A survey of our favourite spots in the city to take in all the red, yellow, and orange that autumn has to offer.
Autumn is a magical time of year. Deep reds and yellows decorate the treetops, every step on a sidewalk is met with a crisp “crunch,” and social-media feeds become cluttered with photos of resplendent shrubbery. But, for city-dwellers, finding the perfect spot to bask in all that nature has to offer can be difficult. Luckily, we’ve rounded up five spots where you can stretch your legs, get some exercise, and enjoy some of the most magnificent spots to admire autumn here in the city.
Where: King’s Mill Park, #HIP
How to get there: Get off the TTC at Old Mill station and follow the Discovery Walk signs to King Mill Park, off of Old Mill Road. Vehicles can also park in one of the two parking lots in King Mill Park.
Type of trail: This asphalt trail is large, and easily travelled on foot or bike.
What you’ll find there: The best part of this hike is when you finally enter the forested area of King’s Mill Park. You can follow one of many slopes off the asphalt trail and onto a mud trail, where you can view the Humber River from above, surrounded by a canopy of orange and yellow trees. There is also a wide, unfenced off-leash area where your pooch can catch Frisbees among the fall colours.
Word of warning: Look out for coyotes and garter snakes at this park. Also, be aware of vehicles, as the paved walking path is also open to drivers.
Difficulty level (out of 10): 2
Where: Beltline Trail*
How to get there: The trail begins a 12 minute walk from Rosedale station, at Roxborough Drive and Mt. Pleasant Road, across from David A. Balfour Park. It can also be accessed at Moore Avenue, across from the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, about a 20-minute walk from Davisville Station.
Type of trail: This wide, easily accessible trail is hiking-, biker-, and even stroller friendly.
What you’ll find there: This spacious trail is about 15 feet wide at most spots, and winds underneath several bridges, bringing a splash of urbanity to this nature trail. About two kilometres into your hike, you’ll find metal stairs that lead you down to Evergreen Brick Works, and the Weston Family Quarry Garden. Here, you can take a short detour and enjoy Brick Works’ Farmer’s Market on Saturdays; a short walk beyond these stairs are two bicycle racks.
Word of warning: There is a City of Toronto notice in the trail notifying hikers that coyotes may be in the area. Also, dog-haters beware. Many dogs run off-leash past off-leash hours, and one may even steal your snacks (I actually witnessed a dog steal a teenager’s sandwich while here).
Difficulty level (out of 10): 2
Where: Taylor Creek Trail, #EYK
How to get there: The trail’s east entrance by Dawes Road is about a 10 minute walk from Victoria Park subway station, or the trail can be easily accessed by the Cosburn 87 bus. Parking is available at the end of Haldon Avenue, off of Don Mills Road and off of Dawes Road.
Type of trail: There is a wide, cement trail that runs along the Taylor Creek, making it easily approached by foot or bike.
What you’ll find there: The forest through which the Taylor Creek Trail runs is deep, blocking off most views and sounds of the city. The namesake creek runs alongside the entire trail, allowing for the sounds of calming water to follow you as you enjoy the fall colours. This trail has many flat-ground spaces alongside the forest, with perfect spots for picnicking, or taking a rest. There are also washrooms located throughout the trail (however, some are only open during summer hours).
Word of warning: Many dogs run off-leash along the trail, into the forest beyond your line of vision. Large dogs that mildly resemble wolves/coyotes may pop out of the forest, stopping your heart beat for a second or two. Also, if you’re walking along the mud paths that run by the creek and paved trail path, watch out for bumps in the ground caused by large roots and rocks, as well as parts of the trail that thin out and only provide walking space for one person at a time.
Difficulty level (out of 10): 3
Where: Sherwood Park & Off-Leash Dog Trail, #MID
How to get there: Parking is available on Sherwood Avenue. The park can also be accessed from stairs and a wheelchair path from Blythwood Road. It is also about a 20 minute walk from the Eglinton subway station.
Type of trail: This trail is better approached by foot. Once you get to the south side of the park, where the off-leash area is located, biking is forbidden.
What you’ll find there: This tiny park located within a housed-in community, The fenced, off-leash dog area on the east side of the park makes for a beautiful sight with plenty of oranges and reds in view. And there is plenty to keep the kids occupied: a playground, a baseball diamond, as well as a large picnicking area with shelter. There are also washrooms located in the park.
Word of warning: Not all of the fences in the off-leash area are completely intact so, if your dog is a runner, be on the lookout for dents.
Difficulty level (out of 10): 1
Where: High Park, #HIP
How to get there: A minute walk south of the High Park subway station at Bloor St. West. The park can also be accessed from High Park Blvd, and Colbourne Lodge Drive.
Type of trail: The park can be navigated by foot or bike, but the forested areas are dirt paths that are better managed on foot.
What you’ll find there: If you think High Park is beautiful during Cherry Blossom season, you must make a visit during the fall. The ground is covered in crunchy, yellow leaves, and the trees transform the area into a sea of orange and red. Besides hiking, you can enjoy walks around the Grenadier Pond, play a game of tennis, bring the dogs to the off-leash area, or visit animal friends at the zoo.
Word of warning: If you’re wandering along the main road of High Park, watch out for cars that are constantly driving along Colbourne Lodge Drive.
Difficulty level (out 10): 2
What are your favourite spots in the city for viewing the fall colours? Let us know in the comments section below.
CORRECTION, OCT. 22, 2013: The original version of this article included an erroneous reference to another park that has been removed.