Lower Don – Park Trail

Lake Shore to Taylor Creek, Toronto
Posted on May 25, 2018
Lower Don – Park Trail
Listing Types : Park Trail
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 8
Park Path % : 95
Road % : 5
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : sandy spots, paved, gentle hills
Faclities : food close by, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 8 km (one way)

95 % park path
5 % road crossing, detours

Elevation – flat, follows the river, a few short inclines, one large hill, bridges and tunnels

Terrain – all paved asphalt, some sand due to flooding

Skill – easy

Maps – new signage, maps and milestones

Facilities – no close washrooms or amenities until you get out of the valley onto streets

Highlights – large bridges, sculpture garden, rapids, fall colours

Trail Fee – free

Phone – 311

Website –  Don River Valley Park

Similar Trails – Humber River, Taylor Creek, Thames Valley

Local Clubs – Toronto Bicycle Network, Toronto Bicycle Club

Access –  limited entry and exits, Lakeshore Rd. Queen St. and Riverdale Park bridges, Pottery Rd and Don Mills Rd. Better to use your bike to get there,  limited parking,  some at Pottery Rd. and Taylor Creek.

bike trail book ad

The Lower Don River Path is one of the main arteries of Toronto’s bike riding trail network.

From the mouth of the Don River north 8 km, the path serves to connect on both ends to many other good bicycle routes. Other exits help you get around to explore the city.

I am pleased to finally add this to the site as the construction upgrades last year are done. Work on replacing two underpasses and some route resurfacing has made this path a more safe and a pleasant ride.

New signage with maps enhances the ride to help tourists find other routes to take and amenities.

Running up this large valley, the path is a very popular bike thoroughfare, expect lots of bicycles, joggers and walkers with dogs on weekends, as well as work commuters.

This well-maintained path has grown in nicely yet open to the valley with not a lot of shade. It has a bit of an wild, natural feel to it. In the fall months the colours are spectacular.

If it were not for the drone of the expressway noise beside you, it could almost seem like you were in the country…and then you spot another high rise building …

As you cycle up this path exit points are limited. With the river on one side or the other there are fenced in train tracks and the busy Don Valley Parkway (DVP) blocking you.

Riding north up from the lake, this ride is all asphalt and hugs the Don River on the west side.

It starts as a flat, straight route as the river banks have been many years ago straightened and tamed.

This has done little to stop flooding in the spring, so avoid then and note any loose sand washed up on the path.

Thankfully this path has a few bridges and tunnels to get you elsewhere. The first on the route going north is Corktown Commons, a new park to explore west through a tunnel.

There are bike friendly stairs at the Queen St. and the Riverdale Park bridges to get you up and out too. But not until Pottery Road 2.5 km further up will you find exits that lead to steep climbs out of the valley.

I noted a “sculpture garden” along the way. A strange curiosity that gets everyone to pause, perhaps rest, take a photo and look back at the giant black bridge (Bloor St.) Nice addition by the city!

Here starts the Don mountain bike trails for those of you with a good bike and strong legs. Past the river rapids (good spot to rest) another crossroads further up goes west over to parklands, MTB trails  or up Beechwood Dr. a quiet, steep road to homes and O’Connor Dr.

Farther for about 2 km, the path meanders up the valley under another large bridge (Millwood Rd.) ending under the DVP to a junction by what locals call the “giant molars”.

Here you can continue your ride along the Taylor Creek path east or even farther up north along the Don River to Sunnybrook Park or Edwards Gardens. Both excellent rides I will review soon.

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