Botany Hill Dog Park to Morningside Park

Start at a beautiful dog park and then take a pleasant 5 km hike for chances to see salmon migrating, deer, blue heron, blue jays, and some of the best autumn vista views.

Beautiful trees and river in Morningside Park

Suggested Route

After visiting Botany Hill Park, hike along the Highland Creek River using the newest trails in Morningside Park. Once you get to the western parking lot, hike over the steep hill for views and then hike back along the river to your starting point.

Map of suggested route from Botany Hill to vista in Morningside Park

New Trails

The city is building new trails with bridges and paved paths in the section of Morningside Park below the Botany Hill Park. The trails are closed when active construction occurs, but the trails are safe to explore on weekends and evenings. 

Construction in the northern section of Morningside park is nearly complete


There are several parking lots in Morningside Park, but for this blog entry, I start the trail from Botany Hill Dog Park on Orton Park Road, where there is street parking.

Botany Hill Dog Park

The Botany Hill Dog in Scarborough has all the best features for an off-leash dog playground: shelters, benches, water bowls, grass, and shade trees in a large fenced area. There is free parking on Orton Park Road in front of the Botany Hill Park.

Dogs drinking water in a shelter in the Botany Hill Dog Park

Lucy was greeted by many friendly dogs who were happy to play and chase.

Two bernedoodles playing in Botany Hill Dog Park

Bernedoodle and Husky playing in Botany Hill Dog Park

The Trail

Behind the dog park, go down the gravel path to the Highland Creek River. The trail is wide and winds through colourful trees. 

Winding trail to Highland Creek from Botany Hill Park

Salmon Run

In September and October, this is a great place to see the salmon migration. We saw many dead salmon, so that means they've spawned and finished their life cycle. The salmon have travelled over 20 km up this meandering river to get to this endpoint from my calculations.

Map showing the route from the salmon run on Highland Creek

Lucy was curious about the movement in the river and investigated. The salmon are large and splash and dart away when she gets close. Luckily she wasn't interested in the dead salmon and was frightened of the live ones, so she has learned to ignore them as she does with most wildlife.

Lucy frightened by the live and dead salmon

New Bridges

I like the colour and style of the new bridges being erected in Toronto parks. They blend in nicely with the surroundings, especially in autumn. These bridges are easy for dogs to walk over. Some bridges in Toronto have metal grids that are painful to dogs.

New bridge over Highland Creek in Morningside Park


We witnessed many blue jays in the area, and I was able to get a photo. 

Blue jay in Morningside Park

A great blue heron spent a lot of time in the bend in the river hunting. 

Great Blue Heron hunting in Highland Creek in Morningside Park


When we reached the Morningside West Parking Lot, washroom and picnic area, we were drawn to climb the steep hill instead of following the trail around it. Our efforts were rewarded with amazing views of the colourful trees in the park.

Morningside Hill with views of the river and forest

Some creative people built a bench at the top to enjoy nature and amazing views.

Bench made of branches in Morningside Park

Toronto has many great deciduous forests that are colourful in the fall, including the busy 401 and DVP highways. The view from the top of this hill in Morningside Park must be one of the city's top views.

Autumn colours from a vista in Morningside Park

Be careful, walking down the hill. The trail is covered with acorns, which can be as dangerous as walking on marbles. 

When back down to the river, walk back to the parking lot and then back to the Botany Hill Park where you parked your car.

Trail Extensions

There are many more trails in Morningside Park that are worth exploring. See our blog, Morningside Park, for one of the trails. From Morningside Park, you can connect to other parks surrounding the Highland Creek River, including:

Trails through University of Toronto Scarborough CampusLower Highland Creek Park


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


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