ORTA(Oak Ridges Trail Association) is a volunteer based charitable hiking organization with a mandate to build and maintain a public hiking trail system on the Oak Ridges Moraine, off-road where possible. The Oak Ridges Moraine stretches for over 260 kilometres across the most populated area of Ontario. It is the source of 65 major streams or rivers and provides clean, safe drinking water to over a quarter of a million people living on the Moraine. The Moraine forest, wetlands and open meadow are vital in maintaining a healthy ecosystem for Toronto and the GTA. It also provides beautiful space for recreational use.
ORTA is a non-profit organization that was initiated in 1991 by a group of volunteers. They gathered through the co-operation of STORM (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine), the Metro Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Hike Ontario and developed the idea of a system of public recreational trails along the full length of the Moraine, from Albion Hills in the west, to the Northumberland Forest in the East. They then formed The Oak Ridges Trail Steering Committee and following a series of meetings, the Oak Ridges Trail Association (ORTA) was officially inaugurated at a public meeting held at Albion Hills in May 1992.
The main objective of the Association is to develop and secure the Oak Ridges Trail, "....thereby promoting an appreciation and respect for the Moraine's ecological, cultural and scenic integrity, with the aim of retaining a trail corridor in its natural state." - Oak Ridges Trail Guidebook 1997
Efforts to establish a trail along the Oak Ridges Moraine first began in 1973. At present about 275 km of main trail, plus various side trails, have been completed. The trail starts in the west at a junction with the Bruce Trail, southeast of Mono Mills (Hwy #9 & Airport Road), and extends eastward through Peel, York, and Durham Regions and Northumberland County before splitting to two gateways at Castleton and Warkworth. ORTA is governed by a Board of Directors who have responsibilities for managing the various aspects of the organization. Directors on the Board are elected at an Annual General Meeting. Our Mission Statement is "To build and maintain a public hiking trail system on the Oak Ridges moraine, off-road where possible, and To organize and promote hiking"
Although there are 2 official starting points on the east end of the trail. I chose Warkworth as the official east start/end point for the FKT. It adds more length to the trail than Castleton. The official start/end point on the west end is where the trail officially connects with the Bruce Trail in Glen Haffy Conservation Area. This trail has a bit of everything. Single track, double track, steep hills, flat sections, long straight sections, non maintained roads, paved roads etc. The trail goes from feeling like in the middle of nowhere, to crossing the 404 and 400 highways. Near these highways you'll see some massive mansions and properties. It's definitely a unique trail experience.