Location: Rouge National Urban Park
Park here: The entrance for Glen Rouge Campground
Public Transport: GO Transit Bus

Hike Distance: 4.4 km roundtrip
Elevation Gain/Loss: Minimal
Hike Duration: 1- 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
What makes it easy/moderate? A mainly flat trail with a few short but steep sections.

Trail website: rvcc.ca

Mast Trail enjoying the viewShayna Stevenson

A popular multi-use trail in the GTA, Rouge Valley Mast Trail is a beautiful and quiet forest trail tucked away in the middle of busy roads and urban landscapes. A now defunct 200-year-old logging route, this dog- and kid-friendly trail is well-trodden and easy to follow.

purple wildflowers on the trailShayna Stevenson

Find the Trailhead

Driving: There is a free parking lot (approx. 40 parking spots) at the entrance for Glen Rouge Campground where the south entrance to trail begins. You will also find a couple portable toilets here.

Public Transportation: Depending on the direction you are travelling from, there are buses that stop within a 10-12-minute walk of the park entrance.

Mast Trail trailheadShayna Stevenson

The Hike Itself

A few minutes into this hike, you will find it hard to believe you are within the Greater Toronto Area. With my dog in tow, we set out on the trail. It is 2.2 kilometres end-to-end, making it 4.4 kilometres roundtrip.

beginning of the trailShayna Stevenson

To my surprise, the initial pedestrian bridge and open-field path quickly turns into a forest scene with tree cover providing shade and creating a significantly cooler experience with the promising scent of cedar in the air.

forest floor scent lovely natureShayna Stevenson

Through the dappled forest light, ferns and other plants grow on the forest floor. A sign at the beginning of the trail warned of a bear in the area, so I kept an eye out for forest animals.

There are a few variations in the trail that you can take. Always stick to the designated trails. If a path is closed, it is because there are poisonous plants (these spots are typically gated) or for environmental protection.

closed path stay offShayna Stevenson

When you are approximately a quarter-way through the trail, you will reach an incline and wonder if it will be a significant climb from here. Spoiler alert—it isn’t. This short stretch of trail leads to a wide plateau filled with trees and a view of the forest below.

first incline on the trailShayna Stevenson

To the far end of the plateau is a set of steps, and your second (and last) significant uphill stretch. These steps are shallow and wide, allowing a slow and easy ascent if you so choose.

stepsShayna Stevenson

From this point in the trail, we were deep into the forest landscape on a clear and easy-to-navigate path that hikers, runners and cyclists use.

forestShayna Stevenson

It is easy to get distracted by the views but be sure to keep an eye out for tripping hazards, such as tree roots and large stones.

tree roots tripping hazardShayna Stevenson

As you approach the last third of this direction of the trail you will come upon the only significant descending section. This slope is slow and gradual (remember: this will be an ascending hike on the way back).

slopeShayna Stevenson

Like where we began, the north end of the trail leaves the forest and opens to meadow views. There is a grassy hill to the left, which makes a great spot for a picnic lunch.

Once we reached the end of the trail, we took a little break before heading back. Like any first-time journey, the way there seemed much longer than the way back.

plateauShayna Stevenson

Somewhere in the middle of the hike back, I saw something just off the path stir. When I looked up, it wasn’t a bear (phew!) but a young doe watching us from behind a tree. As I audibly reacted in delight, it ran off into the forest—but not before rounding out my perfect hiking experience.

end of the trailShayna Stevenson


Before You Go:

  • Bring water and keep in mind there are no facilities throughout the trail
  • If you have the time, make an afternoon of it and pack a lunch
  • Leave the forest as you found it—despite the popularity of the trail, it is in pristine condition; do your part to leave it that way
  • There are many ticks in the area—be sure to check yourself (and your dog, should you bring one) shortly after completing your hike
  • Open year-round, this trail has steep sections that may be slippery when wet or covered in ice

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