We absolutely loved exploring Glen Stewart Ravine! Seemingly tucked within the side streets in the Beaches, the walk along the boardwalk through the brush is peaceful and stunning. There is something for everyone! If you’re looking for a fairly quick trail on even terrain, sticking to the boardwalk is your best bet and is a beautiful experience. If climbing (tons of) stairs is more your thing, then there are a few staircases scattered throughout the trail that provide alternate breathtaking views of the ravine, while also leading you out to the street where there are shops and restaurants to explore. There’s also rougher terrain, if you’re interested in a more demanding hike, where you’re able to get closer to streams and nature!
Below, I’ll address different elements that I take into consideration when planning, in the hopes of clarifying any accessibility or suitability questions you may have as you plan your visit! These are all based on our personal experience (our oldest son is autistic and non-verbal, and we are a family of 5 with a 7-year-old, 6-year-old and 2-year-old). I would suggest doing a quick search to ensure availability before heading out to avoid any disappointment (especially with changing health protocols, potential grounds upkeep, events, etc).
351 Glen Manor Drive (see note below)
We park on Glen Manor Drive E. There is ample street parking along side streets, however this spot, specifically, is near an entrance to the trail that is more accessible, whereas other entrance points involve plenty of stairs.
The first time we visited we brought a stroller for E. After about 15 minutes, we took it back to the car and set out again on foot. There is a somewhat uneven sandy/gravel entrance that leads to a boardwalk that is fairly wide and accessible, but if you’re looking to explore off of that path, the terrain is very difficult. There are rocks, exposed roots, brush and uneven ground that makes it difficult to navigate. There are also a variety of staircases throughout the trail, however, after climbing them, we realized they only lead to other side streets surrounding the park and other than alternate views of the ravine, rather than any other trails or such. I’ve included photos in the gallery below, to give you an idea of what the terrain is like, both on the boardwalk and off!
We found the whole outing very quiet and not overly stimulating or overwhelming in terms of a sensory experience. You can’t really hear the traffic or any other city sounds, and other than the rustling of the trees and birds, it was very peaceful. There are benches occasionally positioned throughout the trail, if you need to take a moment to stop and re-group. There is also plenty of shade and even on a hot summer day, it didn’t feel stifling.
Size of Location/ Busyness
We have visited early in the morning and mid-afternoon, and neither time were busy. There was ample space to explore and even though the boardwalk is somewhat narrow, it didn’t feel crowded. If you’re only sticking to the boardwalk, a half-hour should give you more than enough time, making it a great outing if you’re looking for something that isn’t intense and can be enjoyed in a fairly short amount of time, without getting too overwhelmed. The first time we visited, Y had a difficult time regulating during the walk, but managed to complete the entire boardwalk as well as a part of the rougher terrain trail, before he needed to head back to the car.
Variety of Activities
The walk along the boardwalk is very peaceful, as you’re surrounded by brush and the sounds of streams, rustling trees, and birds. Other than locals going for walks, the main activity seemed to be jogging and dog walking along the trails. We visited in both the summer and the fall, and the colours of the changing leaves in the fall were spectacular!
There is no cost to visit, including free street parking nearby.
Other helpful links in this series:
Summer Adventures & Accessibility!
What We Consider When Planning An Outing
Guild Park and Gardens