Rider Mel's Mountain Bike Guide to Ontario

This spiral bound 5 x 8 book is a fun mountain bike guide filled with write-ups, photos and even a yellow pages section for reference.

All maps and directions are easy to follow.

Trails are mapped/described for all levels family/intermediate to super tough. Each ride is rated by distance, physical difficulty, technical difficulty and potential to scare the heck out of you. Made for bikers by bikers.

 
2ND EDITION

TRAILS AROUND THE REGION

Please note - bayview Cycle takes no responsibility for the details and accuracy for the following text. These suggestions have been sent to us, if you have any suggestions or corrections - please let us know. 


Albion Hills
Open:  May-September
Nearest Town/City:  Bolton
Location:  Hwy 427 north to Hwy 7. Take Hwy 7 West to first set of lights (Hwy 50). Go right onto Hwy 50 and travel north through Bolton for about 23km. Entrance is on the left (west) side of the road. 
Phone:  Metro Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (416) 661-6600
Cost:  $4.00 per person
Total trail system:  26.5 km
Maximum loop:  9 km
Trail grades:  Primarily double track
Comments: Albion Hills offers 450 hectares of rolling hills and forest. The Albion Hills trails are mainly double track ski trails with some single track. This is a good area for beginner and intermediate riders but offers little in the extreme category
Dagmar Ski Resort
NOW CLOSED -
  Dundas Valley Conservation Area
Open:  Year Round
Nearest Town/City:  Dundas
Location:  Take the 403 to Main Street East [West] in Hamilton. Go east [West] on Main street until Osler Drive. Take Osler to Governors Road. Take Governors Road east [West] until you see the Dundas Valley Conservation Area entrance on the left side.
Cost:  $3.00 vehicle, $2.00 bike only
Total trail system:  ~40km
Maximum loop:  ~10 km
Trail grades:  Mostly wide footpaths with some singletrack trails.
Comments:  The Dundas Valley Conservation Area is maintained and operated by the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority. Located along the Niagara Escarpment, the Dundas Valley is primarily deciduous forest and hilly terrain. Most of the trails are wide footpaths that have been reconditioned with limestone gravel, resulting in mainly beginner and intermediate tracks. However, the area offers many long arduous climbs up the side of the valley with some excellent downhill runs. Although there is no technical singletrack, the Bruce Trail does run through the area and adds some interesting terrain. Taking the Bruce Trail east through the Dundas Valley offers some spectacular Escarpment riding and views. Take some time to enjoy the waterfalls flowing off the Escarpment. 
Note: Outside of the Dundas Valley, the Bruce trail is almost always prohibited for mountain biking. In many cases this is not a great loss as much of the Bruce Trail cannot be ridden anyway due to the rough condition of the trails.
Durham Forest
Open:  Year-round
Nearest City/Town:  Uxbridge (north), Ajax/Pickering (south), Port Perry (east), Goodwood (West)
Location:  Hwy 401 east to Brock Road in Pickering. North on Brock Road to Durham Road 21 at Coppin's Corners. East on Durham Road 21 approximately 5 km to Sideline #7. South on Sideline #7 for about 1 km. Entrance is on the left side (east side) marked by "Trail Head" sign. 
Cost: Free
Total trail system:  25-30 km
Maximum loop:  15 km
Trail grades:  Double track main trails with many km's of singletrack. Some good technical sections as well as blow your mind fast stuff. Several long climbs and descents. 
Comments: Encompassing 375 hectares south of Uxbridge, Durham Forest is a prime location for many MTB races throughout the year. Blessed by the rollling hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine and reforestation efforts, Durham Forest and the surrounding area offers some of the best mountain biking in the GTA. From double track forest access routes to tight single track, Durham Forest encompasses a full variety of trails with good hill climbs and a few surprises thrown in to keep you honest. Most of the technical singletrack can be found at the south end of the forest just east of the cellular tower. Durham Forest can easily offer a full-day of riding and leave you begging for more. Highly recommended!!
Note: There are several other trail areas near the site that can be ridden in the same day to give riders even more choice of terrain (see Glen Major, Dagmar, Skyloft, Pleasure Valley). 
Glen Major Conservation Area
Open:  Year-round
Nearest City/Town:  Uxbridge (north), Balsam (south), Port Perry (east), Goodwood (West) Location: Hwy 401 east to Brock Road in Pickering. North on Brock Road to about 20 km to Claremont. At Claremont, turn east on Durham Road 5. Travel along Durham Road 5 until Balsam and then go north on Sideline #4. About 3 km north you will see large rocks blocking the entrance on the west side of the road. There are no signs indicating the location of this area. If you pass a white Methodist church on the Left then you have gone too far.
Cost:  Free
Total trail system:  15 km
Trail grades:  Fast, technical single and double track complimented by high speed bermed corners, creek crossings and spectacular scenery.
Comments:  These trails are excellent on their own or as an extension to the Durham Forest trails. Originally a 450 hectare tree farm purchased by the Metro Conservation Authority, the trails offer some great downhills as well as short steep climbs and a couple of longer quad-burners. The site boasts double track, fast single track, technical singletrack, creek crossings, air time, and some of the best scenery in the GTA. The area can be broken into three trail systems. The main entrance is located in the south valley. Trails heading north through the south valley woods will lead you to the Three Sisters, a series of steep climbs across a reclaimed gravel pit. Continuing to head north through the Three Sisters will take you to the north woods area which contains most of the fast bermed singletrack and some of the newer technical singletrack. Continuing along many of the double track trails that head north from Glen Major will lead you through Walker Woods and the West Tract of Durham Forest. Taking these trails will eventually lead you to the main Durham forest trails at the cellular tower. Piecing the different trail systems together easily offers 30-35km of intense riding. Although now primarily used by mountain bikers, horses and the occasional ATV have been spotted so be careful as some of these trails are very fast.
Point of Interest:  Follow sideline #4 to Chalk Lake Road (there is also access to the Glen Major trails at this intersection on the west side of the road) and turn right. Follow the road past Lakeridge Ski Area to Durham #23. There is a natural spring (and parking lot) on the northwest corner of the intersection. The spring, which feeds Chalk Lake across the road, is a great place to fill up those Camelbak's and water bottles on a hot day!!
Jefferson Forest 
Open:  Year Round
Nearest Town/City:  Richmond Hill
Location:  Take Bayview Avenue north from Richmond Hill until it ends at Stouffville Road. Go east for about 50m. The trails are on the north side.
Cost:  Free
Total trail system:  ~5-6km
Maximum loop:  NA
Trail grades:  Primarily singletrack through wooded area.
Comments:  Jefferson Forest offers a good system of novice and intermediate trails. Most of the area is singletrack but is not extremely technical. There are some steep downhills that add a little zest to the system as well as a few good climbs. The length and number of trails is limited and you quickly end up in a farmer's field or back on the road. Not a bad place to ride if you're in the neighborhood and need to kill an hour or so.
Note:  A side trip to Wilcox Lake is well worth the while. You can get to the lake by heading north through the trails until you come to a side road. Head east along this road to Wilcox Lake.
Kelso Conservation Area
Open:  May-October
Nearest Town/City:  Milton
Location:  Hwy 401 west to Hwy 25. Take Hwy 25 north to Regional Road 9. Turn left on Regional Road 9 and go a few km's to Regional Road 22. Turn left onto Regional Road 22 and go a few more km's to the entrance to the conservation area at Regional Road 28.
Phone:  (905) 878-5011
Cost: $3.25 
Total trail system: 30km
Maximum loop: NA
Trail grades: Primarily singletrack with some double track including one major climb and descent.
Comments: Kelso Conservation Area offers 1000 acres of gently rolling terrain primarily on top of the Niagara escarpment. The trails can be found at the end of a long 250-foot climb up a rocky double track access road. The trails are mainly singletrack and wind their way through woods and over limestone outcrops. There is not a great deal of extreme technical singletrack but there are several fast downhills. Kelso offers a good change from loamy forest floors with its limestone base and fast hardpack trails. The area offers some great views atop the escarpment.
Pleasure Valley
Open: Spring & Fall: Tues.-Sun. 9am-5pm Summer: Tues.-Fri. 10am-5pm, Sat.-Sun. 10am-7pm
Nearest Town/City: Brougham (south), Coppins Corners (north)
Location: Highway #401 to Brock Road in Pickering. Brock Road north for about 20km to Pleasure Valley. Entrance on the east side.
Cost: Spring & Fall: $7.00 Summer: $15.00
Total trail system: ~30km
Trail grades: Double track cross country ski trails interspersed with technical singletrack.
Comments: Due to their close proximity, Pleasure Valley offers much of the same kind of riding as Durham Forest. A traditional Ontario venue for MTB races, the 260 hectare forested cross-country ski trails and technical singletrack offer riders of all levels a worth while experience close to the city. Pleasure Valley is also a great place to take the kids as the area provides many outdoor activities from horseback riding to rollerblading. 
Rockcliffe
Open: Year Round
Nearest Town/City: Waterdown
Location: Take highway five through Waterdown to Bayview Ave. Go south on Bayview Ave. to Rockcliff Drive. Go east on Rockcliff Drive for about 500m. The entrance to the trails is on the right through several large boulders.
Cost: Free
Total trail system: ~10 km
Trail grades: A good mix of technical singletrack and wider footpaths. The Bruce trail also runs through this area but tends to be rocky and unkept for mountain biking.
Comments: Rockcliffe offers riders one of the best access points to mountain biking on the Niagara Escarpment. The trail begins with some wider footpaths but quickly tightens up into some excellent and sometimes technical singletrack. The area is blessed with many steep climbs and descents on hardpack trails as well as extreme technical riding on twisty, rocky surfaces.. Due to the proximity to the Bruce Trail, Rockcliffe can get busy with hikers. Many of these hikers can be unfriendly, so beware. However, the trails are well worth the aggravation (just smile and wave) and the scenery is spectacular.
Skyloft MTB Centre
Open: May-October
Nearest City/Town: Uxbridge (north), Ajax/Pickering (south), Port Perry (east) 
Location: Hwy 401 east to Harwood Ave in Ajax. North on Harwood to Hwy 2. East on Hwy 2 to Lakeridge Road (Durham Road 23). North on Lakeridge Road about 19km to Chalk Lake Road. Go west on Chalk Lake Road for about 1.5km Entrance is on the north side.
Phone: (905) 649-5160
Cost: $5 per person 
Total trail system: NA
 
Maximum loop: NA
Trail grades:  Cross country ski trails interspersed with forest singletrack and a downhill ski area.
Comments: Although Skyloft is a well known race site, 1997 was the first year it opened its doors to the public for mountain biking. Skyloft has just begun to develop as a mountain bike centre so there aren't a great deal of trails. However, the area has a great deal of potential especially since it borders the south end of Durham Forest. Expansion plans are in the works to increase the number of trails available. Existing trails wind across the ski hills and offer some great downhill rides. The main challenge is climbing the ski hill to get back to the top. With some imaginative trail development in the woods to the north of the ski hill, this problem should be alleviated. With a little work, Skyloft should become a major riding destination. After all, it has one of the best views in the GTA.
York Regional Forest –  Porritt Tract
Open: Year-round
Nearest City/Town: Ballantrae
Location: North of Markham on Kennedy Road. Entrance is .5km north of Aurora Road (York Regional Road 15) on the west side.
Phone: NA
Cost: Free 
Total trail system: 5 km
Maximum loop: 5km 
Trail grades:  Fire Roads with some singletrack
Comments: The York Regional Forest is comprised of 18 tracts of public land combining to over 2000 hectares managed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The Porritt tract offers 81 hectares of plantation forest and wetlands streching between Warden Avenue and Kennedy Road. The trail system is limited to fire roads with some singletrack but can be overgrown in the summer. The area offers about a 45 minute ride with very few surprises. Good spot for beginners to test out their skills.
Raven Shoe
Open:
Nearest City/Town: Keswick
Location: HWY 404 north from Toronto to Davis Drive, east on Davis to McCowan Road. North on McCowan about 11 km to the entrance to Brown Hill Tract on west side of road (about 0.5 km south of Ravenshoe Road).
Cost: Free 
Total trail system: 20 km
Trail grades:  Rythmic bike specific single track, very tight and technical
Comments: A good selection of tight twisty, technical single track, log jumps, teeter-totters, etc. Recomended for advanced riders and above, but intermediates will have a good time.
Don-Valley Trails
Open: Year-round
Nearest City/Town: Toronto
Location: The main trails go through the woods on the west side of the Don Valley from Thorncliffe Park, under the Millwood Road bridge, around the sewage treatment plant to Bayview Ave. Entrance is from Bayview and Pottery Road on the south end or at Thorncliffe Park on the North end.
Cost: Free 
Total trail system: ~3.5km end to end Maximum loop:
~6-7km Trail grades: Technical singletrack with many short steep climbs and descents. 
Comments: Good trail for those of us stuck in the city, especially for after-work riding. The trails offer some good singletrack that gets technical in spots and fast in others with some good short climbs and some killers that will test your ability to keep traction. The area does tend to get really slick after rain (clay base) so be prepared to go down if you venture on the trails under these conditions. Its best to stay off the trails after a rain to minimize erosion (muddy conditions just wear your drivetrain out anyway). The riding is intense but you will need to do several loops to build up the distance. There are also some longer steep hills off the main trail up the side of the valley. Probably the best trails in the city for mountain biking. There is also a trail that runs between the Don River and the CN railway line. This trail is to be ridden at your own risk as it does tresspass on private CN railway land. Many a weekend warrior has met their demise to the cops here. The trail is quite fast so watch out for new fences that keep getting erected and subsequently torn down. Also watch out for GO trains! Several trails also head north through different sections of the Don Valley. We'll leave these to your exploration. All of these trails can get busy on summer weekends, especially during a dry period. 
Etobicoke Creek Trails
Open: Year-round
Nearest City/Town: Etobicoke
Location: Centennial Park in Etobicoke. Travel west from Renforth Drive on Rathburn Road. Keep going until you come to the dead end just past Mill Road. The trail entrance is about 30 yards into the woods.
Cost: Free 
Total trail system: 20 km
Maximum loop: 9 km 
Trail grades: Even split of double track, single track and creek crossings
Comments: The Etobicoke Creek trails follow the banks of the Etobicoke Creek from Burnamthorpe Road to Pearson International Airport. Most of the singletrack is in the trees along the side of the valley. A couple of creek crossings connect the trails and cool things down in the heat of summer. A main double track access road runs along the bottom of the valley as a connector for the trails. Exploration is definitely needed in this trail system as the singletrack does not connect in any logical fashion. Watch out for motocross at the north end of the trails. Some good fun to be had if you've got an hour or so to kill but you need to be patient to put it all together.
Humber Valley North/Thackary Park 
Open: Year-round
Nearest City/Town: North York/Woodbridge
Location: Enter the trails at the southwest side of the bridge over the Humber River on Steeles Avenue east of Kipling Avenue.
Cost: Free 
Maximum loop: NA 
Total trail system: Primarily singletrack with some double track.
Comments: The trails along the Humber River run both south and north from the entrance at Steeles Avenue. To the south they consist of mainly singletrack but can be hard to follow through the thick underbrush. Detours on double track and paved trails are often needed to link the trails together that can take you as far as Lake Ontario with some patience. There is a great deal of potential for trail deveopment in this area given some rider interest. The trails to the north are more navigable and take you into Woodbridge. 
  The trails at Thackery Park (Steeles and Kipling) were created in 1997 to accommodate the Volkswagen/Trek mountain bike race. They link into the Humber Valley trails and form a good location for riding and training. Thackery Park is an old landfill and adds some excellent climbing and descents to the technical singletrack of the Humber Valley. Nothing too extreme but another good in-city location to keep the legs in shape. 
Taylor Creek Trails
Open: Year-round
Nearest City/Town: Toronto
Location: Exit Don Mills Road south of Overlea Blvd. Follow the road under the Don Valley Parkway to the parking lot. The trail entrance is south of the parking lot.
Cost: Free 
Total trail system: ~4km
Maximum loop: NA
Trail grades: Singletrack with paved connectors
Comments: The Taylor Creek trails are quite short but offer a good extension to the Don Valley trails. The trails in the trees on the south side of the parking lot offer tight single track that winds its way along the side of the valley. You can also open it up on the open field area and have some fun skirting through the small pine trees. There is also a trail under the hydro lines along the south side of the creek that takes you as far as the O'Connor Drive bridge. You need to use your imagination on these trails to put different sections together to form some decent loops. The trails are not as worn in as the Don Valley so they don't get as slick but do get quite muddy for a few days after a rainfall. 
  Sunnybrook Park
Nearest Town: Toronto
Technical Rating: Blue Square (Mainly Intermediate Riding)
Comments: Enter the park on Bayview Avenue (southern entrance), find your way through the parking lots to a long hill (down), then turn left and go through the parking gate, then take the south (right) turn after that, and 5-600 m later you will come to a bridge to your right, take that bridge then go up the hill on the other side; turn left and keep going until you come to another fork and go right (up). You should be on a big field, which you want to go to the opposite corner of. Go down the big hill and follow that trail to the Eglington Bridge (you should be under it). I've been told there's a fork on this trail, if you see it go left. After that, you can go up a gravel road or go straight up a hill. Take the hill. The trail lies beyond.
Etobicoke Creek
RATING Fitness: Sweat City, 
Technical: Birm Blaster
Location: Centennial Park Blvd. and Rathburn Road near Renforth in Etobicoke. You can park anywhere in Centennial Park, the closest location is off of Centennial Park Blvd. north of Rathburn. There are various ways of entering the trails. The best known way is at Centennial Park Blvd. and Rathburn starting 30 metres from the barrier on the west side of the road. You can also enter at the leaf composting area just north (next to golf course), the Eglinton Ave. bridge, or the Matheson Blvd. bridge. 15 km of singletrack, made up of different loops in the forest and fields. There are steep drops and 2 main creek crossings which provide a technical challenge. 
  The main trail is easy to find and follows both singletrack and dualtrack. This trail ends at the airport, where it is recommended you turn around! There are numerous side trails on both sides of the creek, south of hwy #401. Alot of trails were cut by moto-cross bikes years ago and provide quite a technical challenge. All these trails are singletrack and are best found by exploring.
Note: the trails on the east side, south of hwy #401 we call "the graveyard". This area is packed full of "ghost" cars from the 70's and 80's. 

Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Trail descriptions are provided as public information only. The author assumes no responsibility for damages or injuries that may occur to person or property as a result of mountain biking or otherwise using the trails described herein. The author also assumes no responsibility for any damages or injuries to person or property caused by any person mountain biking or otherwise using the trails described herein. Always confirm with local authorities and/or property owners before mountain biking on any trails. Ride at your own risk. Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.