Sugarbush Heritage Park Dog Park – A Great Visit for Weekend Warriors

Sugarbush Heritage Park Dog Park – A Great Visit for Weekend Warriors

This week we’re visiting a dog park that’s not in the city of Toronto but within the Greater Toronto Area (the GTA). We’ll be visiting the Sugarbush Heritage Park dog park located in Thornhill / Vaughan.

Located just off Highway 7 and Bathurst, this is a relatively accessible dog park for Toronto pet owners who don’t mind driving a little bit further north to try somewhere new.

If you’re looking for a beautiful leashed trail walk paired with a spacious off-leash dog park for your next weekend warrior adventure then you might really enjoy this park.

Sugarbush Heritage park offers:

  • 2.4 KM of unpaved forested on-leash trails
  • A small playground for children to play nearby
  • A beautiful community garden space
  • Dedicated small and large dog off-leash park space

One of the best things about visiting a dog park outside of Toronto is that every single dog park that I’ve been to in the GTA region offers free parking and honestly that’s a factor that can’t be beaten when it comes to planning a few hours of fun with my dog. Free parking is 100% a big factor for me when it comes to where I plan my future dog park visits!

Sugarbush Heritage Park Dog Park Overview

Here’s a quick summary of Sugarbush Heritage park dog park before we dive into a detailed review:

Dog Park Hours of Operation: Sunrise – Sunset

Terrain: Flat Grass

Address: 91 Thornhill Woods Dr, Thornhill, ON L4J 8S1

Plan for:

  • 30 minutes in the off-leash area
  • 45 minutes to 1 hour traversing 2.4 KM unpaved (wood chips) forest trails through Baker’s Woods forest
  • Additional 10 minutes  if you plan on walking the paved trail around the community garden, children’s playground, and dog park
  • Bring your own water into the park – there are no water sources in the off-leash area available to refill bottles
Sugarbush Heritage Park - Dog Park Review - Features You'll Love and Missing Features / Things You Should Know summary infographic

Directions to Sugarbush Heritage Dog Park

Sugarbush Heritage Park is best reached by car.

Unless you live in the area, public transit paths will take you towards Bathurst and Highway 7 – which is the far east end of the park. From the bus stop, you’ll need to walk 15 minutes through Baker Wood’s to access the dog park at Sugarbush Heritage park. 

There are two small parking lots. One of the lots is located directly north of the dog park. The other is just east of the dog park, situated near the children’s playground.

The two parking lots combined offer about 38 car spaces. 

Here is a map of where the parking lots are located in the park as well as the closest public transit stop:

Map of Sugarbush Heritage Park with dog park outlined, parking lot locations labelled, and closest public transit stop labelled

When I visited this park during the weekday, the lots were mostly empty – even during peak dog walker usage times (between 10:00 Am – 2:00 PM).

During the summer evenings, you may find that the lots are full because this is a popular evening walk location for the neighbourhood.

However, I would say that for most of your visits, you’ll find that the two parking lots provide ample parking. 

Sugarbush Heritage Park Map

Here is a map of the entire Sugarbush Heritage Park including the parking locations, dog park location, and trails located in Baker Woods.

Key Features You’ll Love of Sugarbush Heritage Dog Park

Here is an in-depth look at all the essential features offered at Sherwood Park:

❤️ Dedicated small dog area.

Small dog owners rejoice! Considering only 11 dog parks in Toronto offer a dedicated small dog park area, you’ll be happy to know that Sugarbush Heritage Dog Park offers a spacious small dog area for even the fastest and most energetic of pups to enjoy.

The small dog park area is about 0.14 acres in size whereas the larger dog park is about 0.35 acres in size. All size measurements are approximate since Google Maps doesn’t have a satellite image of the actual fences at the dog park – so the map I made is my best approximation of the size based on my visit!

❤️ Separate double-gated entrances.

Sugarbush Heritage Dog Park has two completely separate entrances for the large dog and small dog zone. It’s really nice to see that this dog park offers two separate entrances for the different zones instead of feeding all dogs through one shared entryway (looking at you Raymore Dog Park – with its small dog area far INSIDE the large dog area) – which can run the risk of triggering larger dog’s prey drives, and incite bigger fears in smaller dogs as they make their way into dog parks.

❤️ Medium-sized off-leash space.

Like dog parks outside of Toronto, this suburban dog park offers much more off-leash space. At <insert size of large dog area here>, there’s sufficient room for most dogs to really power up for a good chase in the off-leash zone. Compared to other suburban dog parks I’ve visited – I’d categorize this as an average/medium-sized dog park. By Toronto standards though, this is a fairly large flat off-leash space similar in size to South Stanely Dog Park and G. Ross Lord Dog Park, but a tad smaller than Earl Bales Dog Park.

❤️ Fully fenced off-leash areas with extra tall metal fencing.

Pet owners with jumpy dogs – pay attention! At the time of writing, I’ve reviewed about 13 fenced or partially fenced dog parks, and this one offers really TALL and well-maintained metal fencing all around to the off-leash area. Most dog parks I’ve visited so far offer mid-height fencing or partially fenced options. The only other dog parks that offer fencing with this level of height are:

❤️ Poop bag dispensers are available.

Another rare feature that’s offered at this dog park! Like Jack Darling Dog Park in Mississauga (can you tell it’s one of our favourite parks so far?), and Harmony Valley Dog Park in Oshawa, Sugarbush Heritage Park also offers poop bags at the park! For introverted dog owners, higher anxiety dog owners, or for days where you don’t want to socialize, but also happen to run out of poop bags – this can be a great boon. I’d recommend bringing along extras though in case the dispensers run out and aren’t refilled on the day you visit. However, it’s always really nice when the community offers this little amenity for those emergency / ran-out-of-poop-bag days!

Poop bag dispenser with poop bags in the large dog off-leash area of Sugarbush Heritage Park

❤️ Garbage and green bins by the dog park entrance.

Right by the entrance, you’ll find green, black, and blue bins for all your needs. In the few times that I’ve visited this park, the bins are always well maintained and never overflowing.

❤️ On-leash shaded forested trails through a massive 76-acre sugar bush.

With two main loops totalling 2.9 km within the woodlot, Baker’s Wood is one of the only remaining forests of its size in the City of Vaughan. The woodlot is a joy to walk through all seasons. With more than 85 maple trees that are all over 100 years old – with some as old as 250 years old, Baker’s Woods is a beautifully maintained woodlot for folks who don’t mind walking on unpaved trails.

Sunlight peeking through the bare winter trunks in Baker Woods located beside Sugarbush Heritage Park. The forest has 76 acres of forest to enjoy.

❤️ Two free parking lots capable of accommodating up to 38 cars.

❤️ There are washrooms in the park.

Public bathrooms are available nearby at the historic Baker’s House. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out their summer hours but for the past few weekday winter visits, they’ve been closed to the public. If I can find more details about the hours – I’ll be sure to update this post with the new information!

Concerned looking red and white pembroke welsh corgi with ears pulled back is standing beside a partially hidden beagle on a winter trail in Baker's Wood

Missing Features You Should Know Before Visiting Sherwood Park

One entryway/exit.

Got a curious dog that likes to follow other owners and their pets home? This dog park might be a bit trickier to navigate as the park offers only one entrance/exit into the designated off-leash area.

Fairly busy suburban dog park (large dog area).

If you’re looking to have the space to yourself, even during weekday hours, you might want to check other suburban dog parks. This is a fairly popular dog park from 7 AM – 12 PM with plenty of commercial dog walkers and neighbouring dog owners visiting the park. You’ll often find at least 6 dogs roaming the large off-leash area. The small dog area has been consistently empty on my visits.

No shade.

This is most important if you’re planning on visiting this park in the summer. While Sugbarush Heritage Park offers a veranda and a shaded forest trail walk, off-leash visitors should not that the dog park is completely unshaded. Make sure to watch your dog or visit during off-peak sunlight hours in the summer to prevent your dog from overheating. Check out my post: “How hot is too hot?” to learn more about when it might be too hot for your dog to play in the sun.

Picnic tables located in the large off-leash area of Sugarbush Heritage Park. There is no shade available in the dog park.
Vast open space with no shade

Running water is unavailable.

There are no nearby water fountains if you’re looking for clean potable water. Be sure to pack plenty of potable water when visiting the park with your dog.

No artificial lighting.

There are no street lights at night within the park so this park is best used during the day.

If you need extra lighting, be sure to check out my reviews of dog parks with artificial lighting!

Noise.

Being close to the busy Highway 7 offers both benefits and disadvantages. Its proximity to the highway does mean that it’ll get noisy while you’re spending time in the off-leash space and that traffic noises will break through the serenity of traversing the forested trails too.

Sugarbush Heritage dog park visitors - two owners and two dogs in the large off-leash dog area.

Review of Sugarbush Heritage Park Dog Park

I stumbled upon sugarbush heritage park dog park when a friend asked me out for a walking date and took me to the forest trails during the winter. When we rounded the corner to the parking lot, my eyes immediately fell on the large off-leash space and I thought to myself “I NEED to come back here with Limone – she’ll love this space!”

Then upon walking into the forest trail, I thought “okay – now I really have to take her here – the forest is such a nice place to go for a walk!” Honestly, what a beautiful sugar bush trail.

Considering how the 2.9 KM loop was easily finished in 45 minutes, Sugarbush Heritage Park is a great place to take your pup if you’re a weekend warrior looking to explore a new space with your dog without committing more than a few hours of your weekend out. 

One important note – the forest trail requires dogs to be leashed while traversing the trail. Baker’s Woods has two entrances, on the east and west sides of the forest respectively. During my visits to this park (with and without Limone), I noticed that at least one dog walker opted to walk with their dogs off-leash in the forest. 

I haven’t witnessed or experienced any negative incidents with off-leash dogs in the woods – but from my limited personal experience, I noticed that the few off-leash dogs we interacted with didn’t have a lot of recall. People visiting Baker Woods with reactive dogs may want to take note of this.

off-leash dog encountered at Baker Woods

Furthermore, the forest trail does not have garbage bins located throughout the trail – meaning you’ll need to walk back to the entrance to dispose of your dog poop and any other garbage you may have on hand. During my visit, I didn’t see too many piles of dog poop around the trail or forgotten poop bags, but I can imagine this being a potential issue during the warmer seasons. 

Personally – I’d still highly recommend everyone planning to visit this park keep their dogs on a leash in an effort to ensure that all visitors can enjoy the woods. It’s really such a beautiful space, and during the spring/summer, the woods offer habitat spaces for regional flora and fauna that are often best left undisturbed by people and dogs traversing off the path.  

With two pups in tow, our walk through the woods took just over an hour to complete – so allot some extra time if you own dogs that particularly love sniffing out new scents. 

Okay going back to the dog park part of Sugarbush Heritage Park – with lots of space in the off-leash area for dogs who like to RUN to really get a good stretch, and a gorgeous forest trail, that’s just tucked away from Highway 7, this dog park is one of the easier and more highway-accessible dog parks I’ve visited. 

If you moved into the area recently,  you’ll be happy to know that there is a pretty active community of dog owners at this park. While I don’t live in the town myself, I connected with a few of the dog owners in the space and learned that there are quite a few Whatsapp communities and groups you could join if you’re looking for some company or extra play dates. 

Sugarbush Heritage Dog Park is a commercial dog walker-friendly space meaning that during the weekdays you’ll find a regular rotation of dog walkers visiting this space to enjoy the large off-leash area.

I’ve managed to visit this park several times during the weekday and have consistently seen commercial dog walks making the rounds as early as 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM. 

Considering the size of this space – there’s still plenty of space for at least 20 dogs or so to visit the large off-leash area while still having enough personal space and running room. Having said that I’ve only seen up to 12 dogs in the space at once. So while I’d still categorize Sugarbush Heritage dog park as an active/busy dog park, it’s certainly a far cry from being an overcrowded dog park. 

from left - Limone a red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi is running towards the camera. Behind and slightly to the right is a golden retriever looking at Limone. Rightmost is Chu, a lemon white beagle facing the golden retriever. Image taken at Sugarbush Heritage dog park's large off-leash area.

Overall – Sugarbush Heritage Park is a dog park that’s not just great for the local community, but also a great visit for people out of town who are looking to spend a few hours bonding with their dogs on the weekend. The park offers a gorgeous forest trail and a large dog park space, and it’s a park that is easily accessible by highway. While the park is an active space and can get noisy at times because of its proximity to the highway, Sugarbush Heritage park is overall a well-rounded, well-maintained dog park worth visiting for a short weekend jaunt.

Seasonal Details

When I write my dog park reviews, I try to include seasonal details – even if I’ve only visited the dog park location a few times. I refer to Google Reviews for some additional seasonal information if I’ve only visited a few times to fill out the other seasonal information as much as possible.

If you have any tips or additional comments, feel free to send me an email, message me on Twitter, or slide me a DM on Instagram!

Here are some key points to note depending on which season you are visiting this dog park.

Spring – Spring is a great time to enjoy the off-leash dog park. Your pup will enjoy the weather and the open space in the off-leash space without overheating. Do expect to find several shallow mud puddles though – like most open dog park spaces made of grass/dirt, the ground can easily become churned up by running dogs into mud puddles.

Summer – Fantastic park to visit during the summer – especially in the early mornings or evenings and you’re planning to add a short walk through Baker’s Woods too. The park is pretty popular around these hours though because there’s so little shade offered in the off-leash space during the hotter hours. Strongly recommend packing your own water for yourself and your pup while visiting this park at all hours during the summer months.  

Fall – Fall is a gorgeous time to visit thanks to the dense woods and the fall colours. Even if you don’t walk through the well-established sugar bush and choose to spend time in the off-leash space instead, the forests are close enough to the park that you’ll be able to enjoy the fall colours from a distance. However, many visitors highly recommend spending some time traversing through the woods too if you visit in the fall. 

Winter – As someone with a cold-loving pup – I love visiting the park and spending a couple of hours here at the off-leash park and walking through the forest too. Winter walks through dense forests like Baker Woods at Sugarbush Heritage Park offer a quiet, contemplative walk during the late afternoon – a time when it’s normally crowded during the other seasons. However, because of the uneven terrain, and the lack of winter maintenance, the trail can occasionally become slippery – so be careful if you plan on walking through the trails.

Tip: Practice Dog Safety! When the weather gets colder – limit how long your dog can stay outdoors and refer to our handy How Cold is Too Cold to Walk Your Dog reference sheet!

What Other Reviewers Are Saying

With over 734+ reviews and an average 4.6 out of 5 stars rating, Sherwood Dog Park is a strongly positive experience for almost every single visitor. Here are the recurring positive comments:

  • Dense and beautiful forest
  • Great trail and off-leash park
  • Easy walk with a decent distance
  • Amazing location

In terms of negative or low-rated reviews, this is what most dissatisfied reviewers have to say:

  • Too many unleashed dog walkers on the trails
  • Too crowded
  • Too many highway noises
Limone (left), a red and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi is hanging out in a separated car hammock with Chu (right), a lemon white beagle after several hours visiting Sugarbush Heritage Park. They both look tired and satisfied with their adventure.
Tired dogs are satisfied dogs.

Sherwood Dog Park Summary

Overall, Sugarbush Heritage Park Dog Park is a wonderful choice for city dwellers looking for a park with scenic on-leash walks paired with nearby off-leash space. 

Sugarbush Heritage Park’s dog park is one of the few dog parks that offers a spacious designated small dog area and a substantially large general off-leash area. Thanks to it’s location off Highway 7, this dog park is easily accessible to out-of-city visitors too. 

Sugarbush Heritage Park is a great choice for weekend warriors who not only wants to:

  • Let their dogs have some off-leash running time in a spacious designated off-leash space
  • And enjoy a scenic walk nearby
  • Have specific weekend time constraints and are looking for a short adventure

This dog park is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a quick adventure escape to try with your pup outside of the regular Toronto city limits.

Nearby Pet-Friendly Activities

Are you looking for other pet-friendly activities to do nearby Sugarbush Heritage Park dog park? 

Oops – unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any pet-friendly activities nearby – if you have any suggestions or live in the area, be sure to let me know and I’d love to add some to this section.

Note: Vaughan Mills is normally listed as a dog-friendly mall in the area, however, I checked their pet policy recently and discovered that the mall no longer allows pets other than documented service and support animals within the shopping centre. 

Similar Dog Parks

Are you looking for a similar dog park to Sugarbush Heritage Park? Here are a few of our recommendations!

Dogsview Park | Downsview Park - Longhaired Dalmation in min-pivot chasing Limone the corgi from SYDE Road atop a mini mound at Dogsview Park.

Dogsview Park / Downsview Park – If you’re looking for a dog park with similar features, then Downsview Park is your best bet. Fenced dog park, a dedicated small dog area, a great forest trail walk within the park and free parking too. The fences are a little lower though – so owners of high-jumping dogs should be aware of this key difference. If you haven’t had a chance to visit this park yet with your pup as it is another great weekend visit too.

Have you visited Sugarbush Heritage Park in Thornhill / Vaughan? Let us know what you think of the park in the comments below!

What We Always Bring With Us to Dog Parks

What’s on Limone:

Depending on the situation we rotate Limone through various harnesses and collars:

Similarly, we rotate Limone’s leash based on our needs. These are the three leashes we use regularly:

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