Don Valley Mountain Bike Trails in Crothers Woods

When you think of mountain biking, Toronto is rarely one of the major destinations that comes to mind. I mean, really, mountains in Toronto?

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.
At the bottom of the Bayview Extension and Pottery Road is where the trail begins:

Trailhead

The map in detail:
Map Detail Crothers Woods
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:
Overlooking the Don Valley, Bayview Extension, Pottery Road
Trail maintenance is ongoing, here’s one of the tools of the trade:
Sustainable Trails
The choice is yours:
Advanced or Intermediate Trails, the choice is yours
Hmmm… the advanced trail seems to be blocked:
The Advanced Trail Gets Difficult Right Away
Trails wind up and down the ravine walls:
The challenge of creating sustainable trails in the eroding Crothers Woods
To further challenge cyclists, many man-made obstacles are found along the route, this one crosses a gully:
The Valley of the Log Rides
And to get across you have to keep your bike straight:
Keep your line straight and fast
Duck!:
Not all obstacles are under you in the Don Valley Crothers Woods
No children playing on this teeter-totter today:
This teeter-totter is not for children
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:
Under the bridge to the dirt jumps
The trail follows the west side of the Don River, and you can stick to the trail, or get creative along the way:
Why go around, let's go through the trees
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:
A dirt jump, now with less dirt
Watch for overhead power lines:
Watch for power lines
The jumps get plenty of use:
Enjoying the jumps
You can learn more about Crothers Woods here and here.

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