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!>
Notice to Visitors
Due to icy conditions and hazardous trees, the main trail and steps at Thornton Bales Conservation Area will be closed until further notice. We will make an announcement once these issues have been resolved.
Updates will be posted on this page and on our social media accounts. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Thornton Bales Management Plan
Together with local residents, visitors, community groups and other interested stakeholders we're creating a Management Plan for Thornton Bales Conservation Area. Your feedback is an important part of this review. Through this process, you will have an opportunity to reflect on the value and use of the property, changes you may have seen over the years, and most importantly, your ideas for the future.
What is a Management Plan?
A Management Plan provides direction so that the property is cared for in a way that balances recreation with conservation. It sets goals to enhance the property and provides the strategies to achieve them.
How can you get involved?
We invite you to participate at any or all stages of the review process. Follow the Plan's progress by checking this webpage regularly for upcoming public events and workshops, as well as documents available for review.
Process and Timeline
The Thornton Bales Management Plan development process will consist of five stages.
Stage 1. Implementation Report
Stage 2. Stakeholder Analysis
Stage 3. Needs Assessment
Stage 4. Preliminary Management Plan
Stage 5. Management Plan
Documents available for review:
Thornton Bales Consultation Report
For more information, contact:
Land Management Technician
905-895-1281, ext. 126