1. Food & Water
  2. Dress for the Weather
  3. Boots, Socks, Traction & Balance
  4. Backpacks
  5. Walk with Friends & Stick to Your Plan
  6. Pacing & Breaks
  7. Stay Cool, Beat the Heat
  8. Be Prepared, Safe & Smart
  9. Tick Check
  10. The 10 Essentials

1) Food & Water

Hydration helps keep your energy levels up. Bring extra snacks and water with you. Keep at least 1 litre of water with you and don't skimp on drinking it. Double this amount in summer. Note there is currently no running water available in the park and there are no places to purchase food.

2) Dress for the Weather

Layering helps manage your body’s temperature on the trails. Use this 3-layer system for a comfortable and dry outing. Avoid cotton, even jeans, since it absorbs moisture (sweat, rain) and will weigh you down. It is always better to have more layers than not enough, keep in mind it is easier to take off layers and throw them in a backpack than create layers you don’t have.

  • Base/Wicking Layer: This layer against your skin, top and bottom, helps wick away sweat. This should be all you need in summer, but don’t be too underdressed and watch out for too much sun exposure.
  • Mid/Insulated Layer: This layer, usually a fleece or thermal top/bottom, helps retain body heat and wick away sweat.
  • Outer/Waterproof Layer: This layer protects you from rain and moisture. Windbreakers and waterproof jackets/pants work best. But avoid ‘rain gear’ as it’s not designed fsor breathability.

3) Boots, Socks and Balance

Wear closed-toe boots/shoes with a good tread. Hiking boots are best, but trail shoes are also suitable for dry trails in summer. Look for footwear that is ideally waterproof with strong ankle support and a solid sole that doesn’t bend easily. Athletic socks with cushioning and wicking materials will help ward off blisters. Again, stay away from too much cotton. Make sure socks are also higher than the top of your boot. Be sure to try out your boots and socks before your hike. If you have any mobility concerns or unsure of your footing, hiking poles are a great thing to consider when out on the trail. It provides extra balance and stability.

4) Backpacks

A good backpack can be a big help on the trails. Smart packing is key – not too heavy, well organized. Use a pack that is a bit bigger than what you think you’ll need, for extra clothing, snacks and other essentials. Your pack should fit from just above the hips to the top of your shoulder blades and be snug against your back. It should feel as though it's part of you.

5) Walk with Friends & Stick to Your Plan

Hike with a partner or in a group and keep them in sight at all times. Always, and at least, carry your cell phone, ID, water, snacks and an extra layer of clothing. If you plan on hiking solo, 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. Plan your walk to finish at least 30 minutes before sunset to finish with light.

6) Pacing & Breaks

Sweating is a natural way to keep cool but you don't want to exhaust or dehydrate yourself. Especially in the warm, humid summer months! Ease into your hike and keep a comfortable pace. Make your breaks many and short. In spring/summer, frequent stops will help to keep you hydrated. Pack a small pillow or piece of foam for when you sit for longer breaks.

7) Stay Cool, Beat the Heat

Staying hydrated keeps you cool on the trails in spring/summer. Fill up your water bottle, drop in a few ice cubes, or toss it in the freezer until you’re ready to go. Heat exhaustion symptoms include dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, nausea and vomiting. If symptoms appear, get out of the sun, lie down in a cool place, drink lots of fluids, sponge down with cool water and have someone keep an eye on you. When you get back home, continue to drink plenty of water.

8) Be Prepared, Safe & Smart

Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Be aware when crossing roads in the park, as visibility is often limited. Check the forecast for the day of your hike and be prepared for all types of weather conditions. Do not approach or feed wildlife. Be aware there is poison ivy in the park. Stay on the trail and keep your dog on leash to avoid contacting it. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.

9) Tick Check

Ticks do live in the Rouge Valley and some may carry Lyme disease. Do a full body check for ticks after your hike and stay on trails to avoid bushes and long grass where ticks are often found. Here are some tips for being Tick Smart in the Rouge.

10) The 10 Essentials

Carry these 10 essential items with you on your hike. These items can easily fit into a small bag/backpack:

  1. Flashlight
  2. Signalling device (whistle/mirror)
  3. Extra clothing
  4. First aid kit
  5. Pocket knife
  6. Fire starter (matches/lighter)
  7. Extra food/water
  8. Compass/map
  9. Emergency shelter
  10. Sun protection (for all seasons)