Humber River & Don River Valley

Another tips for nice walking or biking you can do directly in Toronto! Just head up to one of the two main ‘rivers’ ending in lake Ontario – Humber River at the west and Don River at the east.

Humber River on bike

You  can easily access Humber River Recreational Trail from Ontario lakeshore – there is waterfront shared path called Martin Goodman Trail (sometimes called just Waterfront) and if you continue to west, you’ll be able to see bridge. That’s bridge over Humber river and here the whole bike (and shared) trail starts. I think you can’t miss it because this area is usually very busy. You can continue by the river to the northern parts of Toronto up to Steeles Ave. It takes approx. 25 kms. Most of the time you will ride on paved road but there are few exemptions.

Humber Bay Bridge (Wikimedia)

Humber Bay Bridge (Wikimedia)

Most likely around Lawrence Ave. & Weston Rd. intersection you will have to dismount from bike and find the trail again 🙂 And as I wrote trail is usually busy – cyclists, runners, hikers, walkers, roller-skaters etc. You have to be careful. So I wouldn’t recommend road bike, you wouldn’t have enjoyed it 100%. But for ‘normal’ biking definitely worth to try, of course!

Humber River on foot

I don’t have experience with hiking around Humber river but from what I’ve seen from bike so far, I would recommend 2 locations:

  • Old Mill – Etienne Brulé Park
    • nice area with old looking stone bridge and place for picnic or short walk, very easily accessible by subway (Old Mill station)
  • Lambton Park & Lambton Woods
    • very nice forest, specially in autumn, except car and bike accessible by bus from Ossington subway station to Dundas St West at Humber Hill stop; you can connet both areas walking from Old Mill, it’s not far, just about 5 kms

Lambton Woods

Humber river, on boat

I’ve found this option via some ads and deals. There are few agencies offering ‘kayaking’ on Humber river. And I am almost positive that except of many other restrictions you can paddle on rivers in Toronto on your own. For example from Old Mill should be relatively easy way to lake Ontario from where you could continue to another nice places such as Toronto Islands. You can easily rent a canoe in some outdoor store, i.e. MEC.

Old Mill

Old Mill (Wikimedia)

Don River on bike

Start point is located eastward from St. Lawrence Market & Distillery District – Mill St. or again you can use Martin Goodman (Waterfront) trail. The first option is better in my opinion. Anyway, path starts there, continues north up to Eglinton Ave. and it’s many times interrupted due to rails, private property or some golf club. Specially from Eglinton to 401 Highway is tough but as long as you can use any kind of map, you’re OK. Trail ends on Steeles Ave. as well as Humber river path. The whole one-way trip takes again 25 kms. Some parts are shared with no-cyclists but NOT SO BUSY as Humber ones. And outdoors are really nice too. I personally like this trail little bit better, so definitely recommend!

Don River Valley

Don River Valley (Tripadvisor)

If you are kind of challenger, you can also extend your bike trip connecting both trails via Finch Ave. at north. There are newly built cyclepaths most of the time, sadly not 100% completed so part from Islington Ave. to Jane St. really sucks, however… doable 🙂 Total portion of kms for this whole trip is then around 80 which is really not bad for Toronto I think.

Humber & Don River Trails connected via Finch

Humber & Don River Trails connected via Finch

Don River on foot

Again, just as an observer, I have 2 tips:

  • Riverdale Farm & nearby
    • specially fun for children, mini farm and ‘skansen’ (open-air-museum); except car or bike accessible by streetcar from Gerrard St East at Sumach St stop
  • Lower Don Parklands
    • good hiking trails in terms of Toronto 🙂 except bike or car accessible by bus from Sherbourne subway station

Enjoy T.O. outdoors!

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