Enjoying Jokers Hill—Hiking Trails of the Koffler Scientific Reserve
Our public hiking trails are a much-loved local resource for hikers, dog-walkers, and naturalists young and old. If you plan to walk our public trails, be sure to download, print and take a map with you.
Access and Hours
Public trails can be accessed from two points. The main public access is through the Bathurst Street entrance between Highway 9 and Mulock Drive).Take the first turn-in on the west side of Bathurst, just north of Keith Avenue, Newmarket. The Blue Trail can also be reached through the Thornton-Bales Conservation Area, on the 19th Sideroad (Mulock Drive), King Township.
Trails are open for use starting one hour after sunrise, and ending at sundown.
Three trails loop through the eastern 50 hectares of Koffler Scientific Reserve.
Green: Rising gently from the Bathurst entrance to a scenic overlook of Newmarket and points east, this trail runs though habitat restored to red pine plantation in the 1960’s.
Red: A longer loop, the red trail rises and falls through the rolling landscape. Restored woodlots give way to naturally-recovering forest of oak, maple, beech and yellow birch.
Blue: Extending form the Bathurst Street entrance through to the Thornton-Bales Conservation Area – “the 99 steps”. Passing through regenerating forest, past the east pond and through a maple sugar bush, this trail is a side spur of the Oak Ridges Trail, and maintained through the generous efforts of the Oak Ridges Trial Association.
Rules and Policies
The accessibility of the public trails depends upon your cooperation with the following policies, designed for safety and to protect the ecological integrity of the reserve. Please note that all users of the public trails do so at their own risk, and that the reserve is not responsible for any problems that may occur on our trails.
- Stay on marked trails at all times
- Night use is prohibited, and violators will be subject to arrest for trespassing
- Observe the signs closing trails under rehabilitation
- Dogs are allowed, but must be on leash and out of streams and ponds
- Hunting and fishing are prohibited
- No horses or wheeled vehicles of any type (including bicycles)
- Fire, fireworks and firearms are prohibited (including paintball guns)
- Leave nothing, and take only photographs
- Do not disturb flagging, stakes, fences, or other markers denoting research and conservation sites
Notify the Station Manager ASAP. Please contact the Station Manager, Stephan Schneider, right away by phone 647-261-6362, email email@example.com
Please contact us if you see visitors misusing the trails.
History of our trails
The most significant conservation measure ever taken at Jokers Hill was when General Mann, one of its first owners, sent bulldozers through the forest! Those bulldozers created a network of bridle trails that soon attracted the equestrian community, who in turn, made Jokers Hill a vibrant centre able to resist the pressures of development during the post-World War II building boom. The horses are gone, but many of the trails remain. Thanks to efforts of our partners, the Oak Ridges Trail Association, York Region and King Township, the University of Toronto can open several routes on the Reserve’s eastern end for public enjoyment