Ever feel like you’re wilting away in front of your screens, caught in the monotony of ‘blah’?
We suggest breaking free from the screen-induced slump by immersing yourself in the vibrant greenery, soothing ponds, and rustling leaves of the Greenwood Conservation Area.
Using our complete handy guide, let’s trade the screen for the serene and embark on a hiking adventure to uncover this untamed Canadian beauty.
What is the Greenwood Conservation Area?
The Greenwood Conservation Area is a premier park maintained by the Town of Ajax, just 20 minutes east of Toronto. Offering a refuge along the banks of Duffins Creek, it features hiking trails that allow exploration of the steep-sided river valley in all seasons.
The Greenwood Conservation Area officially took root in 1958 when the Metro Toronto Region Conservation Committee set aside 300 acres as a protected wildlife sanctuary. Philanthropist Arthur Percy played a key role by donating 100 acres.
He had a simple wish: that the land would remain untouched, a sanctuary for wildlife. His vision set the foundation for a cherished landscape that continues to thrive and offers a peaceful refuge for nature enthusiasts today.
How to get to the Greenwood Conservation Area
Address: 2290 Greenwood Rd, Ajax, ON L1T 4S4
Website: Greenwood Conservation Area
Instagram: Greenwood Conservation Area
Contact: (905) 619-2529 ext. 7258
Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 AM–11 PM
Greenwood Conservation is a breeze to reach from Toronto, just an hour’s drive to the east of the city. Keep in mind that the area isn’t connected by public transit, so having a vehicle is essential for your journey – you can rent a car here.
By Private Vehicle: Take Westney Rd, head west on Greenwood Rd, which is around 3.5 km south of Hwy 7; which is 1 km north of Taunton Rd. Then make a left at the T-junction; then turn right.
Parking Info: Parking is available front of the entrance gate.
Things to Know
Amenities: Greenwood Conservation Area offers various amenities, including free parking, rest and picnic areas, washrooms, showers, and change station facilities.
Camping: The area allows overnight camping, provided individuals obtain the necessary permits.
Family Activities: Families can relish summer day picnics in the park while kids indulge in the playground or kick a ball around on the soccer field.
Fishing: Fishing enthusiasts are welcome, but don’t forget your fishing license, especially until the season closes in September.
Kids’ Playground: A small playground within the park features modern equipment with a large slide, climbing structures, and a miniature house. It’s an enjoyable spot for kids of all ages.
Off-Leash Dog Park: Pet lovers rejoice! The off-leash dog park at the Church Street entrance, just north of Taunton Road, provides a dedicated space for pets to roam freely, separate from the rest of the park.
Seasonal Festivities: Greenwood Conservation Area hosts seasonal festivities like the annual Pumpkinfest, ensuring a fantastic day of family fun and entertainment.
Best time to go to Greenwood Conservation Area
The best time to visit Greenwood Conservation Area for hiking or biking is during the early autumn. This is when the landscape transforms with a breathtaking palette of colors, offering mild temperatures, fewer bugs, and heightened wildlife activity.
For fishing enthusiasts, spring marks the best time to visit. In spring, the cold, crystal-clear creek provides the ideal environment for rainbow trout and various other fish species at Greenwood Conservation Area.
Hiking and Biking Trails at Greenwood Conservation Area
Greenwood Conservation Area Loop
Length: 14.5 km
Elevation gain: 151 m
Route type: Loop
Beginners and those looking for a chill hike should try this charming 14.5-km loop trail, which is typically completed in around 3 hours. This popular spot, which has a clear, flowing river, also welcomes leashed dogs, so feel free to bring your furry friend!
This well-loved area is perfect for bird watching, hiking, and road biking, offering a chance to connect with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Also, the best time to visit is between March and October.
Greenwood Conservation Area North Loop
Length: 5.1 km
Elevation gain: 37 m
Route type: Loop
Another easy route to tackle – around an hour to complete – is this 5.1-km loop trail near Pickering. The trails, ranging from single to double file, traverse through diverse ecosystems, including creekside, canopied forests, lovely meadows, and ridges.
The trail features mostly smooth, natural paths with numerous possible side trails and overgrown areas throughout the conservation area, allowing you to lengthen or shorten your trip. Do note that the signs are not always clear, so have a map ready.
Greenwood Conservation Area Extended North Loop
Length: 6.1 km
Elevation gain: 52 m
Route type: Loop
This 6.1-km trail winds through lovely wooded areas and meadows, but certain sections may be overgrown. The forest canopy generously offers shade, yet be prepared for bugs and ticks—applying bug spray is advisable.
The trail, with an average completion time of a little over an hour, leads you through off-main-route trails, providing up-close encounters with two beaver dams – note that trail markings can be sparse. Keep an eye out for sightings, like the indigo bunting.
Greenwood Conservation Area South Loop
Length: 3.7 km
Elevation gain: 41 m
Route type: Loop
Begin your hike at the main parking lot, traversing through charming meadows and forests, and bear in mind that it takes 48 minutes to complete. It’s ideal for bird watching and hiking, and during winter, it becomes suitable for cross-country skiing.
This trail is also perfect for those with canine companions. Creeks in the area are prone to seasonal floods, so exercise caution as certain areas near the river may be slippery and muddy – use ice cleats for added safety.
Greenwood Dog Park
Length: 1.9 km
Elevation gain: 19 m
Route type: Loop
Throughout every season, this circuit offers an enjoyable experience, giving you the freedom to stroll with your pet unleashed. Considered an easy route, it takes around 25 minutes to complete, attracting enthusiasts of birding, hiking, and snowshoeing.
This exceptional loop guides you through the finest sections of the northern point in the southern area of Greenwood. Note that the signage is practically gone, so it’s easy to get lost – bring a fully-charged phone, a map, or a compass.
Greenwood Conservation Area Between High Ridges
Length: 5.1 km
Elevation gain: 55 m
Route type: Loop
This trail, not recommended for beginners, presents a moderate challenge and takes an hour to complete. Popular among fishing, hiking, and running enthusiasts, the park encompasses a picturesque valley plain bordered by two high ridges.
Featuring delightful forested trails, low-lying grass plains, and expansive high-grass marshland, the trail offers diverse landscapes to explore. Expect muddy conditions in some spots, and keep in mind that certain sections of the trail may be overgrown.
Hiking Tips for Greenwood Conservation Area
Full-Day Hiking Exploration: If you plan an extensive hiking day, explore both the northern and southern sections of the area. This allows for a comprehensive and rewarding hiking experience.
Winter Hiking Precautions: Before embarking on a winter hike at Greenwood Conservation Area, ensure preparedness for icy and slippery trails. Equipping microspikes on your shoes provides essential traction in such conditions.
Ontario Hiking Community Membership: Consider joining the Ontario Hiking Patreon for an enhanced hiking experience. As a VIP member, you gain access to ad-free, downloadable hiking guides, with new guides regularly added.
Trail Map Availability: The Greenwood Conservation Area trail map might not be readily available online. However, maps are displayed at the park, particularly at the entrance and near the main pavilion, marking the trails on the southern side.
What to bring on a hike in Greenwood Conservation Area
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Hiking poles
- Portable charger for cell phones
- Swiss Army knife
- 3-in-1 jacket
- Base layer tights
- Insulating layers
- Snow pants
- Warm hat, scarf, and mittens
- Waterproof hiking boots or winter boots
- At least one change of hiking socks
- Snacks / trail mix
- Water bottle for cold drinks or insulated bottle for hot drinks
Safety and Comfort
- Hand warmers / toe warmers
- Waterproof day pack
Fishing at Greenwood Conservation Area
Greenwood Conservation Area is a must-visit fishing destination, allowing fishing enthusiasts to indulge in a rewarding angling experience. Explore the table below for more information:
|Seasonal Fishing Opportunities
|Type of Fish
|General Fishing at Upper Duffins Creek
|Fly fishing on warm evenings
Fishing with worms or small jigs near logjams
Best after summer rain raises and colours the water slightly
|Resident brook trout reaching 12 to 14 inches
Other trout species
|Anglers should be prepared for obstacles like logjams and overhanging vegetation
|Trout Season – Late April to early June
|Drifting with worms, spawn, or flies
Use of small jigs, spinners, or crankbaits
|Migratory rainbow trout, exceeding 15 pounds
Brown and brook trout
|Logjams and vegetation may challenge fly fishers
|Small spoons and minnow imitations, gaudy streamers, weighted nymphs, and live baits
|Brook trout with vibrant colouration
Male brook trout with red bellies and spots
Migration of rainbow and brown trout
|Excellent fishing opportunities until the season closes at the end of September
Where to stay near Greenwood Conservation Area
Super 8 by Wyndham
Address: 210 Westney Rd S, Ajax, ON L1S 7P9
Website: Super 8 by Wyndham in Ajax
Instagram: Super 8 (@super8)
Contact: +1 905-428-6884
Price: From $153 per night for two people
Located just off Highway 401, this serves as an excellent hub for a weekend fishing or hiking retreat at Greenwood Conservation Area – a mere 12-minute drive away. The hotel offers suites with en suite bathrooms, TVs, minifridges, and coffeemakers.
With free WiFi and complimentary continental breakfast, guests can enjoy a seamless stay, and kids 17 and under stay free with an adult. Beyond the cosy rooms, it also has an indoor saltwater pool and whirlpool, ensuring relaxation after a day outdoors.
Pickering Casino Resort
Address: 888 Durham Live Ave, Pickering, ON L1W 0C1
Instagram: Pickering Casino Resort (@pickeringcasino)
Contact: +1 833-629-0552
Price: From $132 per night for two people
Only 15 minutes away from the scenic allure of Greenwood Conservation Area, Pickering Casino Resort offers a luxurious haven for those seeking a nature retreat. The brand-new hotel provides king and queen rooms to spacious suites.
Guests can enjoy sweeping city or lake views, along with superior amenities, complimentary covered parking, and Wi-Fi. The resort’s ‘fur-tastic’ amenities cater to pet lovers, ensuring a lovely stay for both guests and their four-legged companions.
Where to eat near Greenwood Conservation Area
Churrasco of Portugal
Instagram: Churrasco of Portugal (@churrascoofportugal)
Address: 95 Middlecote Dr Building D, Unit 1, Ajax, ON L1T 0K3
Hours: Tue-Thurs, Sun: 11 AM–6 PM
Fri-Sat: 11 AM–8 PM
Contact: (905) 239-4888
You can savour the taste of Portugal at Churrasco, just an 8-minute drive from Greenwood Conservation Area. Known for their mouthwatering grilled beef and famous chicken with peri peri sauce, the aroma alone will drive you crazy – but in a good way!
With a variety of options, fresh salads, and speedy take-out service, it’s the perfect spot to satisfy your BBQ cravings. Do note that they’re always bustling during the weekends, so you might want to call ahead so that your order will be ready when you get there.
Instagram: A&W Canada (@awcanada)
Address: Petro Canada, 201 Taunton Rd W, Ajax, ON L1T 4W9
Hours: Open 24 hours
Contact: (905) 428-3726
Just a short 5-minute drive from Greenwood Conservation Area, A&W Canada is a 24-hour haven for fast-food enthusiasts. Renowned for its namesake root beer, burgers, chicken, and fries, A&W offers a convenient and delicious stop on your way.
Whether you’re a fan of their classic burgers, enjoy breakfast offerings, or need a quick coffee fix, this location has you covered. Don’t miss out on their popular Beyond Meat burger – a vegetarian treat that might just be the best you’ve ever had!