Thornton Bales Conservation Area & The 99 Steps

Thorton Bales Conservation Area

Thornton Bales Conservation Area is famous for its steep slopes and rugged beauty. This Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) is part of the Oak Ridges Moraine, and has an elevation that drops 54 metres from its southwest corner to its northern boundary.​

Nicknamed “The 99 Steps”, this conservation area features an accessible lookout to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views at the ridge of the forest. No​w with exactly 99 steps (we dare you to count them) to get you from the top to the bottom of the ridge, visitors will descend to the Red Oak Trail – best suited to people who are in good physical condition and enjoy a challenge. Water bottles and supportive footwear with rugged soles are strongly recommended for hikers targeting these woodland trails. Among the wildlife that can be found in this ravine-like setting are pileated woodpeckers and white tailed deer.

Cyclists on the Greenbelt Route can​ stop, take a break and make minor adjustments to their bicycles at our new bike station, accessed from 19th Sideroad. As bicycles are not permitted on trails, this station also offers a place to secure your bicycle while enjoying the other natural features of the conservation area.

The Koffler-Bales side trail provides access from Thornton Bales Conservation Area to the University of Toronto’s Koffler Scientific Reserve at Joker’s Hill.