Glen Stewart Ravine is one of those places that’s so picturesque, you’ll be utterly confused as to why you’ve never visited it before now.
Imagine all the nature locales of literary yore, like Narnia or the Shire: that’s what I’m reminded of during my leisurely walk through this 11-hectare stretch.
There’s an entrance into the ravine off of the residential area of Balsam Road.
Located just south of Kingston Road in the Beaches, this elevated boardwalk of a path is secluded and breathtakingly lush in the summer.
An elevated boardwalk allows easy travelling along the base of the ravine.
Walled in on both sides by steep hills, the path through this ravine is bordered by residences, with Kingston Road to the north, the properties of Glen Manor Drive to the west and Balsam Road to the east.
Glen Stewart Ravine underwent a restoration process to achieve the lush look it has today.
If arriving by TTC: a bus along Kingston Road will drop you off at either Glen Manor Drive stop, or the Malvern stop if you’re coming from the east.
Wooden fences keep travellers and dogs from wandering into the creek and more hilly areas.
By car, it’s best to embark on this journey by parking on a neighbourhood street along a more southern entry point off Glen Manor Drive and walk north. The babbling Ames Creek basically marks the beginning and end of the ravine’s most sightly sections.
The tranquil ravine is a perfect spot for a morning walk or some quiet time with friends.
It’s perfect for runners who come to the ravines to utilize the two sets of towering staircases, but Glen Stewart wasn’t always a safe trail to traverse.
Many old wooden structures were replaced with steel work to ensure safety.
A massive restoration saw hundreds of trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses planted in 2016. Glen Stewart’s rare red oak tree forest has also seen some restoration, with more red oaks planted to foster further growth.
The 140-step set of steel stairs leads to Balsam avenue.
The looming forest now looks like a boreal paradise, with greenery surrounding you as you walk toward the first set of steel stairs that leads up to Balsam Avenue. Formerly a set of wooden stairs that were replaced after many years of deterioration.
There’s a platform after every 20 steps so you can catch your breath on this steep flight of stairs.
There are a total of 114 steps here, making this flight a total leg burner.
A walkway at the end of the steps leads you out onto Balsam Road.
After you’ve finished this set of stairs you’ll hit some flat land that will eventually take you out to Balsam’s residences, where the houses are great for sight-seeing in themselves.
A scenic lookout point provides an incredible tree-filled view of the ravine.
If you skip the Balsam exit and continue along the boardwalk you’ll come across the rounded lookout extension with two benches and a view of the ravine’s sloping, grassy walls.
Alternative paths will begin to appear as you head north toward Kingston Road.
You’ll begin to notice points along that path that will allow you to walk closer to the creek to better explore the wildlife; it’s quite likely that you’ll see a number of ducks and squirrels on your walk.
The ravine is home to both a rare with hazel shrub as well as a red oak forest.
Glen Stewart Ravine is also home to rare witch hazel shrubs and maple trees.
A fork in the road at the ravine’s northern point leads to Beech Avenue or Kingston Road.
After just a 15 minute walk, you’ll reach the end of the path and a fork in the road that leads to Beech Avenue to the right and the bustling Kingston Road to the left. Continue to Beech for a more leisurely stroll or charge up the wooden stairs for an intense finish to your walk.
Lead photo by