The keys to success on any family hike with kids are accessible trails, a variety of terrain, a high probability of wildlife sightings and surprise snacks. These eight family-friendly hiking trails near Toronto offer all of the above. (Except for the snacks—those are on you.) Lace ‘em up and enjoy a fantastic family day hiking in the great outdoors.


Mono Cliffs Provincial Park Trails

This park is located approximately 90 kilometres northwest of Toronto. There are many hiking trails to choose from here, but two good choices are to walk along 30-metre cliffs on the Cliff-Top Side Trail (2.8 kilometres) or through a canyon on the 1.3-kilometre Spillway Trail.

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photoJohn Vetterli Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Mount Nemo Conservation Area Trails

Get away from the concrete and crowds to enjoy the beauty of nature at Mount Nemo in Burlington. Mount Nemo (even the name will appeal to children!) has two loop trails (North: 2.3 kilometres; South: 2.6 kilometres) that can each be completed in about an hour. These hikes reveal groovy geology as well as sudden and incredible views of the GTA on a clear day.

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photoNarasimman Jayaraman Flickr cc by 2.0

Hilton Falls Trail

There are three hiking trails of various lengths to suit families with hikers of all ages at Hilton Falls Park. The most popular trail is the four-kilometre Hilton Falls Trail. The waterfall attraction is a gorgeous hiking reward and snacking pit stop. Pack binoculars to spot abundant bird and animal life like salamanders along the way.

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 photoPerry Quan Flickr cc by sa 2.0

Vista Trail at Rouge National Urban Park

It’s special to find such a beautiful natural area so close to Canada’s biggest city. The Vista Trail at Rouge National Urban Park is a three-kilometre roundtrip trail that includes a two-level viewing platform, the perfect perch for views of the Rouge River valley and leaf-peeping in fall.

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 photoArtur Staszewski Flickr sa by 2.0

Lover’s Leap Trail

Pick a warm summer or fall day and head west to the Elora Gorge Conservation Area. The Lover’s Leap Trail might be more difficult for small children, as it stretches for five kilometres. Be sure to pack swimsuits in your hiking bag as you can access the Irvine Creek gorge post-hike for a refreshing dip.

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 photoCANbike Flickr cc by 2.0

Kelso Conservation Area

Kelso’s hiking trails open after the snow has melted on the Glen Eden Ski Hill. With 16 kilometres of escarpment trails, hikers of every age and ability can choose an easy or more challenging route to reach the scenic views and lookouts towards the city. Bring a bathing suit to enjoy a swim in the reservoir.

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photoBoris Kasimov Flickr cc by 2.0

Scarborough Bluffs Trail

The Bluffs stretch for 15 kilometres along Lake Ontario from Toronto’s Eastern Beaches to East Point Park. The unique geology of the escarpment provides beautiful views of Lake Ontario. This popular five-kilometre loop trail leads from Bluffer’s Park out and along the lakeside beach.

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photoMichael Flickr cc by 2.0

Humber River Old Mill & Marshes Trail

An easy trek that begins at the Old Mill subway station, this seven-kilometre loop trail passes the Old Mill and the Old Mill Bridge on its way down to the lake and back again. Look out for birds, butterflies, and more than 60 species of fish in the marshes and the Humber River.

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