Enjoy An Outing At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario

Above And Below The Scarborough Bluffs

Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Enjoy An Outing Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario

We visited Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario for the view of the stunning sand cliffs on the Scarborough Bluffs.  But we found so much more to see and do! We hiked along the shore, took in the long sand beach and enjoyed the views along the waterfront.

As we explored close to home this year, we found many local gems. Being at home in the spring, we got our first view of cherry blossoms in High Park. When we hiked the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, we got a close up view of the vast Niagara Escarpment. Both of us grew up in the Toronto area. But this was the first time we explored the escarpment at the Scarborough Bluffs.

It was a clear blue sky day with not a cloud in sight and zero haze. The pictures we got were perfect. No filter was required to capture the beauty we found that day.

Getting To Bluffers Park In Scarborough

Anyone not familiar with the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada might find it hard to know where the Scarborough Bluffs were. Toronto is a massive city of about 3 million people but the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) expands that to almost 6 million. The GTA covers the areas that surround Toronto including the city of Scarborough to the east.

Toronto is on Lake Ontario and Scarborough extends down to Lake Ontario as well. Bluffers Park in the Scarborough Bluffs was right on the lake.

From our condo in the west end of Toronto, it was an easy drive for us along the lake. If you came in from another area, you would take one of the local highways to get close. And then use the city streets to Kingston Road and on to Bluffer’s Park. The park was well marked from Kingston Road.

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What Are The Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs are a 15km long geological formation along Lake Ontario east of Toronto. Sedimentary deposits accumulated over 12,000 years ago. They were once part of the old shoreline of Glacial Lake Iroquois, formed after the last ice age. In places the cliffs rose 90m above the lake level.

Over the years, the natural processes of wind and water erosion continued to change the shape and position of the cliffs. Residential developments accelerated the deterioration.

The edge of the “bluffs” were very unstable. But we still saw many houses perched on that eroding edge.

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The Parks At The Top Of The Scarborough Bluffs

There are nine parks along the Scarborough Bluffs. We wanted to start our visit with a view from above at one of the parks. But that proved harder than we thought it would be.

On our first visit, we drove through the residential streets on top of the bluffs and found Cathedral Bluff Park. There were signs all through the park about the danger at the cliff edges and the fines for crossing the fence. The cliff edge had dramatically failed on numerous occasions. So the danger was real! But it was clear that the chain across the path had not kept many people out.

When we went back a few weeks later, we went to the Scarboro Crescent Park. We quickly saw that the easy to scale wooden fences had been beefed up. Although we still saw places where the fence was scaled despite the danger and the $5000 fines. And many parts of the path still did not have the better fencing. But news reports suggested that more high fencing was installed in several parks.

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Scarboro Crescent Park.jpg

Scarboro Crescent Park - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

The Scarboro Crescent Park had a long walkway along the bluffs. In areas, the cliff edge was close and the tree foliage had not fully covered the view. We got glimpses down to the park viewpoints that we walked later that day. But we were disappointed that we got no real view of the cliff face from above. Just a small teaser at one point!

Scarboro Crescent Park.jpg

Scarboro Crescent Park - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Scarboro Crescent Park - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Even without a walk out to the edge, we enjoyed a walk along the top. The fields were filled with spring wildflowers. And the sun was out.

Scarboro Crescent Park.jpg

Our quick stops on top of the Scarborough Bluffs got us excited for our days at Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario.

Much To Do At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario

Since Bluffer’s Park had the only beach, that was the park we chose to visit for our view up at the Scarborough Bluffs. Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario covered a large area. On our first visit, the over-achiever in me suggested we would tackle the entire park on one visit. David was smarter than that. In the end, we were glad we visited twice and really enjoyed the whole park.

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When we entered Bluffers Park, we first saw a number of marinas and yacht clubs. There was a restaurant that was closed when we visited. And a long row of houseboats, some available to rent. We thought they would be fun to rent for a night away from home.

Ahead of us were a number of marinas and yacht clubs. There was a restaurant that was closed when we visited. And a long row of houseboats, some available to rent. We thought they would be fun to rent for a night away from home.

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We really wanted to hike under the Cathedral Bluffs. And as a bonus, this was the area where the beach was located. So on our first visit to Bluffers Park we headed to the Bluffers Beach area.

Hiking Under Cathedral Grove

We parked the car by the beach and headed off to hike the paths below the Cathedral Bluffs section of the Scarborough Bluffs. We did not know what to expect on the path so we both wore our hiking boots. What we found was mostly a level path that gave us more of a walk than a hike. Although we were glad our boots helped in several wet areas.

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As we walked along we saw the Cathedral Bluffs above us. We peered through the bull rushes in places and in others got a clear view up at the towering cliffs. The cliffs were the highest at this point.

Hike Cathedral Grove Views - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Hike Cathedral Grove Views - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Hike Cathedral Grove Views - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

A couple of times we chose paths that seemed to go towards the cliff faces. We knew the unstable cliffs could not be climbed but we wanted a view up the cliff face. But the paths got much tighter and rougher than we wanted.

We continued to walk under the Cathedral Bluffs before we took the path that led us out to the beach.

Walking Along The Beach

We took the path that led to the end of the bay. When we looked up, we saw the cliff face above us.

Beach and Water View - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

The broad expanse of beach stretched along Lake Ontario. Mid-week, early in the season we found the beach almost empty. There were no lifeguards on duty. But life rings were positioned frequently along the beach.

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Beach Cathedral Grove Views - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Beach and Water View.jpg

We walked slowly back along the water line. The water picked up the minerals in the sand and sparkled as the waves hit.

Beach and Water View - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

From the water line, we got a broader perspective on the Cathedral Bluffs. And it gave us a better appreciation for the scale of the Scarborough Bluffs.

Beach Cathedral Grove Views - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

When we reached the other end of the beach, we saw the sign that proclaimed this was a Blue Flag beach. One of the criteria for a Blue Flag beach was water quality. So we were surprised when we found many signs that warned about swimming due to the currents. We were sure that would not stop people in the heat of the summer. Just as the sign saying no dogs did not stop people from letting their dogs roam freely on the beach.

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Blue Flag Beach Sign.jpg

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The beach area was a lovely and relaxing way to finish our hike at Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario.

Picnic Areas And Park Land By The Beach At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario

When we kept walking along the water edge we came to a grassy area and a small sheltered beach. Picnic tables and bbq’s were sprinkled over the grassy area.

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Beach Point BBQ Picnic.jpg

We climbed up on the rocks for a view back down the beach and up the cliffs at Cathedral Bluffs. It was the perfect last view of Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario.

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Walking In The Park At Bluffers Park

On our second visit, we wanted to see the view of the Scarborough Bluffs at the park end. There were multiple paths that led to the Bluffers Park Lookout and the small beach right under the Scarborough Bluffs. We planned a circular route and headed towards Lake Ontario. This left the cliff views to the end.

After a short walk through the park path, we came to a large high chain link fence that blocked off much of the point that went out into the lake and the Bluffers Park Lookout. Work was underway to repair the breakwater. Luckily there was a worn footpath beside the fence and we continued through the brush.

It was not long until we came to the first landmark we saw from above at Scarboro Crescent Park. We got our first view of the Scarborough Bluffs over the large settling pond. And when the swans and people fishing were quiet, we even got some reflections.

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Over The Reservoir Settling Pond - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

We continued along and finally came out at the water. While we could not go right to the Bluffers Park Lookout, we settled in and enjoyed the tranquil bay. Mid-week we had the park virtually to ourselves.

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Viewpoint Bay View - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Viewpoint Bay View.jpg

Even with out the cliff views, it was a great day by the water when we visited Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario.

Many Views Up At The Scarborough Bluffs

From the bay, we got our first view of the Scarborough Bluffs. From that distance, we got a real sense of the span of this side of the cliffs.

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View from the Viewpoint - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

View from the Viewpoint - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

We wandered along the shore and crossed a small creek. This gave us a fully unobstructed view of the vast cliff face at this end of Bluffers Park. It was fascinating to see this side after our first view under Cathedral Bluffs on our first visit.

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View of the Cliffs - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

There was a small beach area that was open. But the narrow beach right under the bluffs was fenced off and signed with more warnings. We stood at the fence and got a good perspective on the steepness of the cliff. In many areas we saw large piles of rock that slid off.

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Along The Cliff Wall - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

From this viewpoint, we looked up the cliffs. We were just below where we walked earlier in Scarboro Crescent Park. The variety in the detail and shapes we saw at the top of the cliffs were fascinating. When we zoomed in, we saw the sandstone detail and understood why the cliffs by Scarborough Bluffs were so unstable and dangerous.

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Cliff View Zoom In - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Cliff View Zoom In - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Cliff View Zoom In.jpg

Cliff View Zoom In.jpg

A Slow Walk Out Of Bluffers Park

After we had enough of the cliff views, we headed along the wide gravel path that led back to the parking lot. As we walked, we regularly looked back at the quickly disappearing cliff face.

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The path wound through the trees and past the settling pond. We were sure that if we started our circular path this way, we would be totally unprepared when the cliffs appeared.

Gravel Path To The Cliffs - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

Gravel Path To The Cliffs.jpg

We were so glad we got so many great views of the Scarborough Bluffs from below when we visited Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario.

Some Facilities At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario

We were happy we found open bathrooms at both areas at Bluffers Park. On our day trips around Ontario, facilities were often hard to find. There were no food options available. Although we saw the ice cream truck as it headed in.

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If we came prepared, we could spend the day at Bluffers Park and find lots to do. Both the beach and parks sides had lots of open space to enjoy. With stunning views up to the Scarborough Bluffs.

Street Art Too

We loved when we came across a piece of street art on our travels. We found the first piece by the washrooms at the beach end at Bluffers Park.

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When we went to the park side at Bluffers Park, we again found interesting art work on both sides of the public bathrooms.

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When we headed back home along Kingston Road, we were drawn in by the large mural we saw on the side of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 13. It was a beautiful tribute to the military.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 13 Mural - Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario Canada.jpg

As we drove along, we saw more and more street art on the buildings. Toronto is well known for the street art in all parts of the city. We pulled in when we saw another wall covered with a mural. The mural was marked as “Mural 5” on the “Mural Route” in Canada. We wanted to check that out and see many more of the murals on the map.

Mural 5 On Mural Route in Canada.jpg

After great days in the outdoors, it was fun to find colourful art.

A Great Day At Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario

After our visit, we wondered why it took us so long to visit Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario. The Scarborough Bluffs were a local geological treat. And we found lots of outdoor activities when we visited on a day trip from Toronto.

The views of the Cathedral Bluffs were stunning. The cliffs at the park end of Bluffers Park provided such an interesting contrast. Especially on perfect blue sky days! We enjoyed the views of Lake Ontario from the long sand beach, along the park paths and over the rocky shore line.

Have you visited Bluffers Park On Lake Ontario? Do you have another favourite by the Scarborough Bluffs?

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About TravelAtWill 634 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

64 Comments

  1. Wow there is so much to do at Bluffers Park. And that water looks heavenly, its beautiful. No wonder it is the Blue flag beach, looks very clear. I have never been to a Blue flag beach till date actually. Also, I would definitely hike under the Cathedral Grove and walk along the beach. I will make sure I have good hiking shoes as well.

    • We were delighted with all that we found at Bluffers Park. Hard to believe we never visited this place so close to home before. A beach is just what we need as Toronto temperatures climb.

  2. Renting a houseboat for a weekend getaway sounds super relaxing. It’s too bad the cliffs were so unstable but a moment of luck to find some rocks to view the coast from. The view of the Cathedral Bluffs meeting the water is fabulous, would be a great picnic lunch spot

    • It was great to visit this spot so close to home. A weekend under the cliffs would be a great staycation getaway for us. A lovely spot mid week before the crowds descend.

  3. Wow, what an amazing place that I never knew existed. I would love to explore a park like Bluffers. But I was also intrigued by the street art you discovered. I really appreciate all the photos you include as well–it really made me feel like I was following along on your journey.

    • I am glad the photos took you along for our beautiful journey. We took hundreds and it was hard to whittle it down to some to share. It was a great escape from the city.

  4. In all my years of living in Toronto and then York Region, I’ve never gone to the Scarborough Bluffs. I even used to work in Scarborough and have friends who live in Scarborough- and never went. It’s on my local list of places to go! I know it’s a great escape, for locals to access it and it’s beautiful in all seasons too.

    • We too could not believe we had not yet made it to the Scarborough Bluffs. But so worth a day or two to explore both sides at Bluffers Park. A great escape mid week before the summer crowds descend.

  5. Bluffers Park seems like a perfect little locals-kept secret! So neat that those cliffs are made out of sand – it gives it a beach and mountain feel at the same time. I’d love to do a hike here and finish it off with a picnic with a view.

  6. gah it’s such a pet peeve when people completely disregard safety signs 😣😣😣 hope they’ve managed to get more high fencing installed since.

    • It was beautiful to see the views from the top even from over the trees. But after seeing the eroding cliffs from the bottom, I sure knew why they needed to keep people back from the edge!

  7. Bluffers Park looks like an amazing spot for hiking and spending time with nature. I love the view of the lake, the sandy beach and the cliffs. Would be great to hike here and pack some lunch for picnic with me.

  8. What a lovely park & I like there are different areas to get a completely different experience. It’s a shame you couldn’t hike for a view over the cliffs but they sound very unstable. I am already worried for all those houses so close to the edge! But it doesn’t look like it stopped you from making the most of both visits. The beach looks gorgeous, although the idea of renting a houseboat for the weekend would definitely be top of my list!

    • It was interesting to see the difference on the two sides of Bluffers Parks. I am hoping they build a real viewing platform on top so people can avoid the unsafe edge. A weekend with this view would be awesome indeed.

  9. What a beautiful day at Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario! The views from the top are amazing and I love the wildflowers! Such an adventure Linda. To top it off, you were rewarded to the beach! Although no swimming is allowed, it looks perfect for a walk. It’s wonderful as well that Bluffers Park is an easy day trip from Toronto for you.

  10. Splendid scenery around, the spring blooms, sun out and hikes, what more can one ask for!! The street art sure is quite quirky and colorful, great that you could access a portion of the beach and view the cliffs!

  11. I love the beaches at the Scarborough Bluffs. They’re the perfect place in the summer when Toronto gets crazy hot!

  12. Thank you for these tips. I’ve never been to Ontario, but I will be happy to visit Bluffers Park once I go. Thanks for valuable advice such as there are no food options – always good to know to be prepared. Bluffers Park looks so beautiful. You inspired me to go now. Without reading your article, I wouldn’t probably consider going there at all.

  13. What great timing you guys had, there’s not a single other person there in any of these pictures! Looks super relaxing. I’ve got to admit the water does look enticing, despite the warning about the current it must be hard to stay out of the water! The geology would be the most fascinating part for me, the windswept texture of the cliffs sort of reminds me of slot canyons. I’m nervous for the people who built houses on the edge.

    • We have taken to visiting places that are busy when we can mid week. It was wonderful to have this spot almost to ourselves. Both sides were fascinating and so different.

  14. This looks amazing! I’ve never heard of the Scarborough Bluffs but this looks like it’s definitely worth a visit. I also love the street art, I find it interesting how it is so different in every city and how it makes a place look completely different.

  15. The different cliff formations at Bluffers park look amazing. Do you know if there are any rock climbing possibilites? Whenever I see nice rocks I want to climb them. The beach looks very beautiful also and very empty. Seems you had a perfect time at Bluffers park.

  16. It looks like a nice trip for a day or two to Bluffers Park. I can see why they don’t let visitors walking to the bluffs. They look fragile. It would be nice to have some ice cream after exploring the bluffs and spent some time on the beach.

  17. Bluffers Park looks peaceful and relaxed place for nature lovers like me. Good to see some vibrant and colorful street art at both walls of public bathroom too. These sandstone cliffs looks interesting and beautiful though they are unstable and dangerous.

    • We were glad we went back twice to see so much of Bluffers Park. Great to look at from below. But after seeing the steep and eroding cliffs, I would be very cautious about being close to the edge on top.

  18. You sure had a lovely day! The pics you had were like studio shots with those cloudless skies. But your subjects we’re indeed amazing! I feel like hiking under the Cathedral Grove or a walk along the beach of lake Ontario would be so relaxing after a stressful day.

    • I can’t believe we have perfect blue skies days on two visits weeks apart. It was stunning to get this natural beauty in perfect weather. A great spot to relax on Lake Ontario for sure.

  19. Bluffers Park on Lake Ontario seems to be perfect place for a weekend getaway. I would like to hike under Cathedral Grove and walking along the beach and see mural arts. A lot’s of things to do there.

  20. What a great spot to visit! It looks like there are plenty of things to do and see. The water looks beautiful and it is not very crowded. I love the street art they have there too. I love discovering little gems like this that are nearby!

  21. What a wonderful place to hike and explore nature. And not too far off from Toronto! I am getting a theme here, that when visiting Canada we really just go outside of the city on every visit

    • You certainly got the right theme for visiting Canada! The cities are great. But less than an hour outside you will come to a different world. Hope you get to explore it.

  22. This looks so lovely and peaceful. I love that the lake shore isn’t built up and away from some more busy and crowded lakes in the area.

  23. This place looks great! I have only been to Canada once, and I cannot wait to go back and visit places like this one. Thanks for sharing.

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