Friday, August 21, 2020

Toronto's Humber West Recreational Trail

The city has many kilometres of multi-use trails - some of my favourites are the Don Valley Trail, the Lakeshore Trail and now the West Humber Rectreational Trail. You can ride from Highway 427 and Finch through the North Humber Trail, the Mid-Humber Trail and finally down along the Lower Humber River Trail till you get to the Humber Arch Bridge which is a distance of about 35km. The path is paved and about three metres wide.

We parked at the Humber Arboretum, just off of Finch Avenue and headed south along the trail which ends at the shores of Lake Ontario. The trail is actually signed with route markers within the trail system. When the trails come to an intermediate terminal point you have to go on the streets to pick up the next trail portion. The only problem is where you hit the road there are typically no trail signs posted on the road, you have to guess where to go or if you have a phone with a data plan you can try to look up the trails on google maps.

Two deer enjoying the river valley

What is incredible about the journey is the natural forests and green spaces winding between stretches of municipal parks which include such jewels as James Gardens, the Arboretum and the Humber Bay parks along the lake. On our ride back we saw two small deer eating shrubs near the Arboretum. I was surprised that we were about 50 feet away from the deer but they weren't too scared of us and they kept eating while a small crowd gathered to watch the wild animals.

During our trip there were lots of families enjoying barbecues and playing in the river and when you hit the lake area the amount of people riding the path across the Humber bridge and along Lake Shore Blvd West was quite high during an ActiveTO weekend event.

The trails are posted and numbered and the ones we followed were #15 and #40, you can see where they branch off to connect mid-trail to adjacent roads, or go towards another side trail. I haven't found a map yet which shows the bike route numbers. During this route we passed under the long bridges for Highway 401, Gardiner Expressway and the Lake Shore west railway line. The trail also had a number of pedestrian bridges crossing the river including one that had a wooden walkway over an old bridge footings.

Graffiti murals under Highway 401
The long staircase in Mallaby Park. It has a bike ramp along both sides

James Gardens

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