There’s nothing better than hitting the trails on a beautiful summer day.
It’s important to be prepared for anything, especially if you’re new to hiking in Ontario parks or any other nature trails.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Taste of Nature to create these key tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip:
Use the right equipment
The first step to a successful hike is to dress appropriately. Check the weather forecast before you leave, but be prepared for anything! Temperatures and weather can change quickly.
If you’re hiking in the middle of summer, dress in sweat-wicking clothing. They’ll keep you nice and dry when you inevitably sweat. Leave the jeans and cotton t-shirt at home or you could become a human puddle!
Good hiking boots can make or break your hiking experience. Make the investment and buy a pair that provides you with comfort and support.
Boots with a good sole will give you better movement on uneven terrain. Speaking of rest, break in your boots BEFORE you leave. If you don’t, you may experience some serious discomfort while on the road.
Complete your hiking look with a hat.
Both baseball caps and full brim hats do the job: protecting your scalp, shading your face, and keeping you cool.
bring a backpack
If you are going on a shorter hike, a smaller backpack will work for you.
For longer trips, a larger backpack with an integrated frame will protect your back and shoulders.
Fill your backpack with plenty of food and water. Hydration is key, especially on hotter days. Trail mix is a great option for the trail. It’s rich in nutrients and you don’t have to worry about it going bad!
Carry sweat-resistant sunscreen, a first aid kit, and some extra clothing, but remember to keep it lightweight. You’ll carry these items throughout your trip!
Get to know the area and trails.
Visit the park’s website. Under the “Activities” tab, each trail will have a difficulty rating and a brief description of what to expect. Consider the ability of your entire group when choosing a trail.
Still have questions? Talk to the staff when you arrive. They will have a good idea of the condition of the trail and the plants and animals you may find.
If you’re in bear country, whistle as you walk. Bears are more afraid of you than you are of them and will stay away if they hear you approaching.
Aren’t you much of a whistler? A bear bell will help announce your presence as you walk.
If there are ticks in the area, do a complete tick check once you get home, paying special attention to areas such as the groin, belly button, armpits and scalp, and behind the ears and knees.
Never walk at night!
Even the most experienced hikers can turn around in the dark.
Trail markers are not always easily seen and maps are more difficult to navigate at night. Dark paths can cause tripping and possible injuries.
Plan to leave the trail before the sun sets.
If you’re doing it near sunset, bring a headlamp or flashlight for emergencies and make sure your phone is fully charged.
Ontario Parks thanks its corporate partners like Taste of Nature for their support.