Rouge Hill: A Hidden Gem Outside Toronto Worth Visiting


One of my favorite day trips outside Toronto is Rouge Hill.

Rouge Hill does not mean red mountains in the real sense. Rouge is the largest neighborhood in Toronto in terms of landmass and it belongs to Scarborough. Most areas at Rouge are undeveloped and residential.

Despite the lack of city life, the neighborhood of Rouge is in close proximity to urban parks, Rouge River, Lake Ontario, and forests. My favorite part of Rouge is Rouge Hill, which consists of a long waterfront trail with white sand, blue waters, 1,700 species of plants and animals, lush trees on the trail provide a forest setting that is wonderful to walk around in the summer.

Rouge Hill: the best day trip outside Toronto

How to get to Rouge Hill

Despite the distance to the Toronto city center, getting to Rouge Hill is surprisingly easy. The Lakeshore East and Oshawa go train leave from Union Station frequently and arrives at Rouge Hill in 30 minutes.

As soon as you get off at the Rouge Hill go train station, you will see a part of the waterfront trail that you can start exploring.

Rouge Hill: the best day trip outside Toronto

Rouge Hill go train station

Great Lakes Waterfront Trail at Rouge Hill

Rough Hill waterfront is part of the long 2,000 kilometers waterfront trail and it is a perfect place to enjoy a lazy afternoon on a beach, picnic, outing with family and friends, and go for a long stroll.

I frequented there in the summer, walked under the shade of the trees for a few hours, and had most of the beach to myself. I saw a few locals there and photographers. As I went on weekdays, there were not many people. In fact, this place is a true gem and there were less than five people at most on the beach.

Rouge Hill: the best day trip outside Toronto

A beautiful walking path at the Great Lake Waterfront Trail

You can find a short footpath that leads you to secluded beaches at the waterfront and dip your toes but you do not want to swim there. The water was pretty cold when I went there at the end of May. In some parts, the water is calm while in others, the water batters the rocks and leaves consistent breaks left and right. The waves are not crazy like the ones on the islands, and you can sit on the edge of the rocks, appreciate the serene surroundings, and relax under the summer sun.

Rouge Hill: the best day trip outside Toronto

The beach on the Rouge Hill Waterfront trail. There was no one there when I visited on a weekday

Rouge Hill: the best day trip outside Toronto


Rouge Hill is incredibly serene and gorgeous in the evening. The only drawback is that the sun actually sets on the other side, so you will not be able to witness the sunset over the water. However, it was still a spectacular moment that I will remember.

Rouge Hill: the best day trip outside Toronto

As the sun went down, the sky was glowing in the soft hue of purple and pink, and the color of the sky reflected off the water, making it look like it was dyed by the pink color, with the Pickering skyline lighting up in the distance.

Rouge Hill Toronto

Sunset over Rouge Hill, Toronto

It was a dreamy view to end the day.

What to know about visiting Rouge Hill

  • There is a parking lot next to the train station. I am not sure if it is free but it is spacious.
  • There are no restaurants or shops on the waterfront trail or in proximity, so make sure to bring your own food and drinks.
  • You are welcome to use part of the space for a picnic and BBQ, and make sure to clean up after yourself.
  • The water is pretty cold so do not attempt to swim.
  • Washrooms are at the Rough Hill Urban Park and at the go train station. There are no other facilities.
  • The waterfront trail is dog and cyclist friendly.

What is your favorite day trip outside Toronto? Share your experience below. 

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Rouge Hill - the best day trip outside Toronto, Canada

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Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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