Mountain biking is a great way to exercise and spend time surrounded by nature.
It can also have a big impact on the environment.
We know Ontario park trails are a favorite among mountain bikers, so we wanted to share some of our best practices for protecting the places you ride.
The key to protecting trails while biking is to follow the original path and avoid shortcuts. This means no shortcuts or detours.
If a trail is too difficult in its current state, try a different trail instead of creating a new one.
As fun as it may be to create your own trail, we ask that you don’t do it in a provincial park.
The trails you will find in our parks have been set aside and protected for current and future generations. Unauthorized trail construction can directly impact this by introducing invasive species and causing unnecessary erosion.
If you see a new trail in our parks, please let our staff know so we can prevent further damage.
Avoid a wash
Check the forecast before you ride to make sure you’re not heading into a muddy park.
Driving when trails are wet can cause unnecessary damage to the trail.
Not only is it dangerous for the park, it can be dangerous for you too, so stay safe and avoid wet trails.
Even when cycling in good weather, try to avoid cycling through standing water.
The puddles along the trail are home to many different species that the area needs.
Take your time and avoid the water, get off the bike and walk around it.
Better bike behavior
As with any other outdoor activity, be sure to respect the environment you are in. As always, follow the pack and take out rule and don’t leave anything on the way.
Keep your tires on the road to avoid disturbing the surrounding area. Be a steward of any trail you visit, whether local or not. This ensures that they can be used and enjoyed for many years.
Be sure to clean your bike before traveling to a new location to avoid transferring invasive species from one area to another.
Provincial park trails are not racetracks
Always be aware of other people on the trail.
All of our trails are considered multi-use, so where you head for an adrenaline-filled ride, someone else may visit for a leisurely hike.
Please be respectful of others while hiking our trails.
Go the extra mile by yielding to oncoming traffic. If you are on a descent, stop for anyone coming uphill toward you.
If they heard you coming and have already stepped aside to let you pass, let them know if they should expect any members of the group to still come up behind you.
Remember to keep the atmosphere positive by greeting with a smile!
Plan your trip
Before planning a ride, check if the destination park allows mountain biking.
Some parks do not allow mountain biking to preserve their trails. We recommend contacting the park directly or checking the park page on our website to see what is available.
Once you’ve found the right park for your next trip, you’ll need to know your route. Most parks have trail maps available on their website, making it easy to study potentially long trail networks that can be easy to get lost on.
Always let someone know where you are going and when you are expected to return.
Make sure you bring the proper tools and equipment for your trip in case of an emergency.
Every mountain biker should carry:
- Tire changers and an extra tube for flat tires.
- bike-specific tools with Allen wrenches
- lots of water and snacks
Dress for the weather and be prepared for whatever may arise during your wilderness tour.
Still have questions about mountain biking? You can always contact your local bike shop for more information. If you have any mountain biking questions related to provincial parks, please contact the park directly for more information.