Hiking tips

Rouge National Urban Park

General information

  • Bring nutritious snacks and at least one litre of water (two litres in the summer). There is currently no running water available in the park and there are no places to purchase food.
  • Stay on trail to protect sensitive habitats and avoid contact with poison ivy, ticks, and/or wildlife
  • Keep your dog on a leash to help them avoid poison ivy, ticks, and wildlife
  • Do a full body check for ticks after your hike
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife
  • 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 and what time you expect to be back
  • Plan your walk to finish at least 30 minutes before sunset to finish with light
  • Use caution at road crossings, as visibility is often limited
  • Check the forecast for the day of your hike and be prepared for all types of weather conditions
  • Ease into your hike and keep a comfortable pace. Take numerous short breaks.

The 10 essentials

Carry these 10 essential items on your hike to make sure you are prepared in case of an emergency. These items can easily fit into a small bag/backpack:

  1. Flashlight
  2. Signalling device (whistle/mirror)
  3. Extra clothing, including waterproof layers
  4. First aid kit
  5. Pocket knife or multi-tool
  6. Fire starter (matches/lighter)
  7. Extra food and water
  8. Navigation/communication aids (cell phone, map, compass)
  9. Emergency shelter (foil blanket)
  10. Sun protection (for all seasons)

Clothing and footwear

The key is to be dry and comfortable. Layering helps you manage your body heat as your outing progresses, so you can have just the right combination at any time. Put this three-layer system together for a warm and dry outing.

Base wicking layer

This is the layer against your skin, top and bottom, which will wick away your perspiration.

Middle insulated layer

The next layer is usually a polyester fleece or 'thermal' top and bottom to start retaining your body heat but still wick away sweat. If it's very cold, try two mid layers.

Waterproof outer layer

The top layer keeps snow and other moisture from getting into your other layers. When selecting a wind/waterproof jacket and pants, look for features like armpit zips, leg zips, 'Napoleon' pockets and adjustable hoods for more versatility. Gaiters help keep snow or mud from getting inside your boots. Above all, avoid cotton, even jeans. Cotton absorbs moisture (sweat, snow, rain), chilling your skin and making you work harder to keep warm. Keep the cotton for after your outing.

Boots, socks and traction

Wear suitable footwear, such as hiking boots or running shoes, to avoid injury on the trails. When you buy insulated boots, look for the 'active temperature rating'. This gives an idea of how warm your boots should keep your feet, based on how much you are moving. Always try boots with the socks you plan to wear on your outing, as well as any orthotics or inserts you normally use and give them a good try out in the store. Make sure boots are well above the ankle and waterproof. A blend of Merino wool with synthetic fibers is a popular choice for socks. Get even more trail-ready with boot-traction devices like anti-slip soles, ice and snow traction cleats, or even snowshoes.

Finishing touches

Don't forget your sunglasses, sun and lip protection, a hat, mitts, and maybe even a 'sit mat' of closed cell foam when you have a rest. These can go in a small backpack to keep your hands free. And of course, bring your camera to capture the Park's amazing winter scenery and show your friends what they missed!

Summer tips

  • Staying hydrated keeps you cool. Fill up your water bottle, drop in a few ice cubes, or toss it in the freezer until you’re ready to go
  • Be aware of the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion (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.
  • Apply insect repellent and wear protective clothing to avoid insect bites. Do a tick check after your visit

Winter tips

  • Trails are not salted or cleared of ice and snow in the winter. Traction devices such as ice cleats for your shoes can make your walk much safer in icy conditions.
  • When the days are shorter, be sure to complete your visit or hike long before darkness falls and take extra care at road crossings, as visibility may be limited
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bring a thermos of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate for a nice treat on a cold winter day


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