I am excited to announce the new 8 km Oak Ridge Corridor trail is now open and a wonderful reason to get out on your bike. Just north of Toronto, in Richmond Hill, this old favourite hiking path has now been upgraded to carry bicycle traffic too.
Not only is this a close, central location for many Toronto (GTA) folks, but it also runs east-west through quiet, scenic woodlots, fields and by small lakes.
Though most Park cycle paths follow a relatively flat river trail, not so on this route. Expect a different type of Park ride with more hills and open spaces to it.
Some hills are quick and steep, others can be circumvented or walked if you are feeling lazy. These extra challenges and the fine gravel base makes this an Intermediate Park rated ride.
We started our outing on the top east end, at the Bethesda Side Rd. parking lot. The gravel path is so new; it was very loose in sections and will need a few winters to pack down. Also, a few map boards have yet to get signage so you might wish to print a map.
The route skirts the west edge of Jefferson Forest passing new townhouse developments (that look actually well designed). As you ride south and then west, this part has the most hills.
Much has changed here in the 20 years I have been mountain biking the area. This path meets many dirt trails that may tempt you. Unless you have a MTB and good legs, stick to the main route.
At one point this gravel path dips down and right back up. Odd? I think the wish for a bridge is not in the budget yet. A lovely treed and winding part takes you down and out of the woods.
When you leave the woods and cross under the large Bayview bridge, you meet with a major climb up an asphalt switchback, that some will walk.
At the top, there is an optional small loop around a pond. Onward the terrain flattens out more with open fields, bush and many newly planted trees. As it winds its way along you reach Bond Lake, one of the many Kettle lakes produced by the Ice Age.
Meet another steep hill! Take it on, or bypass the quick down and up section by riding north on Yonge St. to the lights and the only road crossing on the ride.
The noise of this road tells you how tranquil the ride is among the distant subdivisions. As you ride another few kilometres, three side trails break out. The first leads you north to Grovewood Park.
The path then splits at one of the many new resting spots, ringed with boulders to sit on. Going right down the field, along the boardwalk takes you to the end of the Oak Ridge path at the public golf course parking lot.
Going south offers 3 km more on the Saigeon Trail to Gamble Rd. Some of this has a woodchip base and again is rated an Intermediate Park adventure.
So there you have it, a new stretch of trail to make a day of it. I saw families riding and hikers out there enjoying it, why don’t you?