ahead so that you can experience the winding trail through the forest hill.
You'll get glimpses of the busy city surrounding the forest.
And at one point you can see the CN Tower.
Despite the city being so near, hopefully, you can feel the power of the nature around you in the form of the Don River.
And the birds with their cheerful songs.
Bridge to Wetlands
One detour I recommend is to cross the bridge, which leads to the Lower Don Parklands.
This is shown on the maps as Cottonwood Flats and has been allowed to renaturalize, and as a result, attracts many birds.
You can explore many other trails from this point if you and your dog have the stamina. You can access Evergreen Brickworks Trails or the Lower Don Trails.