Hiking High Park

High Park is known to attract many people during the cherry blossom season, but for a dog lover, it may be the incredible Off-Leash Area that invites you to the park in all seasons.

Sign for High Park Toronto

Suggested Route

After parking at the cafe, walk through the trails in the Off-Leash Dog Park. The trails are hard to document as there are many to choose from. I suggest you walk as long as you like and follow as many of the trails as you can. This was a 3 km loop for us with a visit to a small pond. 

Suggested route for hike in High Park


Parking is free and plentiful at times. We parked at the Grenadier Cafe, which is near the dog park. If you come on a weekend, come early as High Park attracts a lot of people in good weather.

Parking lot near Grenadier Cafe, High Park.

Dog Park

The dog park is extensive. In our 5.5 km hike, about 3 km were in the dog park. The paths are wide and easy for dogs to chase one another. 

Dogs waiting to get into the off leash area of High Park

We came across a pond in the northeast section that some dogs played in. The pond isn't an ideal place to play since it has muddy banks. A dog that likes getting wet will still love it. 

Dogs swimming in pond in High Park

Lucy met a Golden Retriever, also named Lucy. The two Lucys had fun retrieving the sticks we threw in. My Lucy was tentative as she's more used to swimming in rivers or Lake Ontario. Her new friend Lucy would simply leap into the deeper water. 

Two dogs swimming in a pond in High Park

There are a few gathering points where people can sit in the shade watching their pets play. This is labeled as Dog Hill on the map.

Dogs playing in High Park

Dogs playing in High Park

The path winds through a forest, so even on a hot day, you have shade and occasional breezes.

Forest in High Park Off Leash Area

After exploring the dog park, having a snack, and rest, we decided to explore more of High Park instead of going straight home. 

Actual Route

According to Endomondo, the GPS app I use to track my hikes, our actual walk was 5.5 km, and we only covered a portion of the park. 

5.5 km route in High Park


The park is filled with wildflowers in the middle of August.  My camera rarely does justice to the beauty of seeing the flowers in person.

Wildflowers in High Park


Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos of birds on our visit. We saw sparrows, robins, and blackbirds in the forest and a great blue heron flying over Grenadier Pond. Other photographers in the park mentioned blue jays, hummingbirds, and hawks. We walked to Colborne Lodge, hoping to see the hummingbirds, but no luck.


The gardens are gorgeous, especially the iconic maple leaf garden.

Maple Leaf Garden in High Park

The Trees

The trees in High Park are mature and gorgeous. I don't know enough about trees to say what kind they are, but my research says black oak, eastern white pine, and black ash, to mention a few. 

Tree in High Park


We randomly came across this sculpture, which is called November Pyramid by Bernard Schottlander. Apparently, there are several other sculptures in the park, so we'll have to go back to investigate.

November Pyramid sculpture in High Park

The Zoo

The Zoo is closed right now, so I wasn't able to see how Lucy would react to being near the animals. Here are a few photos from a visit I made to the Zoo nearly 2 years ago.

Zoo animals in High Park

Grenadier Pond

The pond attracts many fishers, but no swimmers: not even dogs. 

Fishing in Grenadier Pond, High Park

Grenadier Pond, High Park

Extend your hike

If the hike wasn't long enough for you, I suggest you go south to Lake Ontario to visit Sunnyside Park.


Enjoy your hike! When you post photos to Instagram, tag us at @hikingtoronto or #hikingtorontowithlucy.


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