Earl Bales Park is a large green space spanning nearly 130 acres and is home to the West Don River, a large network of trails, and a massive reservoir.
Situated near Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue in North York, the farmland was turned into the York Downs Golf and Country Club in the early 1900s before transforming into the park it is today.
The hilly natural area is probably most famous for being the spot of one of the two ski hills in the city, with the other located in Centennial Park.
The steep hills are a natural formation from the edge of the Don River. Although the ski hills are temporarily closed, the trails through the West Don Watershed will keep you busy.
The 2.3-kilometre Gravel Pit Loop is a packed dirt trail through the woods to the south.
The trailhead is located near the top of the ski lift so you’ll be high up when you’re walking on the pathway with two steep cliffs on either side.
The elevated trail offers up a fully panoramic view of the park below including a nice view of the reservoir. The Earl Bales Stormwater Management Pond covers 3.2 hectares making it one of the largest in the country.
There are also a few fire pits located near the trailhead, which visitors are free to use.
Another interesting fixture at the top of the park is the Barry Zuckerman Amphitheatre, which has a large stage. The stadium is a popular spot for outdoor theatrical performances and movie screenings.
If you’re travelling to Earl Bales Park by TTC, you can take the 160 Bathurst North bus to Bainbridge Avenue from Wilson subway station. If you’re driving there’s a large parking lot situated at both the north and south ends of the park.
Make sure to respect the park during your visit by picking up your trash to leave the area just as beautiful as you found it.