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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Skip Navigation LinksLake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority > Conservation Areas > Conservation Areas Map > Thornton Bales
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​​​Thornton 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 is best suited to people who are in good physical condition and enjoy a challenge. Water bottles and comfortable footwear 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.

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.

Fun fact: The change in vertical elevation from the top of the 99 steps to the bottom is a larger change in elevation than the drop over Niagara Falls!

Thornton Bales Visitor Survey

Do you visit Thornton Bales often? We want to hear from you! We're conducting a survey to better understand how visitors use this property, as well as to learn what could be done to improve visitor experience at the conservation area! Your feedback is very important to us, and will assist in informing the Thornton Bales management plan! Take this quick  10 minute survey for a chance to win a gift certificate to Nature's Emporium or MEC! 


An online user survey will be available from September 19 to November 23. We will also hold a Public Workshop on Wednesday, October 17 from 7pm to 9pm. This workshop will give you the opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas for Thornton Bales and what changes you would like to see in the future! To register for the workshop please contact Lauren Grzywniak at