This page is a summary of a Winter Trail Etiquette article published by Ontario Parks. You can view the whole article by visiting the Parks Blog.
Our main Trails page has information about conditions, downloadable maps, a description of the trails, and relevant links.
Ontario Parks offers 5 tips for using and sharing the trail network during the winter season. Good trail etiquette helps keep trails in good condition, helps keeps skiers and snowshoers safe, and allows all users to enjoy Ontario Parks and the great outdoors.
5 Tips for Sharing Winter Trails
- Read the signs:
Take a moment at the trailhead before heading off to orient yourself and familiarize yourself with the rules and the trails. Take a photo of the trail map or pick up a brochure to avoid getting lost.
- Don’t hike or snowshoe on groomed trails:
TVCCSC volunteers spend many hours grooming the ski trails for skiers. There are two types of groomed trails. There are the traditional track-set trails: two parallel grooves for classic skiers. There are also wide flat corduroy trails for skate skiers. These look inviting to walkers but walking on them can quickly damage them and make them unsafe for skate skiers. Always walk to the side of groomed trails.
- Don’t hike or snowshoe on ski tracks:
As in point #2, grooved track-set trails are easily damaged by walkers or snowshoers causing unsafe conditions for the intended user, classic cross-country skiers. Always walk to the side of groomed trails. If you must cross a ski trail, avoid stepping on the grooved tracks.
- Share the trail:
Faster skiers have the right of way. Slower skiers are expected to step out of the tracks if on track-set trails and off to the side on skate ski trails. Uphill skiers should give way to downhill skiers. If a faster skier behind you yells “track!”, they are asking you to yield the right of way and to step to the side.
- Stay safe…be prepared:
Always check trail conditions before heading out. Check the weather, too. Don’t cross bodies of water. Travelling with a buddy is a good idea. If heading out alone, tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back home. Pack water and some snacks. Packing a small backpack with an extra sweater, toque, and mitts, is a good idea in case of emergency. A sweaty hat will get cold very fast, if you need to stop for any length of time.