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We’re super excited about this route, the ‘Scarborough South Loop’ is a 27.3km, multi-terrain, loop that circles south Scarborough and does it almost 90% off-road! This loop offers adventure in the city for all riding levels, and puts the spotlight on an underrated riding destination. It’s such a diverse route that keeps things exciting; It’ll take you through the heart of the Rouge Valley, along the Scarborough Bluffs and through 11 (!) different parks. It’s jam packed with sights en route – rivers, escarpment, statues, waterfront trails and more.

All land that we ride is stolen land. We acknowledge that Scarborough and the Rouge Valley are the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. All land seized under Treaty 13. 

Do it clockwise or flip and and reverse it, it’s super fun in either direction. We hope you enjoy this magical loop, it sure has become a favourite for us.

The Ride

Distance: 27.3 km | Elevation Gain: +23 m / +15%

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate | Topography: Hilly |Terrain: Gravel, Paved Trail, Grass, Single Track

This route is for all levels, we’re always keen to keep things accessible. You can get to this ride via 2 major GO train stops (Guildwood GO & Rouge GO), many TTC stops and you can jump in almost anywhere via bicycle. 

Because you’re riding through so many parks, you’re provided with many places to stop for rest, use the restroom, refill water and you’re never more than a few kilometres from snacks. 

As mentioned, you can do this loop in either direction, we’d recommend trying  both but our route file will take you counter-clock wise starting from Guildwood GO station. Whether you choose to do this route clockwise or counter-clockwise, you’ll hit one major climb in either direction – hike that bike if ya need 🙂 You’ll find something new along this loop every time you explore it; we’ve done this loop more times than we can count and we’re still regularly finding something new. Gravel, paved-trail, grass, single-track and some rocky-path are the terrain types you’ll encounter, most of it is doable on any bike, but we’d recommend a minimum of 32mm tires for the whole course. Let’s send it! 

User guide: Click to expand the illustrative map below, of the full ride. The Ride With GPS map above can be used with the mobile app to guide your ride This RWGPS map, also featuring the full route.

  1. Guildwood Go Station to Doris McCarthy Trail & Gates Gully
  2. Bluffs, Sylvan Park to East Point Park
  3. Port Union Waterfront Trail & Colonel Danforth Park 
  4. UTSC / Valley Land Trail, Morningside Park, Highland Creek Park

    Let’s break this route down into 5 segments:

    1. Guildwood GO Station to Doris McCarthy Trail & Gates Gully

    Difficulty: Easy | Topography: Flat w/ descent Terrain: Packed Gravel & Road

    This is one of our favourite ways to get to Lake Ontario. From Guildwood GO station, we’ll take a quick  jaunt south-west through a quiet neighbourhood to Sylvan Park as we jump into the adventure of the loop. 

    You’ll then get to the head of the Doris McCarthy Trail and start your descent to the lake, about 100 metres. This descent is so, so much fun, hang tight! You’re going to roll quick on some packed gravel. We’ll suggest heeding caution, be careful and considerate of pedestrians and some ruts in the trail, especially as you get near the bottom – it’s an easy place to lose control. Bellamy Creek Ravine runs along the descent for some delightful ambiance. We enjoy the engulfed-ness of the trail, especially how it juxtaposes against the opening at the foot, to Lake Ontario – Gates Gully. You’ll be welcomed by a beautiful statue called ‘Passage’

    A great stop to enjoy the scenery and that #partypace riding style we live by.

    2. The Bluffs & East Point Park

    Difficulty: Moderate | Topography: Flat Terrain: Packed Gravel, Rocky, Single Track

    We’re going to transition to exploring the waterfront section of this route and this one offers some dynamic off-road riding that really doesn’t feel like you’re in the city at all – real coast of England vibes (if you squint). 

    This section is going to connect you going eastward through 5 different parks, all really different in what they offer for riding features and sights – Bluffs, Sylvan Park (lower), South Marine Park, Guild Park Gardens, Grey Abbey Park and East Point Park. Prepare for quick changes in terrain and transitions between parks. 


    Let’s get you started back at the foot of Gates Gully, we’re going to send you west for a short in-and-out section to explore a gravel-laden path that is sandwiched between the Bluffs and the lakeshore. This section is characteristically coloured crimson by the bricks and debris used to reinforce the trail. Just under a kilometre in each direction, you’ll get a surreal view of the waterfront and bluffs looking westward. We highly recommend checking this section out before continuing with the loop, you won’t regret it.

    Onwards with the loop, westbound along the lakeshore to the lower section of the Sylvan Park and Marine South Park, both still right along the Bluffs. Rumbly gravel with some rocky sections, the path is nice and wide in most places still sandwiched between the Bluffs and lake. There are some cute little beaches on the shore, this is a really enjoyable straight away. 

    A quick transition to the Guild Park, a great space to stop and check out this neat historic site. Artefacts of former Toronto properties arranged like Roman ruins, akin to a cemetery for Toronto’s development (or destruction) history – it’s strange and beautiful. It’s a cool place to stop or ride through, we enjoy the dirt trail that runs along the southern section of the park. Get ready to ascend, a quick and dirty 47m climb to get out the Bluffs escarpment –prepare to #hikethatbike because it’s steep!

    Before we start transitioning north, we’re going to take you through a quiet neighbourhood jog that guides you to East Point Park and the surrounding area. The 55 hectare East Point Park has a few notable attractions including a beautiful Conservation area/point, Bird Sanctuary, FJ Horgan Water Treatment Plant, baseball diamonds and hidden nude beach. Whether you putter around for a bit or dive behind the Water Treatment Treatment plant for some cliffside riding, the park is a treat.

    3. Port Union Waterfront Park, Lower Highland Creek Park & Colonel Danforth Park

    Difficulty: Easy | Topography: Moderate incline Terrain: Paved Trail, Single-track

    Port Union Waterfront Park offers a nice waterfront multi-use path that curves along the shore, it’s open and airy. Our loop will only take you through the western section of this park, turning north to Colonel Danforth Park before crossing the Port Union Waterfront bridge, because of ongoing construction until 2023 (we’ll review the route thereafter). 

    Northbound we go! Lower Highland Creek Park to Colonel Danforth Park is a favourite for us, it’s a very enjoyable stretch. It offers some really fun riding, and has a few patches of secret single track for those of you that feel so inclined (check out the POI on our RWGPS map).

    The trail follows the Highland Creek and weaves between grand Rouge Valley foliage and underpasses for a true urban park experience. Skip some rocks along the creek, and enjoy the wildlife – we’ve seen foxes, deer, and a heron or two in these parts. A short climb at the top of Colonel Danforth Park to cap this section off, and back west we go. No sweat, it’s all downhill from here 😛 

    4. UTSC/Valley Trail, Morningside Park  & Highland Creek Park 

    Difficulty: Easy | Topography:  Flat Terrain: Paved Multi-Use Trail, Gravel

    Still moving along the Highland Creek, our route keeps you on paved multi-use trail and directly transitions from Colonel Danforth Park to University of Toronto’s ‘Valley’. This section is more notable for it’s curvy paths, you’ll enjoy coming around some fun bends…only to be sent to the funnest mini-switchback-laden section we’ve ever ridden, which is the ‘Valley Land Trail’. The Valley Land Trail takes you a bit off the loop, but we think it’s a can’t miss feature and, to quote the article linked above, ‘it’s a ‘600 m long serpentine trail was designed with cantilevered boardwalks in order to provide people of all ages and abilities with a unique experience of the mature tree canopy, while affording educational opportunities related to the diverse local ecology and geology of the Highland Creek Valley’. It’s pretty fucking incredible. 

    Back to the loop. Construction! In 2023, the multi-use path on this route will take you straight into our next section, Morningside Park, but there is extended construction to reinforce the retaining wall due to erosion. So, a little re-routing! Some single-track, a short climb and 300 metres south on Morningside Avenue to enter Morningside Park.  

    Let’s roll through Morningside Park and Lower Highland Creek Park, which will take us through the north-most point of this loop and then continue south-west. If you’re lucky, you’ll ride this loop during a summer weekend and get to witness Scarborough’s park culture at it’s peak, big picnic energy; Morningside Park is a cool place and it’s one of the epicentres of community gathering in the Borough. This section of the route continues to wind along the Highland Creek. This is the deepest you’ll feel in the Rouge on this loop, and it quickly reminds you that it’s Toronto’s largest park.

    There you have it, you’ve done it! You’ve just ridden through 11 parks and hopefully had a great time. 700 meters of neighbourhood riding and you’re now back at Guildwood GO. 

    We were pretty pumped when we, quite literally, stumbled into a small section of technical single track. It’s pretty humble in the world of single track, but it’s a nice quirk if you’re looking to challenge yourself. Take it for a spin, here’s where it’s located on the map. This little loop of single track is known to transform all on its own, so make sure to come back for a new surprise every time.

    We’ll be keeping an eye on construction on this Route, and will revisit in 2023 once construction from Rouge GO westbound is complete, as well as the connection between the Morningside Park and UTSC Valley. As usual, drop a line for questions, feedback and tips. Hope you have a great time on this ride, and remember to be nice, ride a bike, and repeat y’all.