West Don River – Park Trail

central Toronto
Posted on May 13, 2022 / 903
West Don River – Park Trail
Listing Types : Park Trail
Note : NEW Review
Total Trail Km : 15
Park Path % : 90
Road % : 10
Rate Skill Levels : Easy
Terrain : paved, crushed gravel, bridges, flat sections, open field
Faclities : parking, food close by, toilet, outhouse, drinking water, lodging, trailhead map, good signage, trails maintained, shelter
Trail Fee : Free

Length – 15 km (one way)

90% park path
10% road shared cars in park

Elevation – Flat along the water’s edge, a large hill to get in or out of the valley

Terrain – Predominantly wide, paved two-way paths; some gravel and sand; bridges 

Skill – Easy

Maps – Map boards, numbered routes

Traffic – Cyclists, walkers, rollerbladers, dogs, kids, a few cars

Facilities – Parking lots, many washrooms, snack bar, benches, picnic tables, rain shelters

Highlights – Deep, wooded ravines; tall bridges; horse stables; botanical gardens

Trail Fee – Free

Phone – 311

Website – City of Toronto 

Similar Trails – Humber River, Etobicoke Creek

Local Clubs – Toronto Bicycle Network – TBN

Access – Many entry points; car lots can be found at E.T. Seton, Serena Gundy, and Sunnybrook parks, as well as Edwards Gardens.



bike trail book ad

The West Don River has some of the most popular scenic bicycle paths in Toronto. None of them is very long, so I grouped a cluster of five together to offer you about 15 km to enjoy. 

At its southern hub by the DVP, the trail is an important thoroughfare connecting with the Lower Don River and Taylor Creek bike paths. 

From there, heading north over the river and rail tracks, this trail starts with a steep hill, bridge and ramp to overcome. (And post barriers to watch for, more on that below.)*

Once over, you are in E.T. Seton Park on a wide paved roadway (bike route 45). Cars also share the route, briefly, to find parking. 

From this deep valley you will see the tall Overlea Bridge; as you ride under it, the vista opens up and you enter the parkland behind the Ontario Science Centre. Here you can picnic, play disc golf, or find some dirt MTB trails in the woods to scoot around on.

Riding further, the path splits briefly (you can take either route) over the water and under another sizable iron railway bridge. You have now reached Eglinton Ave. E. The path underneath takes you to Serena Gundy Park. I find this twisty, paved path gets a little narrow in places, an issue on busy weekends. 

Soon you will see where Wilket Creek meets the Don River. At the washrooms, take bike route 26, a 2 km side trail to Edwards Gardens. This secluded ravine ride, a favourite of mine, takes you to the botanical gardens, a great spot for a lunch break, a walkabout and some flower photos. A must do. And for the curious, streets west of here have large mansions.

At this point, a tiny new stretch of rail trail east of Leslie Ave past Lawrence Ave. E. leads you north. The 4 km Don Mills RT is straight, as former train tracks tend to be, and not too interesting, but it does connect to 3 km of more scenic paths in Talwood Park, so it’s worth the out and back.

Cycling the other way from the washrooms at Wilket Creek the path continues as a flat valley ride by the west arm of the Don River onto Sunnybrook Park. Here you can watch horse riders train at the stables and buy ice cream (good for kids of all ages).

By crossing the river again you can reach the end at Bayview Avenue by riding west up the hill through the hospital complex. Or even better, find the 1.5 km gravel path past the dog park for a prettier but rougher way, (it may still not go through).

I thought I would suggest this well-established central Toronto location because many of you can go there without burning too much (expensive) gas.  A wonderful relaxing urban scenic ride, bustling on weekends with picnics, sports activities, and tourists. 

I know this route well because this is my neighbourhood and I get to ride these trails frequently. There are a great many entry and exit points to lead you in many directions. I think you will enjoy this ride whatever you make of the outing.

 

*Black Post Hazard – A few years ago, waist-high metal posts were installed along the pathways to stop cars from entering the bike trail. They are painted black with no reflectors or bright colours to make them noticeable, so they could be dangerous at night. Even worse, there are a few at the bottom of a fast hill, just ready to send a poor-sighted/daydreaming cyclist flying. 

At the Charles Sauriol Park parking lot –  https://goo.gl/maps/jpzfrYQnaBYiVgmQ9

Please watch out for them…I sent the city a message about this; perhaps you should too:  cycling@toronto.ca   and  parks@toronto.ca

Black post hazard

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This new ride review is not yet published in my book. But 65 other great destinations are with better maps, elevation graphs and more parking locations. Available as an
eBook or paperback.

Park Paths Map

West Don River bike trail map

West Don River bike trail map

Reviews
3.8
Total Score 1 REVIEW
Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout:
  • May 13, 2022 at 3:12 pm

    A great ride, very popular and it takes you to many things to see and do. Bring a lock you may want to walk the botanical gardens or visit the Science Centre. You can not ride your bike in Edwards Gardens. (popular for wedding photos)

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Fun Factor: Scenic: Trail Design: Technical: Workout: