Imagine playing among the treetops, completing obstacle courses like you’ve never experienced? Making your way through challenges that will test your balance, endurance and limits? Treetop Trekking will do just that and this past weekend in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday I had the chance to experience it for myself.
Treetop Trekking is a chain of adventure parks that are located across Ontario and Quebec with five parks in each of the two provinces that are conveniently located close to some of the top vacation spots like Huntsville, Toronto and Quebec City. Each park is unique in the obstacles that they boast but I visited the Stouffville location which is located about a 30 minute drive from downtown Toronto.
The Stouffville location is located within the Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area which is home to beautiful hiking trails, picnic areas and of course, the Treetop Trekking aerial park. To enter the conversation area you’ll normally have to pay, but when you hold Treetop Trekking tickets you’ll be able to drive right in and park for free. Tickets for the aerial park range from $43.99 for children between 9-11 to $59.99 for adults over 16 and should be purchased online to secure your reservation. Walk-ins are welcome but you can’t be guaranteed a spot given that they only allow a maximum of 20 people per time slot. Everyone who participates also must be at least 4’7 in height (click here for more requirements), for those that don’t meet the height requirement there is a Treewalk Village available for kids.
As we entered, we signed in at the front desk, filled out our waivers and were sent over to the side of the building to get our harnesses and helmets, and also get a safety orientation. It took a bit of time to get everyone strapped into their equipment but once they were, we headed over to a small, low to the ground obstacle course where they would train us on our equipment. What’s great about the aerial park is that you maneuver yourself through the obstacles. I had anticipated it being a little “childish” with a guide at every part of the course doing all the work for you, however, you do the short orientation where you learn about your fancy Speedrunner continuous lifeline system and how to hook onto the zip lines throughout the courses.
The Speedrunner system allows you to attach on at the beginning of each obstacle course (there’s multiple) and it’s impossible to come undone the entire time. This is what allows you to go through the courses without a professional following you every step of the way. At first, I’ll admit, I was intimidated. I have done ropes courses before but always depended on a professional to make sure I was securing myself properly into the systems, however once I went through the orientation course, I realized it was a lot easier than you’d think. Also, as the day progressed, the better I got at maneuvering my equipment.
After our orientation we headed to our first obstacle course. What was great is that even though we were a group of 20 you never had 20 people at once on the same obstacle course. Instead, they split us up into smaller groups (of about 5-7) and kept groups that came together, together. Our first course was a beginner/easy course to get us orientated, called Bumblebee. As we completed the course we were hit by an unexpected delay, the sunny skies turned grey and it was thundering. Since being attached to metal, high up in the trees isn’t the ideal scenario if it started storming, we all had to evacuate the area back to the main building until the storm passed.
The rule of thumb is that we could go back out once it had been 30 minutes without any thunder. Sadly, it took about two hours until that happened and lots of people just decided to leave instead of stick around. In fact, there were only five people left in our group of 20 once we went back out to the course finally at around 3pm (we started at 12:30pm). We thought hard about leaving but given that we’d lose out on the opportunity and only be credited for a portion of our experience, it made sense for us to just wait it out, especially since we knew it would eventually clear. However if you are visiting on a day that is non-stop storming (they’ll still run if it’s only rain), you’ll be issued a credit for your climb/experience (if you’ve already started it you’ll only be credited for the remaining hours.
When we finally got back on the course we were eager to get climbing. We then completed two intermediate obstacle courses, headed to the longer zip line (Monarch) and then decided to tackle the only advanced course, the Grey Owl. The Grey Owl is the highest, longest and shakiest of all the obstacle courses and you have to be at least five feet to complete it. It was definitely challenging but we managed to make it through no problem. Each course has a series of different obstacles you’ll walk through and you never know what you’ll get. Some are logs that swing back and forth, others are rope bridges, Tarzan swings, a surf board you use to slide across, and a few zip lines. Each course was unique and a lot of fun to get through. You ended all of them with a sense of accomplishment!
By the end of the experience we were exhausted. However, we definitely forgot to pack some snacks and water for fuel which would’ve been nice after waiting two hours on top of our three hours of climbing. Physically the experience is demanding, but you can take your time through each obstacle so if something is difficult you don’t need to rush. I was actually surprised at how challenging my experience actually was. I had assumed since kids did it the whole thing would be a bit watered down or “cheesy” but I was shocked at how incredible my three hours actually were and was on an adrenaline high after completing it. I definitely want to check out some of the other parks in the future and would highly recommend this to anyone looking to spend some time outdoors and have a bit of an adventure surrounded by the gorgeous nature of Ontario (or Quebec).
- Reading the FAQ section of the Treetop Trekking website will be helpful for your visit.
- Make sure that you wear athletic clothing and running shoes.
- You can bring cameras or phones with you but you’ll need your hands through the obstacles so you’ll want a pocket or small bag to put them in.
- Don’t make the mistake I did and make sure to bring lots of water.
- Canada gets four seasons so this experience is seasonal. Check the hours and operation times here.
Disclaimer: My experience at Treetop Trekking in Stouffville was complimentary, however I only write about things that I enjoyed and would recommend to others. All opinions in this piece are my own and 110% honest.