Nature Hikes: Near-Toronto Trails and Adventures.


204 pages
Contains Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 978-1-55046-445-0
DDC 917.13'541044





Photos by Rosemary G. Hasner
Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Nature, in the Toronto area, is alive and reasonably well, as evidenced in this catalogue of 33 conservation areas. Conservation authorities formed postHurricane Hazel in order to better manage watersheds maintain small natural areas that are open to the public as parks or recreation sites. Eagleson presents the logistics on these and markets each with a short essay. The data includes location, driving directions, length and type of trails, a trail map, level of hiking difficulty, fees, permitted activities, facilities, and attractions. All are within an hour’s drive of Toronto.

The conservation areas selected for inclusion offer a wide variety of attractions and activities. All offer opportunities for hiking, photography, birdwatching, botany, amphibian and small animal observation, and amateur geology. Most offer fishing and bicycle trails.

Some areas also permit canoeing or boating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, tobogganing, horseback riding, dogsledding, windsurfing, ice fishing, skating, even mountain biking and rollerblading. Features to see include beaver dams, cliffs, ponds, rivers, marshes, forests, and butterfly meadows. One site is a complete pioneer village. Another has an extensive interpretative centre with alternate energy exhibits, and one has a nut plantation. Many have maple syrup demonstrations, boardwalks, and observation platforms. A few have restaurants or snack bars, campgrounds, playgrounds, or boat rentals. Some have trails suitable for wheelchairs or strollers.

The text is light and friendly, concentrating on personal experiences. There’s often a touch of delicate humour. While the main text is anecdotal, it is supplemented by factual sidebars on topics relevant to spending a day outdoors, such as photography tips, identifying birds by song, the classification of clouds, identifying poison ivy, canoeing safety, and much more. Over 100 evocative colour photos support and strengthen the text, supplying the visual impact needed to lure people out of the city to areas where life is slower and nature, tamed and accessible, is waiting to be explored.


Eagleson, Janet., “Nature Hikes: Near-Toronto Trails and Adventures.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,