Nothing says fall like a long walk or bike ride in a forest or park. Unfortunately, Toronto’s lacking in green spaces that aren’t packed to the brim with people who have the same idea as you. Luckily, you don’t have to drive out to Muskoka to find somewhere less packed. Instead, head out to Toronto’s West End which is full of parks and trails that are off the beaten track and can be easily accessed by car or TTC.
Humber Bay Park area
For some great waterfront views, head out to the Humber Bay Park area, which is just off Parklawn Road. This is a really great area for biking or walking as it’s paved and well marked. While our lakeshore can become quite busy on a nice day, if you turn west on Lakeshore and make a left turn down Humber Bay Park Rd, you’ll be able to find a parking spot and some trails that aren’t super crowded. If you’re coming on transit, take the 66B from Old Mill Station, get off at Lake Shore Blvd and head south. Within minutes you’ll find a few different paths. All that’s left from there is to decide which way you want to go
West Deane Park
If you’re more into forests than water, head over to West Deane Park located on Martin Grove Rd and Rathburn Rd. This park is easily accessible by car and has a lot of parking space. If you’re taking the subway, go to Kipling station and get on the 46 bus to Princess Margaret Blvd. From there it’s a short walk until you’re in the trees. This is a really great park for a more outdoorsy experience. The trails in this park aren’t always paved so depending on where you go, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a field or crunching through a really satisfying pile of fallen leaves.
King’s Mill Park
While it can get a bit busier on weekends King’s Mill Park is located right next to Old Mill Station so it’s a great option for transit users. If you’re driving, there’s a parking lot right along Bloor street. Once you get in the park there’s a wide variety of paths you can take. There’s off the beaten track forest trails, wide open paved paths and a walk along the humber river. With all these options, there’s something for every kind of walk at this park.
Echo Valley Park
This park is a great place for a bike ride and is hardly ever crowded. The only downside is that the entrance is a bit tricky to get into. Even as a seasoned user of this park, I often miss the entrance or go one road too far, but that’s part of its charm. The best way to enter this park would be from Echo Valley Rd which is located just off Kipling Rd and Burnhamthorpe Rd. This is a residential street so there’s no guarantee of parking. If you can, park on a nearby road or parking lot and walk/bike over or take the 45 bus from Kipling Station and get off at Wingrove Hill. Once you turn down this road, head to the very end and the road will turn into a trail. After the steep drop, turn left and follow the path. This will lead you to more paths or open space that’s great for a picnic.
Toronto’s West End is a sorely underused area of Toronto but has so many hidden gems. Hopefully these parks will provide some much needed refuge from the city for you this fall and expose you to a new part of the city!