Deep inside a concrete jungle, you’d never expect to have the feeling like you’re in the woods. That’s what I felt the first time I carved through Crowthers Woods. Located just south of Eglinton, along the Don River, lies a forest perfect for shredding trails, jogging, or an afternoon hike—all without having to leave the city.
I first came across Crowthers Woods on a journey along the Don River bike path. Living in the West End of the city, I’ve become partial to visiting High Park to satisfy my afternoon mountain bike cravings. This time I wanted to venture out to the East and, boy, I was not disappointed. I was in heaven because every mountain bike park that I knew growing up was being torn down or had signs prohibiting mountain bikes on the premises. To find a place in the city were mountain bike riding was actually welcomed was amazing!
I decided to go on a weekday to avoid trail traffic. All the trails are marked at the entrance to the paths; there are some one-way trails, so follow the directions because the last thing you need is to be climbing while another rider is descending on the same path: that equals bad collision! The paths are narrow, fast, and with enough technical spots to keep it interesting, and there are trails for both the rookie and advanced rider. Because of its location overlooking a valley, some of the lines can get steep, but if you already have experience with downhill riding, then you have nothing to worry about. Still, make sure to wear a helmet and some armour if you’re expecting to do some serious speed-demon shredding. Journeying to Blue Mountain this summer definitely helped me out with my riding, and I was able to jump straight through the more difficult trails.
I was riding with my Giant XTC Hardtail, and it was perfect. It took everything the trails threw at me. From the long slopes to the steady climbs, it was a great ride. The whole time I was there, I saw a couple of other riders, a bird watcher, and a few squirrels dodging out of the path and flying up the trees. A few spills, and a couple of bumps and bruises later, I decided to head back home along the bike path and jot in my calendar my next visit to Crowthers. Did I mention that this was amazing to find in the city!