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8 Best Hikes in Durham Region

8 Best Hikes in Durham Region

Looking for the best hiking trails in Durham Region?

I absolutely love hiking, and although it’s usually for epic views, I also just enjoy the tranquility of walking through nature.

You’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of awesome hikes in Durham Region that you can go on!

Whether you’re looking to go on a more relaxing and scenic walk or to get some vigorous exercise, you’ll definitely enjoy these hiking trails in Durham.

These Durham hikes are great to visit year-round, but keep in mind that some trails are not maintained during the winter months.

Please also remember to pack out what you pack in and leave the trails exactly as you found them.

Here are some of the best hiking trails in Durham Region, Ontario!

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If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in the GTA, you might enjoy these posts:


Best hiking trails in Durham Region


Orono Crown Lands

Formerly the Ontario Tree Nursery, the Orono Crown Lands is 633 acres of forest, with 13 km of trails that are pretty easy to walk on (or bike if you please).

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My favourite part of the walk is along Wilmot Creek – you can see trout and salmon swimming through in spring and fall!

There are two parking lots here, and we were one of a few cars in the lot we parked in on a weekday.

There isn’t much parking on weekends, but people usually park on the side of the road if the lots are full!

Parking is free, but there is a donation box on-site to help with upkeep, as it’s managed by a non-profit organization.

LOCATION: Ochonski Rd, Clarington, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 13 km
  • Parking: free
  • Washrooms: none
  • Pets: permitted with leash
Orono Crown Lands hike in Bowmanville, Durham Region

McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve

The McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve is easily one of my favourite hikes in Durham Region.

It’s a beautiful nature reserve with hundreds of different plants and all kinds of wildlife.

There’s a mix of forest, marshes, and even sandy beaches, and it’s super beautiful.

Definitely remember to bring along some bug spray, because the bugs will be bitin’.

LOCATION: 1908 Colonel Sam Dr, Oshawa, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 7 km
  • Parking: free
  • Washrooms: none
Hiking at the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve in Oshawa, Ontario
Near the entrance at the wildlife reserve.
Hiking at the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve in Oshawa, Ontario
Hiking at the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve in Oshawa, Ontario
Hiking at the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve in Oshawa, Ontario
Some old-looking trees at the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve.
Hiking at the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve in Oshawa, Ontario

Long Sault Conservation Area

Long Sault Conservation Area is a beautiful forested area if you’re looking to do some nice hiking through the woods.

It’s the largest conservation area in the municipality of Clarington at 400 hectares, and you can hike through 18 km of trails in varying difficulties.

The trail can be a little muddy on rainy days, and you’ll need ice cleats during the winter as it gets completely covered in ice and isn’t maintained during the winter.

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Parking is $6 for the day, and there are public washrooms on-site (closed at the moment).

There have also been reports of black bear sightings, so make sure to read up on bear safety before you go just in case!

If you’re looking for more fun activities in Bowmanville, I’ve got a blog post all about the best things to do in Bowmanville!

LOCATION: 9293 Woodley Rd, Bowmanville, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 18 km (not maintained in winter)
  • Parking: $6 per vehicle for the day
  • Washrooms: available (closed temporarily)
  • Pets: permitted with leash
Summer hiking in Long Sault Conservation Area, Bowmanville, Ontario
Summer hiking at Long Sault.
Winter hiking in Long Sault Conservation Area, Bowmanville, Ontario
Winter hiking at Long Sault.

Stephen’s Gulch Conservation Area

Stephen’s Gulch is another forested hike, and you’ll find it in Bowmanville.

While the trails aren’t as long as other hiking trails on this list, it’s pretty hilly and definitely great if you want to get a good workout in!

LOCATION: 360 Stephens Mill Rd, Bowmanville, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 3 km (not maintained in winter)
  • Parking: $6 per vehicle for the day
  • Washrooms: none
  • Pets: permitted with leash

Heber Down Conservation Area

Heber Down is a popular hiking trail in Durham Region, and it’s got plenty of scenic views (including a pond).

The main entrance is open year-round, but they also have another seasonal entrance open from May through October.

Parking is also $6 for the day, and there are public washrooms on-site (closed at the moment).

There’s a fenced-in dog park near the parking lot for your pups, but you’ll have to keep them on a leash when hiking through the trails.

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Locals also hang fun Christmas ornaments on the trees during the holiday season, which is fun to spot along the trail!

LOCATION: 5000 Cochrane St, Whitby, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 5 km (not maintained in winter)
  • Parking: $6 per vehicle for the day
  • Washrooms: available (closed temporarily)
  • Pets: permitted with leash
Hiking in Heber Down Conservation Area, Bowmanville, Ontario

Enniskillen Conservation Area

The Enniskillen Conservation Area is 65 hectares with plenty of small trails to hike through, and there’s even a swamp and two scenic ponds.

Parking is $6 for the day, and there are public washrooms on-site (closed at the moment).

LOCATION: 7274 Holt Rd, Hampton, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 5.5 km (not maintained in winter)
  • Parking: $6 per vehicle for the day
  • Washrooms: available (closed temporarily)
  • Pets: permitted with leash

Samuel Wilmot Nature Area

Samuel Wilmot is comprised of 77 hectares of stream valley lands and wetlands, and it’s got ample walking trails to wander through.

It’s an absolutely stunning area filled with colourful wildflowers and beautiful greenery, and you can even see the bluffs from up top.

There isn’t a whole lot of parking here, but it wasn’t very busy when we were visiting on a Saturday afternoon.

Be sure to brush up on tick safety ahead of time, as there have been ticks spotted here.

LOCATION: 0A6, Waterfront Trail, Newcastle, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 6.1 km
  • Parking: free
  • Washrooms: none
Samuel Wilmot Nature Area in Newcastle, Ontario
Bluffs at Samuel Wilmot Nature Area in Newcastle, Ontario
Samuel Wilmot Nature Area in Newcastle, Ontario

Fleetwood Creek Natural Area

Hike through three different loop trails along the Fleetwood Creek Natural Area, which takes up 380 hectares in the Kawarthas.

There are plenty of up and downhills, so if you’re looking to get a little exercise, it’s a great trail to do some light hiking.

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The scenic lookout is especially beautiful during the fall with all the colourful autumn leaves.

Also be wary that the road is an unmaintained municipal road, so you might want to park at the top and walk in if you don’t have a 4WD vehicle.

LOCATION: 902 Ballyduff Rd, Pontypool, ON

QUICK FACTS:

  • Trails: 6.5 km (not maintained in winter)
  • Parking: free
  • Washrooms: none
  • Pets: permitted with leash

Best hiking trails in Durham Region:

  1. Orono Crown Lands
  2. McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve
  3. Long Sault Conservation Area
  4. Stephen’s Gulch Conservation Area
  5. Heber Down Conservation Area
  6. Enniskillen Conservation Area
  7. Samuel Wilmot Nature Area
  8. Fleetwood Creek Natural Area

These were some of the best and most fun hiking trails to go on in the Durham Region area!

What are some of your favourite hiking trails in Durham Region to walk or hike on? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in the GTA, you might enjoy these posts:

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog