Finding a good place to run in the city can be tough.
Looking for a spot where where you’re not dodging pedestrians or spending half of your run waiting for traffic lights to turn green? That’s even harder.
Not to worry, we’ve picked out some of the best trail running destinations in Toronto; some well-known and some not. While they aren’t perfect (some are still paved), they will offer relief from the sea of people, some fresh air, and a bit of greenery outside the depths of the concrete jungle (at this point, I barely remember what grass looks like).
Terrain: Natural Surface, mostly flat
TTC Accessible: Yes (Yonge-University Line, exit at St. Clair)
Parking: Yes (David Balfour Park)
This trail follows an old railway line that used to circle the city in the late 1800s. If you start at David Balfour Park you can head south on the trail and follow it around towards Evergreen Brickworks. Once you reach this part of the loop, follow the signs north to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery where there are nice views and lots of drinking fountains along the way. Heading back to David Balfour Park, the entire route is around 12k. There are a few places where you’ll have to cross some busy streets, but for the most part your run will be uninterrupted and beautiful!
Terrain: Asphalt, mostly flat
TTC Accessible: Yes
Washrooms: Yes (at various parks along trail)
This trail is a little bit more urban than the others on this list. The entire thing is mostly paved and there are many others who use the trail for walking, running and biking purposes, so you likely won’t be alone. However, the trail is long (around 20 km) and it passes through some beautiful parks and scenery, making for a pleasant journey. If you begin at Lakeshore Blvd. & Cherry St. and work your way North, the trail eventually leads up towards the Evergreen Brick Works trails as well.
Terrain: Natural Surface, some hills
TTC Accessible: Yes (56 Leaside or 88 South Leaside Bus)
Parking: Yes (Loblaw’s parking lot @ Redway Road)
Crothers Woods is a hidden gem for when you want to feel like you’re out of the city without actually leaving the city. The forest is diverse and houses a wide variety of tree and bird species. Best of all, you likely won’t see very many people along the way, as the trails are a bit lesser known – solitude is hard to find in the ‘6ix’!
4. High Park
Terrain: Natural Surface/Asphalt, some hills
TTC Accessible: Yes (506 & 501 Street Car or Bloor-Danforth Line, exit High Park)
High Park is the largest park in Toronto, filled with 400 acres of grassy fields, gardens and beautiful trails. Located in the West end of the city, the park is easily accessible by public transportation and parking is free as well. The large variety of paths allows an opportunity to train for speed, distance, hills, and everything in between!
Terrain: Natural Surface, very hilly
TTC Accessible: No. It is possible to take the GO Bus to Uxbridge, but the forest is an additional 10 min drive or 30 min bike ride from the bus stop.
Located in Uxbridge, this one requires you to head about an hour outside the city, but the trip is totally worth it if you’re looking for some great trails. Everything is well maintained and you can choose your difficulty level depending on which route you take. The forest gets pretty busy with bikers on weekends, but there’s enough trail to go around! Uxbridge, ON is actually the Trail Capital of Canada, with over 220 kilometres of multi-use pathways throughout the township.
Now that you know where to go, check out Trail Running 101: A Guide For Beginners for some tips on getting started!