The Kay Gardner Beltline + York Beltline was once a rail loop that circled the city of Toronto in the1890’s. Now it sits in the middle of the city and you can ride this very popular outing along the back of homes, ravines and through a cemetery.
Busy on weekends, it is a favourite for many bike cruisers looking for a bit solitude and fewer cars. Most of the trail is well treed, shady and a fun, flat cycle path.
From the east side, this rail trail starts behind the Brick Works at the bottom of the Don Valley. (You can take a side trail here and explore the ponds in the pit dug out to make bricks for the city.)
You need to follow the old rail bed that the trains took to get out of the valley. As with any grade for a train it is very gradual and anyone in good health will make it up this treed wide route.
Once out of the valley, cross the road and travel through Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Here you can find a few famous people buried. Head to the north end of the cemetery, going west cross over Yonge St. on the old train bridge. (Note the subway passes under.)
Here is the main and busiest section full of bike riders, joggers, dog walkers and busy street crossing. Use the crossing lights to be safer.
After a few kilometers you get to the wall of the Allen Expressway. To continue, journey north to the next bridge, cross and follow Roselawn Ave. till you see Beograd Gardens two blocks away. Take this south to connect with the path again between the buildings. This brief extension of the old rail bed goes another 2 km to Bowie Ave.
Being in the heart of the city, this path has many opportunities to explore the side streets with grand homes in this well-to-do area. Lots of places exist to eat at local cafes or sit awhile in the parks/ cemetery and watch the clouds go by.
On your return, one can take an alternate 3.5 km loop down through Mount Pleasant cemetery again. This time there is an entrance to a ravine that follows the Yellow Creek past Balfour Park. It takes you down across Mount Pleasant Rd. to Bayview on a variety of trail surfaces.
This may be worth doing but…the last time I rode it this summer, it was “under construction” as there have been a lot of washouts from all the rain we had this spring. One day this route will be a great alternative path but for now you may need to walk around some parts on the north end of the ravine.