The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Riverine Flood Status
Lake Simcoe Shoreline Status
Low Water Status

Thornton Bales

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 features an accessible lookout to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views at the ridge of the forest. No​w with exactly 99 steps (we dare you to count them) to get you from the top to the bottom of the ridge, visitors will descend to the Red Oak Trail – best suited 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.

Cyclists on the Greenbelt Route can​ stop, take a break and make minor adjustments to their bicycles at our new bike station, accessed from 19th Sideroad. As bicycles are not permitted on trails, this station also offers a place to secure your bicycle while enjoying the other natural features of the conservation area.

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!​​

Parking at Thornton Bales​

Planning to visit Thornton Bales? With only 8 spots available, the parking lot fills up quickly.

​Because of the increase in visitors and our limited parking availability, we’ve noticed an increase in illegal parking along 19th Sideroad.

Please note that on-street parking is prohibited. Ticketing and towing are enforced by King Township at all times. If your vehicle has been towed please contact York Regional Police non-emergency line. 

Can't find a spot, try another lot!

A few of our larger conservation areas in York and Simcoe are less than 15 minutes away. Instead, try Scanlon Creek in Bradford or Rogers Reservoir in East Gwillimbury.​​


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map icon Hours, Locations & Map

Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk

Location & Trail Map​

Address: 1260 19th Sideroad, King Township
Latitude: 44.02701
​Longitude: -79.52137

Access: Mulock Sideroad, 3​ km west of Highway 11 (Yonge Street), Newmarket

On-site parking is limited. Parking on 19th Sideroad is prohibited.

phone icon   Who to Contact

Conservation Lands
1-800-465-0437 Toll free

nature icon  Natural Features

  • Oak Ridges Moraine
  • Mature Forest

amenities icon  Amenities

  • Hiking Trails
  • Connects to Jokers Hill, which is owned by the University​ of Toronto
  • On the Greenbelt Route
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