Ticks do live in the Rouge Valley, and some can carry Lyme disease. Here's what you need to know to be tick aware and stay safe while enjoying the park.
Erosion is a natural process where water, wind and other pressures have an impact on the ground, often changing the landscape. You can see it in our river valleys, and the way the trails wear away underfoot. In the spring, as all the snow melts and the ground is thawing, be careful of your footing, especially along the river’s edge. It’s not uncommon for the riverbanks to change, with undercut edges falling into the river below.
Looks like a gorgeous day for a hike, but just as we bundle up for the winter, we must prepare for the hot days too. Most importantly, bring water. We don’t have fresh drinking water available in the park, so please remember to pack some along. A hat, sunscreen and some quality time in the shade are also important things to remember. Be aware of the signs of sun stroke and heat exhaustion.
Wind Storm Damage
Once a storm has passed, it’s important to consider damage that may have been left behind. We’ll do our best to remove hazard trees and branches, and we’ll close unsafe areas, but be aware of anything that may be dangling from above.
Come out and see Rouge Park in its winter white! Winter in the Park will awaken your senses to its sights and sounds. The Little Rouge Creek gurgles under glossy ice cover, breaking through here and there as the sun warms the valley. Evergreen boughs on the Cedar Trail are laden with snow, and bare branches glitter on the Vista Trail with the crystalline sparkle of hoar frost.
While safety is paramount throughout the year, extra caution is needed throughout the winter months. Follow the tips below for a cozy winter walk and join us on the trail for a guided outing, and some snowy exploration.
Icy trails are a hazard in the park, we recommend sturdy footwear if you’re venturing out. You may find footwear traction devices that you attach to your boots to give you a little extra grip. However, if you know it’s going to be very icy, save your walk for another day.
Dressing for the weather
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 3-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.
Mid/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 2 mid layers.Outer/Waterproof Layer: The top layer keeps snow from getting into your other layers. Look for a wind/waterproof jacket and pants, plus, look for features like armpit zips, leg zips, 'Napoleon' pockets and adjustable hoods for more versatility. Avoid 'rain gear' as it's not designed for breathability. Gaiters help keep snow 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, Traction and Snowshoes
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. Stay even more trail-ready with boot-traction devices like Icers, Microspikes or Yaktrax, and snowshoes.
Finishing Touches Don't forget your sunglasses, sun and lip protection, a hat, mitts, snacks, water 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!
Use these tips to get ready for winter walking and hiking and you'll hit the trail for a great outing as soon as the snow flies!
- There is no drinking water available in the Park. Please ensure you carry enough water with you to stay properly hydrated.
- There is no winter maintenance on trails in Rouge National Urban Park.
- Many trails have steep sections and steps. Trail conditions vary with weather; icy or wet sections will be slippery and require extra caution. Know your limit.
- Wear protective clothing, including suitable footwear. People tolerate the cold differently. Plan ahead for your energy and cold tolerance to finish your hike safely.
- There are no amenities on trails or at trail heads.