Top 10 Winter and Fall hiking tips!
- Bring Food & Water
- Dress for the Weather
- Wear Proper Footwear
- Carry a Backpack
- Walk with Friends & Stick to Your Plan
- Pace yourself and take Breaks
- Stay Warm
- Stay Safe & Smart
- Do a Tick Check
- Other Items to Bring on Your Visit
It’s important to stay hydrated and energized on a hike to ensure an enjoyable walk on the trails or visit to the Park.
- Keep at least 1 litre of water with you and don't skimp on drinking it (double this amount in the summer)
- Bring nutritious snacks to help stay energized during your hike
Note: there is currently no running water available in the park, and there are no places to purchase food.
Wear layers of clothing, as listed below. Three layers will help to help to keep you dry and manage your body’s temperature.Try to avoid cotton, as it absorbs moisture (sweat, rain, snow) and may lead to feeling chilled.
- Base/Wicking Layer: This layer against your skin, top and bottom, helps wick away sweat.
- Mid/Insulated Layer: This layer, usually a fleece or thermal top/bottom, helps retain body heat and wick away sweat. If it's very cold, try two mid layers.
- Outer/Waterproof Layer: This layer protects you from rain and snow. Windbreakers and waterproof jackets/pants work best. Avoid ‘rain gear’ as it is not designed for breathability. Gaiters help keep snow from getting inside your boots.
Proper footwear provides support and stability while walking on uneven ground and helps to avoid slips and falls.
- Wear closed-toe boots or shoes with a good tread. Hiking boots are best for fall and winter hiking.
- Look for footwear that is ideally waterproof with strong ankle support and a solid sole that doesn’t bend easily.
- Consider boot-traction devices such as Microspikes, Yaktrax and snowshoes for Winter hikes.
- Try out your boots, socks and any traction devices before your hike. Consider athletic socks as well, to help ward off blisters
- Consider hiking poles if you are unsure of your footing for extra balance and stability.
Bring a backpack to carry essential items listed easily. Always include the following:
- personal identification
- cell phone
- extra layers of clothing in the fall and winter
- Hike with a partner or in a group and keep them in sight at all times.
- If you plan on hiking solo, always let someone know where you’re hiking, the name the trail and what time you expect to be back.
- Follow the park's marked paths and avoid heading off trail.
Winter Tip: Sun sets early in the winter and trails are not lit. Plan your walk to finish at least 30 minutes before sunset to finish with light.
- Keep a pace that keeps you warm, not hot, but also not breaking a sweat.
- Make your breaks many and short. In fall/winter, frequent stops will keep you hydrated and help ensure the heat you've created isn’t lost from stopping, wind, or sitting on a cold rock or log.
- Pack a small cushion or piece of foam to sit on. If you need to take a break, you will be able to maintain body heat while sitting on the ground or snow.
Winter Tip: Walking trails in the Rouge are maintenance free in winter. They’re not salted or cleared of ice and snow, so be prepared. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Hypothermia and frost bite result from being exposed to cold.
- Wear layers of clothing and cover as much skin as possible. Layered clothing allows you to regulate your temperature, as you can add or take off layers as needed
- Shivering, numbness or loss of circulation are signs of heat loss. If you experience this, consider calling it a day and get yourself somewhere warm.
During hikes, it is important to stay keep the following in mind:
- Check the forecast for the day of your hike and be prepared for all types of weather conditions.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
- Stay on the trail to protect sensitive habits and avoid contact with poison ivy, ticks and/or wildlife in the park.
- Do not approach or feed wildlife.Dog must be on leash to help them avoid poison ivy and ticks, to protect sensitive habitats and to limit interactions with wildlife
Winter Tip: The days are shorter, so be sure to complete your visit or hike long before darkness falls and take extra care at road crossings, as visibility may be limited.
Ticks are prevalent in Southern Ontario.
- Stay on trails to avoid bushes and long grass where ticks are often found.
- Be sure to do a full body check for ticks after your hike and
- Here are some tips for being Tick Smart in the Rouge.
Helpful items to bring on your hike:
- Signalling device (whistle/mirror)
- Extra clothing
- Extra food/water
- Sun protection (for all seasons)