It’s important now more than ever to get off your couch and enjoy a breath of fresh air. Spending time in nature has proven to reduce blood pressure, lower your heart rate, decrease muscle tension and even lower the production of stress hormones – something we could all use these days. What easier way is there to get outside than with a hike in YDH!
Did you know that YDH is home to the trail capital of Canada? It’s true! Head to Uxbridge where you’ll find over 220 kilometres of trails just waiting to be explored. You’ll find plenty of great city trails like the South Balsam Trail, the Quaker Trail and the Ewen Trail as you pass tranquil ponds, historic homes and wooded areas. If you’re really looking for an adventure, there’s always the Oak Ridges Moraine with 275 kilometres of trails waiting for you! If you’d rather take it easy, The Butternut Trail and Elgin Park are both fully accessible and perfect for wheelchair uses and families with young children. Whether you’re looking for historic villages to explore, quiet forests or beautiful meadows, you’ll find all this and more in Uxbridge.
Uxbridge may be our country’s trail capital, but it isn’t the only spot in Durham Region with great hiking trails! The Municipality of Clarington has a number of beautiful trails, including the Orono Crown Lands which used to be a tree nursery back in the day. Not too far away, you’ll also find the Long Sault Conservation Area that has 18 kilometres of trails of various difficulties, including part of the aforementioned Oak Ridges Moraine Trail.
If you’re looking for beautiful country vibes, the Headwaters Region is the place to be! Enjoy the beautiful rolling hills and stunning scenery that come with the Nottawasaga, Credit, Humber and Grand Rivers. Plan a hiking adventure to the Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area where you’ll find over 5,900 hectares of forests and wetlands including the namesake Luther Lake. The Mono Tract in the Dufferin County Forest is also a fantastic option as you follow old logging roads that are being reclaimed by Mother Nature. If you’d like a spot closer to town, try Island Lake Conservation Area, the Credit Meadows Trail or the Millcreek Trail and then pop into Orangeville to refuel at a local restaurant.
Of course, we can’t leave York Region out of the mix! Why visit one park when you can explore six? Richmond Hill’s Beaufort Trail will take you through Beaufort Hills Park, Black Willow Park, Willow Hollow Park, Pine Needle Park, Raccoon Park and Russell Tilt Park to create the perfect urban loop for stretching your legs. Really want to get the blood flowing? Try Thorton Bales Conservation Area on for size with its steep hills and rugged beauty. If you’re not sure how hard you want to go, Rouge Urban National Park is a great destination featuring 15 trails of various lengths and difficulties.
Provincial Parks are always a stellar option for hiking trails and we’re fortunate to have a number of them in YDH! Enjoy the trails in Boyne Valley, Hockley Valley, Sibbald Point and more. However, provincial parks have been known to reach capacity so be sure to have a plan B in case you can’t get in. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm – or in this case, the parking spot! If you have your heart set on a specific destination, the earlier you get there, the better.
Like many outdoorsy sports, hiking has become a popular way for people of all ages to enjoy a change of scenery. However, some trails aren’t designed for the influx of people they’ve been receiving! That’s where you come in. If you come to a spot along the trail where you can’t remain 6 feet apart, take a moment to see if anyone is coming. If need be, stop and step off the trail briefly to let other hikers pass. It also doesn’t hurt to have a mask handy! Be sure to check out our trail etiquette guidelines so that everyone can have a wonderful experience on the trails.
So, who’s ready to hit the trails in YDH? If you’re looking for more ideas of where to go hiking, be sure to take a look at our website for more outdoor inspiration.
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).