The 14 km Humber River bike path is one of the most popular routes to cycle in Toronto, and with good reason. This winding journey up the valley is an ever-changing scenic ride in the middle of west Toronto.
From Lake Ontario by the large white Humber Bay Arch bridge, the bike trail heads northerly along the river’s west side through a small park to a side street. Note the Oculus Pavilion, a bizarre, circular “spaceship” rain shelter.
There is a 700 m detour road ride along sidestreets – turn right onto Stephen Dr., then left onto Riverwood Pkwy, where an entrance on the right takes you through parkland and puts you back down into the valley.
Soon you will come upon the subway overpass and the large, elegant Old Mill Hotel, then you will cross the Humber on a stone bridge. (Check for migrating salmon in the spring.)
Further up, you will cross again at the tall rail bridge and enter a wooded area with a few hills before the trail opens up to James Gardens, known for its lovely flower beds.
The path then leads you to a major intersection at Eglinton Ave. that adds another climb to street level. Once back in the valley, it is a delightful spin to the end through parkland.
At the end of this segment, there is a long set of metal stairs to climb if you want to continue to the Upper Humber R. part. There is a track to guide your bike tires as you haul it up or turn around and head back.
I noticed city work being done to extend the trail past the golf course to connect both ends. When done, this will be fantastic, as the current detour is a short but hazardous endeavour on Weston Rd.
If you do carry on, look for Fairglen Cres. on the west side to find the trail again. The lower section of the Humber River is more popular, yet I think the upper end is as enjoyable.
The path on this section is paved and has a few cracks and frost heaves to watch for. Signage is adequate but not complete.
In places, there are parallel paths (presumably intended for different users) without any signage to define their purpose. This results in people walking and riding on both, which means the paths can get crowded and chaotic on a sunny day. I sure wish the city would make this clear.
At Eglinton Ave. W., another 9 km bike path heads west. Though it’s within sight of Eglinton, a noisy road, it does take you past Martin Grove Rd. and leads you to the quiet West Dean Park route for extra pedalling.
On your way, if you are looking for a lunch spot, try Bloor St. or Weston Rd.
On a recent visit, I saw many trail users riding, walking, jogging, or just resting by the water’s edge. This route offers lots of choices to stop, sit on a bench, read a book, picnic, let the kids jump on the playsets, or smell the roses. Find time to take your bike on this wonderful city path real soon.
This new review update is not yet published in my book. But 64 other great destinations are, with better maps, elevation graphs and more parking locations. Available as an eBook or paperback.