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Ontario Mountain Biking Trails – Etobicoke Creek

November 25, 2013
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Wedged in between Toronto and Mississauga the Etobicoke Creek is a hidden gem in the middle of a vast urban environment.  According to local lore these trails were originally carved out by motocross riders and 4×4’s in the 1970’s and likely got their start as game trails long before that.  Today, the Etobicoke Creek trails are classic technical single track that wind their way along a ribbon of dirt that essentially runs from the lake to the 401.

The trail is easily accessible from Marie Curtis Park at its Southern terminus.  There is ample parking along with connections from GO, TTC and Mississauga Transit at the Long Branch station.  A quick warm up along the paved multi-use path heading North prepares you for the dirt single track that awaits.  There are several minor dirt side trails that cut off and rejoin the paved path as you head North, watch out for them on either side.  Linking them together is rather simple and after a few rides on the trail you can likely cut out almost all of the paved trail in this section.  However, the real fun begins after passing under the bridge that spans the Creek at the QEW.

Following the Creek on East side the trail crosses under the QEW and up behind the Trillium Hospital before dropping back down under Queensway.  Of historic note, the small bridge that crosses the Creek here is the 2nd oldest of its kind in North America – worth a slight detour to check it out.   From here the trail is well worn single track that continues until arriving at Dundas.  Through this section of trail riders will be able to see firsthand the devastation caused by the flooding that occurred on July 8th,2013.  Several sections of trail where washed away and many trees were brought down.  Through the hard work of several local trail users the trail has been cleared and for the most part returned to the state it was in prior to the flooding.  However, the garbage and debris left by the flood is still evident in many areas.

Once at Dundas there is a short section of road that needs to be navigated due to golf course that is built along the Creek.  Crossing over Dundas St. W at the light continue North on Nielson Dr. until you arrive at Nielson Park where you can hook up with a paved path that will bring you up to Bloor St. W.  Here you have an option of heading West on Dundas to Mill Rd. or crossing over Dundas and following the paved path up through Bloordale Park.  Either way, once you arrive at Burnamthorpe head West and you can once again drop into the trail on the East side of the creek.  The trail follows along the edge of the creek until it come to an abrupt stop at a set of metal stairs – climb up the stairs and you will find the trail again continues North.  At this point you will be riding on top of a ridge where you will be able to look down into the valley below.  This section of the trail is a little more heavily traveled by other trail users so keep your head up and eyes down the trail.

To your right you will be passing by Centennial Park which is another good option as a trail head if you wanted to explore the North section of trail.  There’s lots of parking at Centennial Park, and you can always try bombing the ski hill to add to your day’s excitement.  Note that Centennial Park is also the location for the new BMX track for the upcoming 2015 Pan Am Games.   The trail from Burnamthorpe will continue along the top of the ridge and eventually come out behind a City maintenance yard (for organic waste).  The City maintenance yard is located on Centennial park drive just north of Rathburn, on the west side.   Follow down the steep paved path – easy on the speed because at the bottom there is a hard right turn to get back on the dirt trail.  You will now climb the elevation you just lost to get back up on the ridge.  Continue along the trail until you arrive at Eglinton Ave.

Ecreek-N-Trail-map

 

Passing under Eglinton Ave you will find a crushed gravel path running along the Creek.  Here there are a number of trails on either side of the Creek  that make for several great loops,  note that on each side of the creek there are several great sections which follow the ridge of the creek, be sure to follow the flow of the creek and you will not get lost , the trail also passes under Matheson Blvd –  take some time to explore by yourself and look carefully for the trail entrances, which are located near the major roads (Burnamthorpe, Rathburn, Eglinton and Matheson)  or even better hook up with a local rider to show you around, you will not be disappointed.  At the Northern end of the dirt trail you will be right beside the 401 and depending on the way the wind is blowing it feels like you can reach up and touch the planes taking off or landing at Pearson International Airport.   Note that there are several sections in the trail that ended up right at the top of the shear bluffs cut into the strata by the creek. There are sections where you are looking over a 50 ft drop. The most precarious section is on the Mississauga side, North of Burnamthorpe.  Be aware of the danger and plan your ride accordingly.

When it is time to head home you can simply do the entire route in reverse.  It actually rides quite different since it is mainly downhill on the way home.  Not that is a huge amount of climbing but the general trend is down, which is nice if you have ridden this far.  By the time you have returned to Marie Curtis Park (depending on how many loops you do in the Northern section) you will likely be pushing North of 30km – not bad for a trail in the middle of city.

Useful links:

Daily Trail conditions in Etobicoke Creek:  https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/topic/daily-trail-conditions-in-etobicoke-creek
Weekly West Side Rides: https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/topic/weekly-west-side-rides-2

TRAIL STATS
Trail Length30 KM (big ol’ loop) but about 16 km one way
Trail LevelFor intermediate and advanced riders
Trail TypeSingletrack, some double track, small sections of paved trail and road
Trail MapEtobicoke Creek Trail Map
Access feeNo Cost
LOCATION
Closest TownToronto
GPSLatitude : 43.58450
Longitude: -79.54960
WeatherEtobicoke
MAP

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CONTACT INFO
Namen/a
Phonen/a
Emailn/a
Websiten/a
HOURS / SEASONS
Hours of Operation 24-7
SeasonOpen year round

 

Riding Feels Good has compiled this information and ensured its accuracy to the best our ability at the time of posting (see date at top). We recommend contacting the facilities directly prior to a ride to ensure it is up to date. We will do our best to update it as regularly as possible but rely on users like you to monitor it and provide corrections and any additional information.

If you have something you would like to add or see a correction that needs to be made, please contact us.

If you have ridden here, please share your experience with a comment bellow.

Happy trails.

Jeremy was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. He cut his teeth learning to ride the trails on the ‘Hamilton Mountain’ as well as the Dundas Valley, later honing his ‘skills’ riding in the Waterdown area. While his true passion is riding dirt single track, reality, family and work, have introduced him to road riding, albeit on a cyclocross bike – just in case there is any dirt around! When not on two wheels Jeremy enjoys skiing, brewing beer and wilderness camping. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife and kids.

30 Comments

  1. Amazing to see the work put together to make the system connect. I grew up there and indeed there were dirt bikes on and off that I recall and certainly an interesting history of paths. Of note there was also the free ride moment in time lead by Matt Juhasz (who since moved out west to run a north shore bike shop) where some truly terrifying stunts and drops were created.

    I will have to come out and take a lap soon.

  2. Braaaap! Thanks for the article.

  3. Finally! A great write-up on our local hidden gem in the west. I’ve been riding in there for years and am now working with specific divisions within the City of Toronto to formalize this system to become the next “Don”. It’ll take 3-5 years, but gotta start somewhere. Also note, Marie Curtis Park (down at the tip of the lake) is building a skills park also on the COT’s infrastructure radar. Should be ready October 2014.

    Jeremy: I own Oxygen Bike Co. just a few seconds from this trail and have a 2014 Norco Fat Bike that I want YOU to test on this trail system. Call me at the bike shop: 416-259-2453.

  4. Brian – come out with us one day. Me and the guys from Oxygen will take you out to the local. Also my “biggest teeter totter in the world” has since been dismantled.

  5. Hey, glad you enjoyed it. The trails really are great.

  6. Hey Shawn,
    There is a lot of interest in the Etobicoke Creek which is excellent. The TORBA social ride in Septemeber saw over 20 people show up to ride. It is very exciting to see great things happening in the area
    I will certainly take you up on the Fat Bike offer – maybe wait for snow on the ground to really try it out!

  7. Really? Trails within a ten minute drive of my house and no one told me?

    Well Internet is telling me now so that’s good. I will bring a few parking lot beers as thanks to anyone who wants to show me around here in the spring (elbow currently broke)..

    Great article!

    Brian you must be talking about the infamous mr huck.

  8. Pints in the parking lot – I’m in.
    I would be happy to give you a tour. It would be great to get a group of local riders who would be interested in regular group rides.
    I will be honest, I live about 2 minutes (not even) from the trails and it took me 5 years to get out and explore them. The reality at the time was that I rode just about everywhere else and didn’t really have a reason to look in my own backyard. Fast forward a few years and 2 kids later my time is a little tighter. I can put together a solid 2hr ride, on dirt, from my front door. No travel time, no traffic and I can be back for the end of nap time! Everyone wins!

  9. I don’t live too far from these trails either (Bathurst/Lakeshore area). Definitely going to try to find time to do some exploring. Should be a nice alternative to the Don.

    husaberger, best of luck with your efforts with the city to formalize this trail network!

  10. I just read your author profile…I’m also a dundas valley/waterdown transplant.

    Looking forward to riding and meeting up when I’m off the dl.

  11. I’m about a two minute bike ride from the trails as well (I live just south of Sherway Gardens in West Alderwood).

    It’s awesome have trails of this quality literally in my backyard.

    Planning on shooting a video down there.

  12. Ha!
    We are likely neighbours. I also live in West Alderwood. Sounds like we should meet up.

  13. Sounds like we need a weekly ride in here guys.

  14. You said it Marc!
    This was something I was hoping to get off the ground in the Spring when conditions are a little more predictable. I have already talked to a few riders who would like this to happen. I would be happy to take the lead on this.
    I was hoping to get a ‘show of hands’ for people who would be interested in setting a regular day and time.
    As much as I enjoy the weekly rides in the Don I am not super amped on spending an hour in the car, when it should take me 20 mins, to get there.

    Show of hands for who might be interested in setting this up?

  15. I’m working on it as well.

  16. This is where I first started riding 15 years ago. I remember meeting “Mr. Huck” and others local to the area. Even did a little bit of building way back then before learning how to build better stuff over in the Don.

  17. Mr. Huck! Classic. Yep, we filmed a creek gap in there for Eastern Standard. Hard to believe that was over a decade ago. Place has some history I guess.

  18. Recently moved into the area in May from the east end of town, near the Don trails. This past weekend, decided to follow these instructions and check out the trails. Being right on Browns line, it is short ride form and I have to say these trails are quite nice. Good flow, punch climbs and downhills. Took the trail all the way to the airport and checked out the stuff on the east side, missed the west side trails. If there are any trail crews who work on the south or north trails, like to hook up and help out. Reminds me of the Ridge 10+ years ago :).

  19. Hey Joveya – sorry I am just seeing this now. Glad you were able to use the description to find your way around. If you are interested in lending a hand on the trails or riding send me a PM and we can hook up.

  20. Great overview of these trails. I discovered the North loop with my brother-in-law about 5 years ago after starting my city riding in the Don Valley years earlier. Kids, careers and a move to the west end saw my riding turn into weekend stints but I missed the weeknight quick ride. We dropped in off the end of Rathburn East of Pony Trail, perfect place to park is Garnetwood park btw. The interesting thing about this drop in is that you start out with the most challenging and technical part which is the West side of the North loop- I think the word was ‘precarious’, the East side return is more of a higher speed roller coaster. My son just got old enough to ride and we did our first ride a few weeks ago after not being on these trails for about 3 years. I was pleasantly surprised that they were as good as my memories. And still not very busy. One disappointment was the descent under Eglinton they’ve added some support wires for a hydro pole right in the middle of my favourite climb/descent. Biggest surprise of this article was I had no idea there was a southern portion to this trail picking up at Dundas. We always rode out to Burnhamthorpe on the East side and figured that was it. I’m going down to Dundas this afternoon to check out the southern part for sure! Kudos to whoever has been keeping the trails up.

  21. Glad you found the overview useful. Always great to find some new trails close to home. The trails are in amazing condition right now – went out for a great ride last night.
    If you are looking for a mid-week ride check this out:
    https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/topic/weekly-west-side-rides-2/

    If you can’t make Wednesdays post up, it would be great to meet up and ride with another West Ender.

  22. Hi Fietser.. thanks for this great article. I’d love to meet up for a tour+beer some weekend soon!
    Also, I should post my latest discovery in a little ravine just north of the Queensway between Parklawn and the Humber River. I’m the new “trail steward” there. : )

  23. @aaronsdad welcome to RFG glad you liked the article. Gladly show you around the Creek and share a pint sometime. Starting our Wedsnesday night rides this week if you are around. Check out the thread in the Etobicoke Creek forum for information.
    Feel free to post up your trails in the Humber forum. I know @cracker and @skidvicious also do some work and ride in the area.

  24. @fietser, weekday eve rides are usually a no-go, but I’m going to drop in at Centennial Park on the east side and go north to Matheson and back tomorrow before work (Eglinton just west of the park) around 8-8:30 am. Then somewhere further south this weekend.

    The Humber area trails I discovered are in South Humber park, btw.

  25. @aaronsdad sounds great. Post up how you ride turns out.
    Hopefully we can hook up in the near future.

  26. Just signed up here to say that these trails are fantastic! We’ve been living near Burnhampthorpe and 427 for the past couple months while our house gets renovated and having these trails nearby has been a godsend. I just built up a new cross bike this summer so it’s been great to get a sense of what it can handle on the dirt. I find the trails to the south of Burnhampthorpe, once you get off the paved paths, are definitely more of a bushwhack. Still tons of fun, though. The trails to the north are much more established. The trails are more worn, wider and there is a surprisingly big network of them on both sides of the creek. Every time I’m out, I find a new offshoot to explore. In fact, I’m about to go and rip ’em up again right now.

  27. Hey @spinach welcome to RFG. Glad you are enjoying the E-Creek trails, you are right, that they are a godsend in the West.
    Not sure how much longer you are in the West end during your renovations but it would be great to hook up for a ride. A bunch of us ride on Wednesday nights if you are game. Otherwise feel free to post up and see who is around for a ride.
    Hope to catch you with out on the trails.

  28. Welcome to RFG @spinach You’re right, the trails are a real gem. Check out the “Daily Trails Conditions in Etobicoke Creek” thread in the forum and join us on some rides. The E-Creek Band all live close by along the creek. I’m just East of you. Happy Trails.

  29. Thanks for the welcome, guys! I’m back home now and missing those trails already. If I’m ever back in that hood, I’ll check the forum thread to let you know.

    What kind of lights are you using for your night rides?

  30. Too bad we didn’t get to hook up while you were on the West Side! Gladly try and get up if you are ever back in the ‘hood – just post up or PM me.
    As for light here is an informative thread that discusses many of the options that guys in the GTA are running.
    https://www.ridingfeelsgood.com/topic/lights-for-the-don/page/4/
    Hope it is helpful. Night riding is such an amazing way to extend the season and super fun to boot.

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