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Richmond Hill, known as “the City above Toronto” is known not only for its industrious and fast-developing urban landscape, but its abundance of greenspaces and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.
Now more than ever, it’s important for individuals and families to find ways to keep active and engaged – and there’s no place better to kickstart healthy living than the great Canadian outdoors. With a full four seasons to enjoy, the naturally-distinct seasons all offer their own opportunities for enjoyment and activity. But no matter the season, one activity that remains an all-weather go-to for many is good old fashioned walking. From slow strides to intensive hiking, with the right weather-appropriate attire, some solid footwear and hydration within reach, you can allow nature to provide the rest.
Staying active in the great outdoors in Richmond Hill is easy. The area offers 167 parks, 150 km of trails and 689 hectares of natural spaces for locals to explore and enjoy. For those interested in the history behind some of the native lands that Richmond Hill is situated on, you can check out our community blog post on some historical facts about the area.
For those outdoor enthusiasts who prefer to keep their feet firmly to the ground, we’ve assembled a list of some of the best local hot spots for walks and hikes in and around Richmond Hill.
Credit: City of Richmond Hill
The Bartley Smith Greenway Trail is a 16.4 km point-to-point trail situated in Richmond Hill. The area features many offerings to visitors, including a river, dog-friendly trail use, beautiful scenic views along all points and is accessible year-round. Of the trail’s many positive user reviews, some of the most commonly noted highlights of the trail include:
A few quick trail notes:
For more information on this free local trail, including up-to-date information on development in the area, check out the City of Vaughan’s official page. You can also access weather reports, trail info, reviews and more via AllTrails.com.
Credit: York Durham Headwaters
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area spans approximately 267 acres in size. The area plays host to a diverse ecosystem that features 1.2 hectares of wetlands and 44 hectares of forest area.
Of the many activities the area offers visitors, some of the more popular draws include hiking, soccer, baseball fields, bird-watching areas and other nature viewing, a golf driving-range, a BMX track and one of its most popular attractions – a Treetop Trekking aerial recreation course.
For avid hikers, the area offers 10 km of recreational trails to explore. Find a full map of local trails here.
Regular operations at the park run annually from mid-April to the Thanksgiving long weekend. Weekday visitors during the regular season can enjoy free access to the park, with a small fee only on weekends. There is also the option for private area bookings for group picnics.
For more information on this free local destination check out the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s official page.
Credit: All Trails
The King City Trail runs 2.7 km and is located near King City, Ontario with an elevation gain of 16m and a loop-style trail route.
This family and dog-friendly trail is recommended for best use between June and October, when the grounds are dry and safest. The trail is known for its abundant wildlife, allowing for excellent bird-watching and also offering visitors lush vistas of wildflowers, local vegetation and waterways as guests explore the area via pathways, bridges, boardwalks and stepping-stones designed for river and marsh crossing.
One of the most comments amongst user reviews for this trail are in regards to the trail’s kid-friendly landscape. For many parents looking to encourage little ones to take part in walks and beginner-level hikes, finding suitable all-level trails can be a challenge. King City Trail not only offers a family-friendly environment, but its abundance of wildlife and plant life makes for fun and educational landscapes for the little ones as well as parents.
You can find more information on the King City Trail via AllTrail.com.
The Maple Nature Reserve Trails are an immersive experience in a natural setting with spans approximately 3.2 km and are considered easy to moderate in terms of difficulty level. The route is a looped circuit and for those seeking more challenging grounds to cover, there are areas of rugged terrain and steep inclines.
The area offers parking and washroom facilities for guests, with access points for entry located at Dufferin Street, Teston Road, William Bowes Boulevard and Lady Fenyrose Avenue Entrance to parking area located on east side of Dufferin Street, north of Major Mackenzie Drive (north of Eagles Nest Golf Course)
The trail offers access to neighboring parks and recreational fields for sports.
Of the many positive reviews for this trail destination, users frequently comment on the trail’s versatility in difficulty level – while offering an overall family-friendly route, the specific points of rugged terrain and steep inclines allow for more of a challenge, if desired.
You can find more information for the Maple Nature Reserve Trails at AllTrails.com.
Credit: Oak Ridges Trail
The Oak Ridges Corridor Conservation Reserve is considered to be a vital ecological element of the Oak Ridges Moraine.
This Richmond Hill trail spans approximately 175 hectares and features forests, wetlands, meadows, kettle lakes, and of course – several popular trails.
Of current note is the Oak Ridges Lake to Lake Trail Project, which will see the construction of a 630m multi-use trail connecting Stouffville Road and the Oak Ridges Corridor Conservation Trail. One of the main goals of this new 121 km recreational and commuter trail is the improvement of accessibility between the ORCCR and “recreational opportunities in the area”.
Per York Region’s official website, the Lake to Lake Route “is a transformative project that will form a key spine of York Region and the City of Toronto’s active transportation network, connecting to trails like the Greenbelt Route, PanAm Path and Waterfront Trail, destinations like transit hubs, and other attractions like beaches, community centres, and parks”.
Check out OakRidgesTrail.org for more information on this beautiful trail destination, including a photo gallery, trail maps, news and events and more!
Dubbed the “Phyllis Rawlinson Loop”, AllTrails.com describes this trail destination as “a 1.9 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels.”
Phyllis Rawlinson Park’s trail, which features a 10m elevation gain, is popular with bird-watchers and nature-lovers who enjoy taking in wildlife views while making their way around the looped route.
This trail is rated well by users and is commonly noted for being an easy trek, suitable for beginner’s and boasting beautiful views for visitors to enjoy.
Located on Leslie Street north of 19th Avenue, this park features:
This park is the only one within Richmond Hill that offers barbeques and fire pits – which makes it an ideal grounds for group events and gatherings.
Interesting to note is that the park is Richmond Hill’s largest of the Oak Ridges Moraine parks. The land is named after longtime resident Phyllis Rawlinson, who generously donated the land to the City of Richmond Hill.
According to the city’s official postings, the majority of local parks, trails and amenities are now operating per their usual scheduling. For updates, news and operating hours of local parks affected by ongoing Covid19 restrictions, please visit this page.
You can find a full list of Richmond Hill’s parks and facilities, including local maps, features, hours of operation and more here. You can also access the city’s trail search engine via this link as well as the city’s parks and trails brochure, found here.
With so much to see and do in Richmond Hill, you might also be curious to know about local schools, business opportunities and more from this thriving and diverse community. Check out our Richmond Hill Community Profile for more information.
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