Crothers Woods is a 52-hectare mature maple-beech-oak woodland located in the Don River valley. Many trees in Crothers Woods are more than a century old, with parts of the forest remaining in much the same condition as it was before European settlement. In 1995, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) designated this site as an Environmentally Significant Area due to its diverse, mature and relatively undisturbed forest and the presence of herbaceous plants and tree species that are rare in the Toronto region. The forest includes beaked hazel, bitternut hickory, black walnut, blue beech, butternut (a Provincially endangered tree species), eastern hemlock and sugar maple trees and herbaceous species such as bloodroot, jack-in-the-pulpit, mayapple, trillium and trout lily. This unique forest also attracts diverse bird species. A recent TRCA study identifieds 26 birds that might nest and breed in the area, including eastern wood-pewee, great crested flycatcher and red-tailed hawk.
As such, Crothers Woods offers a unique opportunity to escape into nature and is a popular destination for trail enthusiasts, with approximately 10 kilometres of natural surface trails.
One of the main trailheads is located at the base of Redway Road and can be accessed by vehicle from Millwood Road. By TTC, take the 56 Leaside or 88 South Leaside bus, which will drop you off near Redway Road.
Since 2002, the Natural Environment and Community Programs (NECP) section of Urban Forestry has worked with local trail users to address the environmental impacts of natural surface trails to the forest in Crothers Woods. The Crothers Woods Trail Management Strategy (pdf) was completed in 2007 to guide trail management and restoration activities. The Strategy provided an outline of how to preserve and protect the area in order to maintain existing natural heritage features, create safe, logical, and sensitive trail systems, and improve park user safety.
The implementation of the plan has involved applying sustainable trail principles to the design, construction and maintenance of the Crothers Woods trail networks. As part of the implementation of the Strategy, the City has constructed 2000 m of new multi-use natural-surface trails, closed and restored over 1500 m of eroded and unsustainable trails, and constructed several trailheads. Many goals and objectives of the plan have been achieved by working closely with trail users and by collaborating with a variety of stakeholders and organizations.