The sun is shining, the birds are singing and summer will be here before we know it. Prime cycling season is on the horizon and there is no better place to hop on your bike than in York Durham Headwaters!
Chances are your mind drifts to Vaughan Mills or Canada’s Wonderland when you think of York Region, but what you might not realize is that the area is also home to a number of beautiful green spaces and incredible cycling trails.
Just getting started with cycling? That’s great to hear! There are a number of great beginner-friendly trails to check out like the Bartley Smith Greenway in Vaughan. At 15 kilometres in length, this trail will take you along sections of the West Don River as you meander through North York. With a mix of limestone trails, paved pathways and sidewalks and minimal interaction with cars, it’s a great spot for beginners. Another great trail option is the Caledon Trailway which connects Terra Cotta, Cheltenham, Inglewood, Caledon East and Palgrave as well as Clarington’s Long Sault Conservation Area.
If you’re looking for a great family outing in YDH, an afternoon of cycling is the perfect way to enjoy some quality time together! These beginner trails are a great place to start though if you are looking for some shorter trails for the little ones, some recommendations are the Saigeon Trail in Richmond Hill and the Michael Starr Trail in Oshawa. The Waterfront Trail and The Great Trail are always amazing options, too!
Do you have a grasp of cycling and are looking for something a little more challenging but not too hard? These intermediate-level routes in YDH should do the trick! Check out the Oak Ridges Corridor in Richmond Hill for beautiful views of Lake Wilcox and Bond Lake. Get a taste of Europe here in YDH with the Tour de Holland route, taking you through countryside reminiscent of the fields you’d find in the Netherlands. Don’t forget the unique terrain of the Niagara Escarpment at Kelso Conservation Area – but be sure to book your reservation in advance!
These next trails are not for the faint of heart. Get the adrenaline pumping on trails like The Missing Link, Big Butter and Little Butter in Uxbridge’s Durham Forest. If that’s not enough, head to East Gwillimbury and take on the Skunk Loop and the Big Meany Loop in Ravenshoe (aka the Brown Hill Tract). Or you can test your endurance with the 134 kilometre-long Terra Cotta Loop.
Of course, these are just a few ideas as there is no shortage of cycling trails in YDH! Take a look at our website for more ideas of great routes to explore this year.
Before you hit the trails though, make sure you’re prepared for your trip whether it’s a quick ride locally or a day of adventure. Cycling is the perfect activity for physical distancing after all! However, if you’re showing any symptoms, feeling unwell or ordered to self-isolate, do your part and stay home. The trails will be waiting! Otherwise, be sure to bring a mask with you for the times when you’re unable to stay 6 feet apart and around people who are not members of your household as per CDC guidelines.
Of course, there are more people enjoying the outdoors now more than ever. While this is great to see, it can mean that some of your favourite routes may be busier than in previous years. If you can’t stay physically distant from other people, take a moment to dismount (especially since many YDH trails are for hikers, too!) and step aside to ensure everyone’s safety. We’re all in this together, after all!
If you arrive to find a full parking lot or more people than you’re comfortable with, have a few other routes in mind as a back-up plan. Riding earlier in the morning and during the week can also help you avoid the crowds while out on the trails. Whatever you decide, be sure to do a quick Google or Facebook search to see about any closures for your area of choice. There are a number of amazing volunteer organizations that keep many of these trails in top shape so that we can all enjoy them!
Whether you’re an expert cyclist or just starting out, you’ll find the perfect bike trail in YDH. All that’s left is for you to get out and explore!
Bike ride with people within your household or social circle. Riders must always maintain two metres (or about the length of a bicycle) between you and anyone who isn’t in your social circle. If you cannot maintain physical distancing even outdoors, you will need to wear a cloth or non-surgical mask that covers your nose, mouth and chin. Riding a bike remains a great way to get exercise for physical and mental health during a pandemic. Now is a great time to get out and enjoy some of the new cycling infrastructure near you!
Story by Lindsay Davies
Lindsay Davies is a crazy Canuck who’s been bit by the travel bug. Proud to call Ontario home, she loves exploring the province and beyond. As a graphic designer and social media marketer by trade, she travels the world while sharing her adventures to inspire others on her blog, I’ve Been Bit! When not behind her computer screen, Lindsay is in her natural habitat when she’s chasing waterfalls, exploring new trails, frolicking on ice roads (don’t knock it until you try it!), and indulging in the odd glass of wine, beer, or cider. Chances are you’ll be able to spot her by some funky coloured hair or a wacky pair of tights she’s wearing! Follow her adventures on Facebook (@ivebeenbit), Twitter and Instagram (@IBBtravel).