Download the Trail Guide
here (PDF file, 1.1 Mb).
The Oxbow Trail is a 0.5 km loop around a section of the Don River
that was severed during construction of the Don
Valley Parkway in the early 1960s. Allow yourself at least 15 minutes
to walk the trail and enjoy some of its natural features.
Begin your walk by entering the lowland forest behind the Don Train
Station entrance. The tree canopy here is mainly crack willow and Manitoba
maple. We are gradually replacing these with native trees such as sugar
maple and red oak. On the forest floor, trilliums and bloodroot provide a spectacular flowering display
for a few weeks in spring before the trees leaf out.
From the viewing stand you can see the pond
which was constructed in 1994 by
enhancing and deepening a natural depression.
This area has a cattail marsh, and the edges of the pond have been planted with
sedges, blue flag iris and many other wetland plants and shrubs.
Dragonflies, frogs and fish have colonized the pond.
As you cross the long boardwalk, you enter a forested wetland created
by seepage from springs on the slopes.
Look for white cedar, black ash, ferns and dogwoods—all of which
like "wet feet".
After a short ascent you reach upland forest on top of a knoll.
The soil here is drier, and favours white ash and sugar maple trees.
From the stairs you get a good view of the Don River oxbow below.
The oxbow is spring-fed and does not dry out in summer.
The trail now rises up the west side of the oxbow to
a meadow. The meadow is especially colourful
in late summer and fall when cup plant, wild bergamot, goldenrod and asters
are in bloom.
As you end your walk at the parking lot, have a look at the
step-pool channel at the south-east corner of the bridge.
Together with the swale (ditch) planted with
grasses and shrubs, the pools slow down and cleanse contaminated stormwater
which drains off the parking lot.