BEST OUTDOOR TRAILS IN NEWMARKET AND AURORA
BEST OUTDOOR TRAILS IN NEWMARKET AND AURORA
With the weather warming up (I keep telling myself it will happen sooner rather than later) and summer on the way, planning a walk or hike at a nearby trail, is always a good idea. More Ontario residents are heading outdoors this year than ever before, thanks in part to COVID-19 and the search for fun, family-friendlyoutdoor activities, that are still safe given the current situation.
York Region boasts an incredible number of parks, forests and trails, that can be accessed almost year-round. For an interactive map of all the trails York Region has to offer, you can visit and search to your hearts content here.
There’s also a great site here, that provides information on great hiking, forest and mountain biking trails in York Region and across Canada.
To help narrow things down a bit, I’m sharing my top five favorite places to visit with my family when we’re looking to get outdoors and be active, here in the Newmarket/Aurora area.
- Jokers Hill Hiking Trails
For downloadable maps and more information about rules and policies, click here.
- 99 Steps at theThornton Bales Conservation Area
Nicknamed "The 99 Steps", this conservation area features an accessible lookout to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views at the ridge of the forest. With exactly 99 steps to get you from the top to the bottom of the ridge, visitors will descend to the Red Oak Trail, best suited to people who are in good physical condition and enjoy a challenge. Among the wildlife that can be found in this ravine-like setting are pileated woodpeckers and white-tailed deer. It’s a beautiful trail that I love exploring with my own family. The kids especially loved the steps and it’s a beautiful place to visit in the fall as well, with the leaves changing colors and lots of tree stumps to clamber over and fallen trees to explore and take a rest on.
Fun fact: The change in vertical elevation from the top of the 99 steps to the bottom is a larger change in elevation than the drop over Niagara Falls!
For more information, including tips on where to park, maps and rules, visit https://www.lsrca.on.ca/thornton-bales.
- Fairy Lake
While strolling through Fairy Lake Park, you will discover playgrounds, picnic areas and beautiful walking trails winding around the lake, over bridges and through well-maintained parkland. The park has a pavilion offering shelter and washrooms, chess/checker tables and a barbecue site. It’s a great place to visit with your family and young children, but it’s also a great path for a good walk or run. It does tend to get crowded though on weekends and over the summer, but still a beautiful place to explore, which offers ample parking and nearby access to great restaurants and shops.
- Tim Jones (Nokidda) Trail
The trail corridor links municipal facilities such as the Aurora Family Leisure Complex, the Aurora Town Hall and the Aurora Senior's Centre and passes through the Aurora Community Arboretum, Lambert Willson Park, and Sheppards Bush. An additional trail northward, just west of McKenzie Marsh, links up with the Town of Newmarket and completes Aurora's section of the Tim Jones (Nokiidaa) Trail. The Tim Jones Trail is part of the larger Nokiidaa Trail system and can be taken as far north as East Gwillimbury following the East Holland River.
For more information about trails in Aurora, click here.
- Scanlon Creek Conservation Area
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area is a hikers’ haven, a picnicking paradise, a birder’s delight and a photographer’s dream. Explore forests, marshlands, and glacial erratics, enjoy spring wildflowers, or the vibrant fall leaves and see plenty of birds and other wildlife as you hike the expansive trail system covering most of the 300-hectare park.
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area is located just outside of Bradford West Gwillimbury on the 9th Line. To get there, take Highway 11/Yonge Street to the 9th Line and turn right. You’ll go down a hill and see the entrance sign for the main parking lot on your left.From Highway 400 heading northbound, get off at Highway 88 towards Bradford until you hit Barrie Street in the middle of town. Turn left (head north) and then follow the instructions above.
Entrance to the park is free, but you’ll need to pay for parking. You can visit the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority page for more information and for downloadable maps.
I hope you’ll consider exploring some of these parks and trails with your friends and family. Look forward to seeing you out there! Don’t forget to always think safety and be prepared when going on a hike or long walk, especially with younger children.