Lower Don Recreation Trail
The Lower Don Recreation Trail is a great adventure in the heart of Toronto’s east end that will allow you to reconnect with nature as you hike through stretches of natural and urban terrain. While out on the trail, you will make your way through the Don Valley along the banks of the Don River while taking in all of the sights between Riverdale Park East in the south and E.T. Seton Park in the north. This trail is also very popular with cyclists, so be sure to exercise caution while out on your hike and allow others to safely pass.
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- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
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Route Description for Lower Don Recreation Trail
The Lower Don Recreation Trail is a lengthy urban multi-use trail in the east end of Toronto that is popular with a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, cyclists, dog walkers and trail runners. Because of this popularity, the trail is often very busy, requiring you to arrive early or during off-peak times in order to avoid the crowds. Be sure to pay close attention to passing cyclists when out on the trail, particularly if you are walking with children. Additionally, there isn’t any parking near the trailhead, requiring you to utilize street parking nearby.
Aside from the inevitable crowds that come with hiking within the city limits, this is a fantastic trail that will allow you to reconnect with nature. Travelling through the Don Valley, you will have some beautiful views across green city parks, stretches of woodland terrain, and of course the winding Don River. And while you won’t fully be able to escape the sights and sounds of urban living - part of the trail does border the Don Valley Parkway after all - it’s one of the best ways to get the feeling of escaping the city without leaving its boundaries.
Setting out from the trailhead in Riverdale Park East, head to the northwest through the forest and keep left along the trail for the next 0.6 km to arrive at a pedestrian bridge crossing over the road. Make your way over the bridge and head right at the fork in the path, continuing through the forest and past the secondary school on your left.
Reaching the crosswalk at the corner of Danforth and Broadview, cross over and make your way to the northeast along Broadview Avenue for 0.8 km, turning left just before Pottery Road to pick up the trail. After a relatively uneventful stretch of urban walking, you will make your way into a stretch of forest that will take you to the northwest for 0.7 km.
Turn right here and make your way over Pottery Road, following the trail to the northeast as it hugs tightly to the winding banks of the Lower Don River. Keep straight along this portion of the hike for the next 3.1 km, enjoying the nice views of the river and intermittent woodland surroundings before passing under Don Mills Road to reach a series of outdoor sculptures.
Turn left here to cross over a bridge, passing through a parking lot and arriving at a pedestrian bridge over a rail line in 255 m. Make your way over the bridge and head left at the junction, passing under an overpass to arrive at the terminus of the trail. From here, turn back and retrace your steps along the trail to gain a different perspective of the scenic valley terrain, stopping once you reach the crossing over Pottery Road.
Pause here for a quick break before making your way across the road to pass straight through the junction and follow an alternate route back to the trailhead. Continue along this trail for the next 2.6 km, taking in the beautiful riverside setting and surrounding woodland landscape that serves to buffer out the sights and sounds of urban life. Reaching a bridge over the river, make your way across and follow the trail south for 137 m, turning right along the path to work your way to the top of the Riverdale Park Viaduct. Head to the east here to arrive back at the trailhead where you began your adventure on the Lower Don Recreation Trail.
Insider Hints for Lower Don Recreation Trail
- Washroom facilities can be found at the trailhead in Riverdale Park East.
- This is a multi-use trail, so keep an eye out for passing cyclists and trail runners.
- This trail gets very busy, so be sure to arrive early or during off-peak times.
Getting to the Lower Don Recreation Trail Trailhead
To reach the trailhead for the Lower Don Recreation Trail from the corner of Broadview and Danforth, head southeast on Broadview Avenue for 1.1 km and turn left onto one of the side streets to find roadside parking. From here, make your way west on foot to Riverdale Park East to find the trailhead.
Lower Don Recreation Trail Elevation Graph
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