(Updated Feb 2023)
We often feel that we have to fly somewhere far to explore somewhere new and exciting. Yet, there are so many places that are within minutes of the Toronto Downtown Core that make you feel like you have had a vacation without all the hassle of airport travel.
Since I like my vacations to include an outdoor activity, I have chosen three locations that might inspire you to do the same.
TO THE WEST: Hilton Falls Conservation
This is not a difficult trail and is perfect for the whole family. This spot is almost more beautiful in the middle of winter as it is in the summer. You just have to remember to dress warmly and bring an insulated water bottle such as a Hydro Flask with a hot coffee/chocolate.
It was hard to believe that Toronto had zero snow on the ground, when this winter wonderland was completely frozen over.
You can also bring hot dogs to grill over the fire pit that the Conservation Halton keeps going on the weekends. It was the perfect spot to put your feet up and enjoy a hot drink.
TO THE NORTH: The Cheltenham Badlands
Hard to believe that this alien landscape is in Ontario. Unfortunately, the Badlands are permanently closed to foot traffic due to erosion from heavy use. The rumour* is that they are planning on building lookout points so that people can still enjoy this unique landscape. Taking a photo over the high fence does not do these red rolling hills justice, but was still worth the visit to see it with my own eyes. (* There is now an accessible boardwalk as well as a parking lot)
TO THE EAST: Scarborough Bluffs – Bluffer’s Park
The Bluffs can look so different depending on the time of day or season! This early morning view could not have been more perfect – from the lighting to the reflection to the Canada Geese to the moon. It looks almost fake!
Of course my husband wasn’t so pleased about being dragged out of bed at 5 in the morning, but the photos we left with were worth getting up with the birds.
There are so many local spots that I could write about, but I need to leave something for future posts! These three locations give you a really great idea of what diverse landscapes you can find to the west, north or to the east of Toronto.