Earl Bales Park to Don Valley Golf Course

Earl Bales is a large park with Sheppard Ave West to the north and Bathurst Street to the west. 

Earl Bales Park at Sheppard West and Bathurst Street

There are many hiking trails in this park that we enjoy exploring, but only in the winter can the general public walk the golf course. The Don Valley Golf Course is south of Earl Bales and allows hikers and dogs to visit the property during the winter months.

Map of Don Valley Golf Course next to Earl Bales Park

We've blogged about this trail before. See Earl Bales Park. For this hike, we start at the community centre off of Bathurst Street, visit the dog park, walk past the ski hill, along the Don River to the golf course. We've previously turned back at the 401, but this time we continued to Wilson Ave for a 9 km hike.


There is no shortage of parking spots in the winter. The parking near the Community Centre is located at 4169 Bathurst Street.

Earl Bales Community Centre

Dog Park

We followed the signs down to the dog park. The trail is between the community centre and the Barry Zukerman Amphitheatre.

Signs to Earl Bales off leash dog park

As usual, we met new friends at the off-leash dog park, including Milo.

Earl Bales offleash dog park

Ski Hill

After leaving the dog park, we passed the ski hill that is not in operation due to snow.

Ski hill at Earl Bales park

West Don River

We made a brief visit to the river to watch the ducks. Lucy doesn’t seem interested in going into the water now that it’s cold.

West Don River flowing through Don Valley Golf Course and Earl Bales Park

Golf Course

The golf course gate is now open, so we didn’t need to walk past the pond.

Gate to golf course next to water treatment pond

We walked the majority of the course, mostly on the paved trails.

Dogs playing on a bridge in the Don Valley Golf Course

Many people and dogs were on the trails, but it is easy for people to follow social distancing guidelines.

Meeting other offleash dogs at the Don Valley Golf Course

The dogs refuse to keep a distance and continue to get close and personal as often as possible.

West Don River in Don Valley Golf Course

The Don River winds through the park giving many crossing and viewing opportunities.

Dogs playing off-leash in the Don Valley Golf.Course

Last year there was staff asking for dogs to be on a leash. We didn’t see anyone patrolling the park, and all dogs were off-leash.

Going under the 401 highway that separates sections of the Don Valley Golf Course

There are many places to turn back, but we chose to go to the section south of the 401.

401 overpass in the Don Valley Golf Course

For those who drive on the 401 regularly, it’s another world to be under the massive highway!

Don Valley Golf Course plaque

We turned around at the 10th hole and took a different pathway back to Earl Bales.

Don Valley Golf Course in the winter

Steep Hill

Several trails take you back to the parking lot near the community centre. We chose to walk up the ski hill since there were very little snow and no one zooming down the hill.

Hiking up the ski hill at Earl Bales Park


If you use the Under Armor Mapmywalk App, find this trail at https://www.mapmywalk.com/workout/5080148191.

Map of the 9 km route we took

Alternate routes

Earl Bales Dog Park is a great starting point for several hikes. Read these blogs for trails along the river and to the cemetery:


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


  1. Thanks for the nice pictures. However, as I am a small dog owner, I am afraid of meeting your off- leash dogs, when I go there.

    1. My dog is medium sized and plays very well with small dogs. Small dogs like her gentleness as well. Lucy will often lay on the ground to be at the same level as a small dog. Most dog owners will only let their dogs off leash when they’ve been trained to come when called or will ignore all people and dogs who are not trying to get their attention. You’ve likely never encountered me when my dog was off-leash as she is leashed up when near people we don’t know or dogs that appear frightened. I’m so sorry you have fear for larger dogs. Many of the trails we visit also have coyotes, so you need to be aware. Carry a water bottle and squirt dogs or coyotes that come near you and your small dog.


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