About Doris McCarthy Trail, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Doris McCarthy Trail or Gates Gully is a pathway that leads from Ravine Drive, off Kingston Road to Lake Ontario along the Bellamy Ravine Creek that flows through the ravine. It is also called Gates Gully because the Gates Inn and Tavern by Jonathan Gates once stood east of Bellamy Road. The inn was a rallying point for the Scarborough militia preparing to defend Toronto from William Lyon Mackenzie’s rebels in the Upper Canada Rebellion. The trail is named after the well-known Calgary-born artist Doris Jean McCarthy, best known for her landscape painting, who lived in the Scarborough Bluffs area. A sculpture that pays homage to the artist is located the base of the trail — the point where the Doris McCarthy Trail meets the lakeshore.
The trail gives access to exceptional views of Lake Ontario and the Scarborough Bluffs, an escarpment that runs along eastern waterfront of Toronto.
Doris McCarthy Trail is part of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Scarborough waterfront project. A new headland beach system at the base of the Doris McCarthy Trail, with two new headlands and the extension of an existing headland into the lake at the east end of the Meadowcliffe shoreline is being studied.
What to do at Doris McCarthy Trail?
Attractions & Things to do
- Hike the steep trail that borders Bellamy Ravine (creek) leads to the Lake.
- Admire the Passage, the large corten-steel sculpture that pays homage to Doris McCarthy. Passage is an artwork by Marlene Hilton Moore, and is inspired by the rib cage of a fish and the ribs of a canoe. The sculpture links together the ideas of a significant individual’s passage through life, a fish’s passage through water and a canoe’s passage through the landscape we explore. The interior base simulates an architectural scale ruler, with a stylized end resembling Ontario’s provincial flower, the trillium.
- Enjoy the closeup view of Scarborough Bluffs without the crowds.
- Doris McCarthy Trail one of the best places to teach kids about erosion. You can literally see trees at the very edge of the cliff. The bluffs erode every year during spring and torrential rains. Sections of the Scarborough Bluffs along the Doris McCarthy Trail are very active, especially in the spring.
- Birdwatch and see wildlife along the trail!
- Enjoy the views of Lake Ontario as you hike along the Bluffs.
- Get quite a workout by biking uphill.
- Plan a perfect date with your loved one at this secluded place that gives the best views of the Lake and the Bluffs.
- Take right from the Passage to enjoy the Bluffs. You can see Bluffers Park from the end of the trail, but there is no direct access without getting wet.
When to visit Doris McCarthy Trail?
Doris McCarthy Trail Hours
Year round – dawn to dusk.
Trails are not maintained in winter.
Landslides along the Scarborough Bluffs occur every year, all year long. You need to be sure there are no TRCA advisories (especially after heavy rains). Use extreme caution during heavy rains due to the potential for landslides.
Time required to visit:
One hour or more depending on interest.
The hike takes about 10 minutes downhill and 15 minutes uphill and approximately another 15 minutes of leisurely walking to the edge of Bluffers Park, along the Bluffs.
How much to visit Doris McCarthy Trail?
How to get to Doris McCarthy Trail?
Doris McCarthy Trailhead is located at Ravine Drive and Bellehaven Crescent off Kingston Road.
Turn onto Ravine Dr from Kingston Road, the trailhead is on your right. Watch for signage indicating the start of the Doris McCarthy Trail.
Turn right onto the trail and follow it down to the lake.
Once you reach the “Passage”, you can turn left or right.
The right trail leads you to the edge of Bluffers Park, while the left takes you along the waters edge to the headlands at the base of Sylvan Park.
By public transit
Easily accessible by TTC. #102 Markham Bus stops are within 200 meters near the trailhead.
NO PARKING LOT. Street Parking available near the trail head.
What about Amenities & Accessibility at Doris McCarthy Trail ?
Not accessible, the wide gravel trail till the “Passage” is extremely steep.