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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Skip Navigation LinksLake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority > Enjoy the Outdoors > Conservation Areas > Thornton Bales
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​​​Thornton Bales Conservation Area

Accessible Entry Now Complete

New Bike Station Coming Soon!

The entrance at Thornton Bales conservation area.We’re working hard to upgrade a portion of the trail at Thornton Bales – the area from the parking lot until the top of the “99 steps” that get you down into the ravine. We’ve removed the 6 steps from the entrance at the parking lot and have now made this area fully accessible!​

Visitors who can’t (or don’t want to) hike down the 54 metre drop will still get to enjoy the panoramic views at the top of the ridge. A bike station will also be completed by October 2020 for cyclists on the Greenbelt Route to stop and take a break and enjoy the same breathtaking view. We thank our partners, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation, for funding these upgrades!

​How can you stay informed?

  • We’ll update this page, our social media accounts, and email our Conservation Areas Mailing List (sign up here!​)
  • There is on-location signage.  

I have a question, who do I contact?

Dan Andrews, Land and Resource Planning Technician
905-895-1281 | D.Andrews@LSRCA.on.ca

About Thornton Bales

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 suite​d to people who are in good physical condition and enjoy a challenge. Water bottles and supportive footwear with rugged soles 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 C​onservation 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!​​

The Thornton Bales Management Plan is now complete! ​

What's a Management Plan? A guide that establishes how we'll care for a property in a way that balances recreation and conservation. Throug​h public consultations, goals and strategies are set to implement enhancements.

Management Plans are reviewed periodically to ensure the special green spaces we know you love stay healthy and accessible. View the final ​plan here​​!