Off the Beaten Path: Hiking Trails You Might Not Know

Try out one of these lesser known trails close to home

Now that spring has finally made an official appearance, it’s time to shake off the cob webs of winter and hit the trails. If you’ve already exhausted all of your options within the city, the GTA offers up a variety of gems that are ready to be discovered.

Here are seven sites worth checking out:

Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail


(Photo by Sean_Marshall via Flickr)

Operating year round and great for beginners, this is Ontario’s first off-road interurban biking and hiking trail. The 32-kilometer trail is suitable for bikes, walkers and equestrians and is the final leg of the abandoned 80-kilometer Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway.

Burk Trail


(Photo by Ontario Trails)

Although it can be completed in about a half hour, its difficulty level is moderate as it moves through fields, meadows and forest. This trail is one of four available at Darlington Provincial Park just east of Oshawa stretching 5 kilometers in length. Bring some binoculars, the area is a hot spot for migrating birds.

Ravine Trail


(Photo by JP Newell via Flickr)

Just under 3 kilometers and easy to tackle, this is the longest trail in Bronte Creek Provincial Park. It cuts along the ravine to a beautiful lookout point. The trail also offers a number of activities like a petting zoo, outdoor playground and overnight camp ground. A historic farmhouse from the 1890s offers a look back in time.

Kortright Centre Trail


(Photo by Eric Hacke via Flickr)

Nestled off a busy road in Vaughan, the Kortright Centre is rich in wildlife and features acres of forest, river, and meadow. There are 15 kilometers of trails for enthusiasts of varying levels of difficulty and the Visitor Centre offers informative nature programs and guided walks.

Rattray Marsh Trail


(Photo by Moodycamera Photography via Flickr)

This is a wetland salvage project from the 1970s initiated by the City of Mississauga. It is 6 kilometers in length, pedestrian only. It’s also part of a great network of trails created in the area as part of the City Master Plan to support outdoor activity.

Bennett Heritage Trail


(Photo by Toronto Hiking)

Opened to the public on Canada Day in 1992, this trail offers the opportunity to explore the Scottsdale farm which was donated to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1982. Bordering the Niagara Escarpment and sharing many of its qualities, the property covers 1300 hectares and has been a working farm for over two centuries. The trail is 13 kilometers and is moderately difficult.

Bruce`s Mill Conservation Area Trails


(Photo by evaingesl via Flickr)

Home to the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival in the spring, the 10 kilometers of trails are opened all year round and beautifully forested. Beyond rolling open fields, visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic or even stay overnight. For golfers, the Bruce’s Mills Golf Centre and Driving Range offer another way to unwind.

For more information on trails in Ontario, visit and explore the unbeaten paths outside the city!

For more trails within the city limits, here are the best places to take a hike in Toronto.

(Main image courtesy of Ontario Trails)