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Hike Info

Trailhead 1 (North): N43.90110 W79.17664; Trailhead 2 (Whitevale): N43.88649 W79.16267; Trailhead 3 (Taunton Rd): N43.86954 W79.13171; Trailhead 4 (South): N43.86403 W79.09846.     PHOTO album replaced by video above and TRAILGUIDE currently unavailable

12.9 km -linear trail (no loops)

3.5-4.5 h

Intermediate - moderate

174 m

Undulating mix of forest, creek, meadow and wetlands

Free parking lots at each trailhead


West Duffins Creek Lookout (N43.866621 W 79.119151)

Oct 2020

Not wheelchair accessible; dog friendly on leash; Very busy

Construction in places

This is a linear hike that can begin at any trailhead

wetlands; boardwalks; bridges; various lookouts;



The Site

East Duffins Creek Headwaters

Duffins Creek watershed

The Duffins Creek Watershed stretches from the Oak Ridges Moraine to the Lake Ontario waterfront and covers an area of 28,300 hectares. This watershed is one of the healthiest river systems in the Toronto region. Over 50 per cent of the entire watershed is under the ownership or care of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA), federal and provincial governments and regional and local municipalities.

Oak Ridges Moraine

The Oak Ridges Moraine is one of the most distinct physiographic landforms of southern Ontario. It stretches as a ridge of hilly terrain for 160 kilometres from the Niagara Escarpment in the west to the headwaters of the Trent River in the east. The moraine was created as glaciers receded and deposited layers of sand and gravel that are separated by clay and till soils. Rain that is collected and stored in the moraine’s vast underground layers of sand and gravel, which are known as aquifers, eventually resurfaces as healthy, clean water that feeds the majority of river systems in the Greater Toronto Area.


As a unique and valuable environmental asset, the moraine is a key water resource, an area rich in biodiversity and a beautiful landform. However, other land uses such as urban development and the extraction of sand and gravel compete for space on the moraine. Toronto and Region Conservation, other environmental organizations and citizens’ groups have and will continue to work to preserve the moraine in its natural state.

The Seaton Trail

The Seaton Seaton Trail is located along the West Duffins Creek in Pickering, Ontario. It runs for 12.9 km from 3rd Concession near Brock Road northwest to Highway 7. The trail follows historic hunting and fishing routes on the creek, used for centuries by aboriginal people. In pioneer times, the creek and valley became the site of several water powered mills. A former grist mill stills exists at Whitevale. 

The trail takes its name from the planned community of Seaton, which was envisioned in the 1970′s to accompany a new airport planned for the area which never got built. However, the trail was built mainly by high school and university students and was maintained for many years by the Boy Scouts at a nearby camp.

The trail soon became very popular but it suffered from over-use and lack of maintenace for may years until a community volunteer group was formed in 2009 to provide the necessary upkeep to the trail. This was The Friends of Seaton Trail group which coordinates efforts in safe public use, promotion, trail maintenance, upgrades and environmental protection of the trail. Since then, Trail parking lots have been built at the four trailheads along with kiosks, boardwalks over wet areas, and bridges.

The original red trail markers have faded and have been replaced by white metal blazes that function like those on the Bruce Trail. You may notice numbers on these blazes to help locate places along the trail that require maintenance.


Trailhead Parking along the Seaton Trail


Trailhead #1 Parking (North end):

This trailhead entrance (approximately 8 km east of Markham) is located on the South side of Highway 7 at Green River. There you will see a "Seaton Hiking Trail" sign beside a long driveway that leads to the trail parking lot.
Parking Coordinates N43.90216 W79.17707







Trailhead #2 Parking (Hamlet of Whitevale)

Park in the community park on the south side of Whitevale Road at Mutual Street, on the west side of the river. If you are heading south along the Seaton Trail from this point, walk south across the park (past the playground). If you plan to walk north from this point,cross the bridge to the east side of the river and look for the trail sign or the steps down to the trail right at the end of the guardrail at the end of the bridge. Parking Coordinates are: N43.88648 W79.16272





Trailhead #3 Parking (Taunton Rd):

From Tauton Road, head south on Whites Road. Turn east onto Forestream trail. Before the river, turn south and continue a short distance to the parking lot. To access the trail, walk north on Forestream Trail to Whites Road. The trail continues northward just to the west of the intersection, indicated by a sign and trail blazes. To access the trail southward, walk across the bridge and east along Whites Road.
Parking Coordinates:  N43.86929 W79.13160
Fall 2020: The bridge and section of Whites Rd between Forestream Trail and Taunton Rd is under construction and closed.



Trailhead #4 Parking (South end):

Follow Brock Road north from Highway 401 and turn west onto the 3rd Concession. Parking is available on the roadside at the deadend of the road. Stay outside the gate to the Brock Wesr Landfill site. A sign shows how to access the trail from this point.
Parking Coordinates:  N43.86377 W79.09822






commentThis mixed deciduous and coniferous forest provides many important environmental functions including: 1) Habitat and food supply for a variety of birds and wildlife. 2) Improved air quality by producing oxygen. 3) Clean water entering Duffins Creek and replenishing groundwater storage. 4) Better water infiltration. 5) Slope stabilization.

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Comments (1)
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I tried this itinerary recently (June 2021). It's a good one.

I was impressed by the variety and challenge of the scenery. It's hard to believe that it's only about 20 minutes from Markham (if you have good luck with traffic). Sure, it's not the...

I tried this itinerary recently (June 2021). It's a good one.

I was impressed by the variety and challenge of the scenery. It's hard to believe that it's only about 20 minutes from Markham (if you have good luck with traffic). Sure, it's not the Bruce Trail, but there are some steep segments and some nice lookout points. I think this route would be particularly scenic in the fall.

I lost the trail in the first section (between Highway 7 and Whitevale Road), but found another path that led to the street, only a few hundred meters from the actual trail's exit. Keep your eyes on the white blazes. Navigation was easy the rest of the way.

The obvious challenge with this route is it's linear. To complete the loop, you either have to double back, or walk along a mix of arterial and country roads. I chose the latter option. It was a pleasant but unspectacular return (not ideal for the walk back along the roads to be as long as the hike itself).

Peter Albert
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