When you think of mountain biking, Toronto is rarely one of the major destinations that comes to mind. I mean, really, mountains in Toronto?
September 8, 2009 by 437 Comments
While we may not have mountains here, we do have ravines. And, if you’ve ever climbed up one of the steep roads leading out of the Don Valley, you know that a ravine can feel like a mountain at times.
Recently, I dusted off my old mountain bike and made my way to Crothers Woods in the Don Valley. Crothers Woods has the designation of being an Environmentally Significant Area, and this poses a problem for trail users. How do you continue to use trails on bicycles and foot when repetitive use adds to the problem of erosion?
Since 2004, the International Mountain Bicycling Association has been involved in building sustainable trails in this area. By using special tools and carefully planning routes, these trails are meant to reduce user impact throughout the woods, while still providing challenging terrain for all users.
Below are photos from my recent ride through Crothers Woods, click on each photo for a larger view.
The map in detail:
The trail starts with a steep climb, turn back to the south and you get this view of the Don Valley from the top of the hill:
Trail maintenance is ongoing, here’s one of the tools of the trade:
The choice is yours:
Hmmm… the advanced trail seems to be blocked:
Trails wind up and down the ravine walls:
To further challenge cyclists, many man-made obstacles are found along the route, this one crosses a gully:
And to get across you have to keep your bike straight:
No children playing on this teeter-totter today:
At the end of the trails I wanted to find the dirt jumps I’ve heard about. Taking a hidden path from within a parking lot leads you first under a bridge:
The trail follows the west side of the Don River, and you can stick to the trail, or get creative along the way:
The dirt jumps are impressive to say the least. This spot has been active for at least 15 years, with changes to the jumps happening all the time. This one was less dirt, but all jump:
Watch for overhead power lines:
The jumps get plenty of use: