Looking to stretch your legs somewhere close to home but craving a change of scenery? Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll, more challenging terrain, or a stroller-friendly family walk, there are great trails in and around Newmarket just waiting for you to explore.
Where to access it: Aurora, Newmarket and East Gwillimbury
This 20-kilometre (km) trail connects Aurora, Newmarket and East Gwillimbury and incorporates Newmarket’s popular Tom Taylor trail and Fairy Lake Park. There are several access points with many other local trail connections. Much of this trail is paved, smooth gravel or boardwalks making it ideal for walkers, cyclists and strollers. Let your dog run free at the off-leash dog park in Newmarket’s George Richardson Park. If you’re on your bike and need a minor tune-up, the bike repair station at Newmarket Riverwalk Commons (200 Doug Duncan Dr.) makes a great pit stop. While you’re there, grab a bite to eat on nearby Main St., where you’ll also find plenty of shops to explore.
Thornton Bales Conservation Area (99 Steps)
Where to access it: Just west of Bathurst St. and Mulock Dr. on 19th Sideroad
Located along the Greenbelt Route and part of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Thornton-Bales offers challenging terrain and is famous for its steep slopes and rugged beauty. Nicknamed “99 Steps” by locals, it’s the perfect place to tire out older kids. Bikes aren’t allowed on this trail, but cyclists can make minor adjustments at the bike repair station and lock up their bike to explore on foot. Heads up: parking is limited (only eight spots) and on street parking on 19th Sideroad is prohibited and enforced. An accessible trail entrance leads to a new lookout a short distance away, putting the forest canopy at eye level for all ages and abilities.
Fun Fact: The change in vertical elevation from the top of the 99 steps to the bottom is a larger change in elevation than the drop over Niagara Falls!
Dave Kerwin Trail & Peggy’s Wood Trail
Where to access it: Woodspring Ave. in Newmarket or Gilpin Drive north of Bonshaw in East Gwillimbury.
These two trails connect for a 3.7 km route through the forest. Located on the west side of Newmarket and East Gwillimbury, this scenic trail runs between Davis Drive and Green Lane. The main trail is perfect for young families and there is a playground along the route.