Are Dogs Allowed at Scarborough Bluffs?

With breathtaking rising white cliffs overlooking Lake Ontario, the Scarborough Bluffs is a large 15+km geological wonder that offers lush hiking trails, a sandy beach, and plenty of gardens, sports, and recreation facilities too.

It’s no wonder that Scarborough Bluffs, also known as The Bluffs, is a popular day-trip destination for Toronto and nearby city dwellers looking for a change in scenery.

The escarpment is a popular choice for families, couples, and of course dog-owners too!

Except for Rosetta McClain Gardens and some dog restrictions at Bluffers Beach and Guild Park Inn Gardens, most of Scarborough Bluffs is a great place to explore with a dog.

However, don’t let these restrictions deter you from visiting Scarborough Bluffs! With 11 different parks and plenty of trails to explore with your dog on a leash, Scarborough Bluffs is a great day trip destination for any dog owner.

Bonus – one of the parks even features an off-leash dog park too!

Let’s go through each park and the various trails offered at Scarborough Bluffs to help you plan your next dog-friendly visit to The Bluffs.

Which Parks in Scarborough Bluffs Are Dog-Friendly?

Here is a quick table that summarizes which of the 11 parks at Scarborough Bluffs is dog-friendly. Click on the park name to jump to a quick description of the park and find any trail maps (if available).

Which of the 11 parks at Scarborough Bluffs are dog-friendly?

* indicates our recommended parks to visit with a dog

Map of all the Scarborough Bluffs Parks

Here is a all the Scarborough Bluffs park locations. The map is colour-coded to show which dog park is not dog-friendly too (in red):

Trip map created with Wanderlog, a trip planner on iOS and Android

10 Dog-Friendly Parks at Scarborough Bluffs

young red and white corgi wearing a pink bandana and harness sitting beside a woman wearing an oversized leather jacket kneeling on the sandy beach at Bluffers Park in March
Limone visiting Scarborough Bluffs in March

1. Bluffer’s Park and Beach

Address: 1 Brimley Road S
Parking: Paid Parking Lot – $1.50/hr weekdays after 5:00 PM, weekends, and holidays

When most people think of Scarborough Bluffs, most people think of Bluffer’s Park and Bluffer’s Beach. t’s probably the busiest park in the summer out of the 11 parks available at Scarborough Bluffs.

There are dog restrictions at Bluffer’s Beach

Most of Bluffer’s Park is dog-friendly provided they are on a leash. However, there is a bylaw in Toronto that restricts when dogs can visit the beach. Visiting during the wrong time can result in a hefty fine if you’re not careful!

Dogs are only allowed on the beach at Bluffer’s Park at specific times thanks to Toronto’s Parks Bylaw, which states that while in a park, an individual having control of a dog shall not allow the dog to enter a swimming beach except between November 1 and March 31.

This excludes individuals with a disability accompanied by a service animal, and working dogs providing services in the City.

That means that from April 1 to October 31, dogs are not allowed at Bluffers Beach – not even on a leash. This park bylaw was put in place to keep swimming beaches safe and sanitary during peak tourist seasons. Unfortunately, that means that if you’re planning a summer beach day, you won’t be able to bring your dog with you to Bluffers Beach.

Even between November 1 and March 31, when dogs are allowed on Bluffer’s beach, you’ll need to keep them on a leash.

If you are looking for dog-friendly beaches in Toronto, be sure to check out my list of 70 off-leash areas in Toronto to find out where they are and what their restrictions are!

Here’s a video of Limone enjoying a quick dig in the sand the first time she visited Bluffer’s Beach while we attempt to make memories of her first beach ever beach visit (don’t worry – we filled the hole up after she was done digging!)

Bluffers Park Trails

Bluffers Park Trail, however, are dog-friendly and can be hiked with dogs on a leash.

Outside of the beach restrictions, you can hike the rest of the trails at Bluffer’s Park with your dog, provided that they are on a leash no longer than 6 ft or 2m. 

While I haven’t hiked here with Limone, I do have some recommendations based on past hiking experiences with friends and family.
If you’re planning on hiking along Bluffer’s Park with your dog, I’d recommend the following:

  • Hiking on a weekday when it is quieter – you’ll have a much easier time finding parking
  • For hot summer days – most trails do not provide a lot of shade so if you’re visiting with a dog, plan to:
    • Hike earlier in the day or later in the evening
    • Pack lots of water or have your dog wear a cooling vest to keep from overheating
Architectural fragment - now a sculptural piece at Guild Park and Garden. Image by Jeff Hitchcock - Flickr
Architectural fragment – now a sculptural piece at Guild Park and Garden. Image by Jeff Hitchcock – Flickr

2. Guild Park and Gardens

Address: 201 Guildwood Parkway
Parking: Lot Available

Another popular location when people think of Scarborough Bluffs is the gorgeous always wedding-friendly Guild Park and Gardens , formerly known as Guildwood Park.

With architectural fragments of previously demolished buildings located throughout the park and nearby beautiful gardens, Guild Park is a beautiful space for dog owners to enjoy a scenic dog walk.

While most of Guild Park is dog-friendly, dogs are not allowed in the Guild Inn Garden Area. Unfortunately, there is no clear boundary as to where the Guild Inn Garden area begins and ends. There is a post by the Facebook Page: Guild Park – which summarizes the dog rules at Guild Park and Gardens that tries to outline the exact guidelines based on common sense, courtesy, and park etiquette:

Dogs should keep away from Guild Park’s formal gardens and adjacent areas where::

  • Events (weddings, special permit activities) take place
  • where park visitors linger to enjoy the gardens, public art, and other features
Off-Leash Dog Park at Scarborough Heights Park - Image by Viv Lynch - Flickr
Image by Viv Lynch – Flickr

3. Scarborough Heights Park

Address: 27 Fishleigh Dr
Parking: Parking lot and street parking available

Scarborough Heights Park is by far the most dog-friendly park at Scarborough Bluffs.

Firstly, let’s rejoice! Scarborough Heights park is one of the 70 off-leash areas available in Toronto. With a fenced off-leash area, Scarborough Heights Park is a great stop for high-energy dogs that need off-leash time before starting a long walk.

You’ll want to set this as a first stop visit as much of the vegetation around the area blocks the cliffside views of Lake Ontario that most people expect to see when visiting The Bluffs.

Also, be sure to bring water for your dog when visiting this off-leash park. There are no water fountains or other water sources nearby.

According to the City of Toronto’s website, the service road at the west edge of the park can act as a pathway to access shoreline trails if you’re looking to follow up your off-leash visit with an on-leash walk.

According to Did You Say Walk, the hike down to the shoreline is challenging and the climb back up is tough too. However, it is well worth a visit if you’re looking for a quiet walk along rocky beaches with your dog. 

Image of Scarborough Bluffs taken by Scarboro Crescent Park - Image by Domenico Convertini - Flickr
Image by Domenico Convertini – Flickr

4. Scarboro Cresent Park

Address: 61 Undercliff Dr. , Scarborough, Ontario
Parking: Street parking

If you’re curious to see what Lake Ontario looks like at the highest point of Scarborough Bluffs, then Scarboro Crescent Park is a good park to visit.

With multiple tennis courts, a children’s splash pad, and a 2KM network trail that takes you by the fenced cliffside, this is a great option for dog owners looking for a quieter way to enjoy Scarborough Bluffs while taking your dog out for a walk.

Note: as with much of the Scarborough Bluffs park, the fencing by the cliff sides is placed for our protection and to reduce the high erosion rate. Please do not try to cross the fencing at any point or risk hefty fines and endangering yourself should massive parts of the bluffs unexpectedly collapse.

Image of the spires at Scarborough Bluffs taken near Cathedral Bluffs Park. Image taken by wonkanerd - Flickr
Tall spires viewed from Cathedral Bluffs Park. Image taken by wonkanerd – Flickr

5. Cathedral Bluffs Park

Address: 24 Lyme Regis Cres. Scarborough, ON
Parking: Street

Cathedral Bluffs Park is a park aptly named for offering spectacular views of the bluffs and Lake Ontario.

This park is best known for its views of the 90m tall spires of eroded sandstone cliffs. Like most other high places on The Bluffs, there are plenty of clear signs to stay away from the eroding edge.

This park consists of open grassy fields and includes a designated soccer field and baseball diamond too.

While there aren’t any trails or off-leash areas at this park, this park does allow dogs to visit and could make for a good family outing if you’re looking for a picnic field with a different view.

Scarborough Bluffs Cliff taken near Cudia Park - Image by the City of Toronto
Scarborough Bluffs Cliff taken near Cudia Park – Image by the City of Toronto

6. Cudia Park

Address: 70 Meadowcliffe Dr. Scarborough, Ontario
Parking: Yes – parking lot available

Looking for a dog-friendly on-leash trail that offers a bit more wilderness on The Bluffs? Then Cudia Park might be the right place for you. This park is best known for three things: 

  1. Hiking trails, 
  2. Lake Ontario views, and 
  3. Abundant wildlife

Note: please be sure to keep your dog on a leash as parts of the trails will take you to unfenced edges of the cliffs. 

Winter image of a forest trail taken at Doris McCarthy Trail - Image is from Wikimedia Commons
Winter image of a forest trail taken at Doris McCarthy Trail – Image is from Wikimedia Commons

7. Sylvan Park (Previously Known as Cherry Orchard Park)

Address: 55 Sylvan Ave. Scarborough, ON
Parking: Street

Sylvan Park is a small park that offers a short 1.26 KM loop around the park that is great for pedestrians and dog walkers to enjoy.

While not directly at the address listed for Sylvan Park, the City of Toronto also indicates that this park offers an official pedestrian trail that will take you down to the lake.

The lakeside trail is further west located at the intersection of Ravine Dr and Bellehaven Cr. The trail is also better known as the Doris McCarthy Trail, named after a famous local artist well-known for her landscape paintings.

On the waterfront trail, you can enjoy the rocky beach shoreline stroll and find a steel sculpture prominently displayed against the backdrop of Lake Ontario too.

Sylvan Park is a great central location to enjoy long walks with your dog and to explore Scarborough Bluffs as it is the center point between the two most popular parks at Scarborough Bluffs; Bluffs Parks and Guildwood Park.

If you make Sylvan Park your starting point for long walks with your dog, be sure to bring plenty of water and take a lot of rest on especially hot days as the trail does not offer any shade.

8. South Marine Lake

Address:  5 Rogate Pl. , Scarborough, Ontario
Parking: Street

Described by the City of Toronto as: “a very wooded natural area with no amenities, trails, or lookouts”, you can imagine how quiet and recluse this particular park would be.

If you live nearby, you may enjoy adding the views that this park offers as part of your dog walk. However, given its lack of amenities and small size, visitors traveling to see what Scarborough Bluffs has to offer and dog-owners looking for new on-leash trails will be disappointed with this park.

True to its name, this small park also does not offer an area for picnicking either.

Fencing by the cliffside at Grey Abbey Park - Image is from the City of Toronto
Fencing by the cliffside at Grey Abbey Park – Image is from the City of Toronto

9. Grey Abbey Park

Address: 180 Greyabbey Trl., Scarborough, Ontario
Parking: Street

If you’re looking for a hidden, cozy, quiet picnic hangout with a surprisingly beautiful view, then Grey Abbey Park should be on your list.

According to local Google Reviews, this is a popular spot for dog walkers to pass by. Plenty of folks also mentions that this park is a great place to just sit at one of their benches, watch the gulls fly by, and enjoy the quiet, serene waterfront views.

There’s also a children’s playground at this park, making this a great resting spot for families with dogs to rest after visiting other more popular parts of Scarborough Bluffs.

Sandstone cliffs at Scarborough Bluffs taken from East Point Park - Image by Vladislav Litvinov - Flickr
Sandstone cliffs at Scarborough Bluffs taken from East Point Park – Image by Vladislav Litvinov – Flickr

10. East Point Park

Address: 101 Copperfield Rd, Scarborough, ON M1E 3T9
Parking: Lot available

As one of the largest parklands along the City’s east waterfront area, this park is a haven for monarch butterflies and over 178 species of birds.

It also features a larger network of trails and access to the waterfront trail. A particularly great time to visit this park would be during the late-August to mid-October timeframe when you can watch the Monarch butterflies visiting this parkland.

This park features a lot of extra amenities as well including a two-level softball centre pavilion, washrooms, showers, change-rooms, umpire room, indoor lounge, and outdoor patio.

Which Parks Are Not Dog-Friendly at Scarborough Bluffs?

There is only one park at Scarborough Bluffs with a clear no-dogs policy – Rosetta McClain Gardens.

Rock garden at Rosetta McClain Garden - Image by JasonParis - Flickr
Rock garden at Rosetta McClain Garden – Image by JasonParis – Flickr

Rosetta McClain Gardens

Address: 5 Glen Everest Rd., Scarborough, ON
Parking: Lot available

This 11.5-hectare, fully-accessible garden park is a popular spot for wedding photos and good reason too! The park has special braille signage, beautiful rose gardens, and a rock fountain surrounded by a pergola. Rosetta McClain Gardens is a gorgeous park to visit in the spring and summer. Unfortunately, this park has a very clear no dogs policy (except for service animals).

If you’d like to visit this garden and you only have one opportunity to visit Scarborough Bluffs, then I suggest having a family or relative take your dog to one of the other dog-friendly parks in Scarborough Bluffs while you visit the garden without your four-legged friend.

However, I’d recommend visiting this garden on a day when you don’t have your dog with you as you can easily spend upwards of several hours enjoying the spectacular view of Lake Ontario at the top of the bluffs, its gardens, and charming gardens.

Are Dogs Allowed at Scarborough Bluffs? Conclusion

In conclusion, most of Scarborough Bluffs is dog-friendly provided dogs stay on leash and dog owners pick up after their pets.

Except for Rosetta McClain Gardens and some dog restrictions at Bluffers Beach and Guild Park Inn Gardens, most of Scarborough Bluffs is a great place to explore with a dog.

With over ten dog-friendly parks, a network of short trails that take you by the rocky shorelines of Lake Ontario, and the soaring sandstone cliffs of The Bluffs, Scarborough Bluffs is a great place to spend a couple of hours or even a full day exploring with your dog.

If you’re looking for other dog-friendly day trips near Toronto, you might also want to consider:

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