Being close to Toronto makes the Glen Major Forest an attractive day hiking destination. Located on the Oak Ridges Moraine this 1548 hectare forest is managed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
Our group of hikers from the Outdoor Club of East York left the west parking lot and almost immediately began some gentle climbing.
Actually that seemed to be the theme of the day as this is very hilly country and we were continually ascending or descending with very few flat sections.
We soon came to a hilltop with very scenic views of the surrounding countryside. You can also sit on one of the benches that seemed to be provided throughout the park. Right in front of us were the remains of a gravel pit now covered with grasses and piles of logs which we later learned were for habitant. Towards the bottom was a small pond (which we would get a better view later) where native plants had been introduced.
It was a warm day in mid-May and once in the hardwood forest the slopes were just covered with white trilliums and a few of the pink ones. Right along the edges of the trail was some poison ivy so take care if you leave the trail.
Beside the numerous trilliums we encountered many apple trees in full blossom during our hike. Later in the day we passed the stone foundations of a farm which explained where the apple trees originated.
Although there are no blazes the trails in the forest are easy to follow tracks, with many of the intersections numbered and with small maps so you can easily locate where you are. A section of the Trans Canada Trail also crosses through the forest and we followed it for a bit as well.
There is not one route but a series of connecting paths so you can go for a long or short walk. Our first 4.7 kilometers of walking brought us to the parking lot on the east side along Concession 7. As we arrived mountain bikers were setting out along the trail. At times we shared the trails and at other times they were on parallel routes. The rules in the park are that hikers have the right of way and all the mountain bikers we met observed that.
Throughout the day we came across many others, many accompanied with their dogs. We also came across a large group lead by a conversation officier.
Overall there was a mixed deciduous and coniferous forest plus many clearings along our route which totalled 10 km by the time we were finished. The trails connect to the neighboring Walker Woods and Durham Regional Forest so you can easily extend your walk.
To get to the trailhead take Highway 401 from Toronto and head north on Brock Road turning right on Uxbridge-Pickering Townline and left on Westney Road/Concession 6 Road with the parking lot on your right.
This is one of a few hikes less than one hour from the city which provide an attractive day hiking experience.