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.

Rock with plaque for Thomas Hauser at trail head for Crothers Forest.

History

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

Crother Woods is an Environmentally Significant Area due to its diverse, mature, and relatively undisturbed forest, and the presence of wildflowers and tree species that are rare in the Toronto region.

Hiking in the Time of CoronaVirus

Keep your distance from other people while hiking. Soak up all the nature you can and stay well!

Keep your physical distance

Suggested Route

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. 

Map of suggested route in Crothers Forest

Parking

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).

Forest

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.

Winding and hilly trail through Crothers Forest.

You'll get glimpses of the busy city surrounding the forest.

Forest in a busy city.

And at one point you can see the CN Tower.

Toronto skyline from Crothers Forest.

Despite the city being so near, hopefully, you can feel the power of the nature around you in the form of the Don River.

Don River from top of hill in Crothers Forest.

And the birds with their cheerful songs.

Birdwatching is easy to do in Crothers Forest.

Bridge to Wetlands

One detour I recommend is to cross the bridge, which leads to the Lower Don Parklands. 

Bridge in Crothers Forest taking you to the wetlands.

This is shown on the maps as Cottonwood Flats and has been allowed to renaturalize, and as a result, attracts many birds.

Map of Cottonwood Flats, the wetlands next to the Don River.

Crothers Forest Trails

More trails

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.

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