Birkdale – Park Trail

Scarborough, Toronto
Posted on June 4, 2021 / 551
Birkdale – Park Trail
Listing Types : Park Trail
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 7 + 10
Hiking trail % : 10
Park Path % : 75
Road % : 15
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : paved, crushed gravel, flat rock, gentle hills
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length –  5 +2 + 10 km (one way)

75% park path
10% hiking trail
15% road crossings, detours

Elevation – Mainly a flat, meandering park path with a few short hills

Terrain – Paved on the main routes, some dirt and gravel sections, many bridges

Skill – Easy rolling for most of the route

Maps – A few signs; needs more/better signage to avoid stopping and checking your map

Traffic – Not busy; typical city path users.

Facilities – Parking lots, toilets, benches, picnic tables, rain shelter, playgrounds, shopping mall on the east end

Highlights – Hmm, not many, just an average city park path

Trail Fee – Free  

Phone – 311

Website –  City of Toronto

Similar Trails –  Upper Humber River, Taylor Creek

Local Clubs –   Toronto Bicycle Network – TBN

Access –  No parking lot on the north end. Thomson Memorial Park has lots off Brimley Rd., which is a good start point to fan out. There are lots at Knob Hill and Cedarbrook Park.

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Right in the heart of Scarborough, on the east side of Toronto, the Birkdale Trail follows the West Highland Creek for 5 km. Though a short cycle, it has two other routes that intersect to add 12 more kilometres to your journey if you’re so inclined. 

Explore a collection of the parklands and natural ravines typical of this area, somewhat connected together by a path that is certainly better paved than it was a few years ago.

The route starts from the north end at Ellesmere Ave. Down into a small ravine valley we meandered on a wide, paved trail. It offered a quick escape from the concrete of the big city as we traversed bridges and cruised along the banks of the treed creek.

At Brimley Rd., the only road crossing, we entered the large Thomson Memorial Park grounds. Here you could consider looping around to explore the park or branching off onto the 11+ km Gatineau Hydro Corridor. It runs 3 km east or ver west and cycle for 8km to reach the end. Not the prettiest trek but it gets you places.

We also tried another short (2 km) ride from Knob Hill Park, which starts off heading east on a paved path. Then it turns into dirt. We had to ride over boulders lining the edge of the creek bank. Mountain bikers can do it if you have the nerve, but many may walk this section. It’s a quiet, natural, and narrow side trail more adventurous types may opt for.

Staying on the main path eventually takes you east to Markham Rd., Cedarbrae Collegiate, and a large mall north of there where you are assured of finding refreshments (and ice cream).

The trail system is a little short on directional signs; we had to refer to our GPS phone map more than once at a few three- and four-way junctures. Defaulting to take the trail that stays low by the water usually works for me.

So the Birkdale Trail is not outstanding, but it’s a pleasant outing. There are a few playgrounds for the kids to stop at and a tiny Heritage Museum en route, but nothing else is noteworthy. Still, it’s good enough for most cyclists looking for new byways to ramble on.

OpenStreetMap

Birkdale bike trail map

Birkdale bike trail map

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