Photo credit: Irena Marinko, 2021

As winter hiking has become more popular over the past several years, hikers should be aware of some specific safety concerns prior to heading out on wintry trails. First and foremost, the Bruce Trail does not maintain trails over the winter. Deep snow, ice and snow-covered crevices are some of the dangers to be aware of when hiking.

Snow covered trails can cover can be difficult to follow and blazes can become obscured by snow. White blazes can be difficult to spot in winter and they get lower on the trees with each additional snowfall! Hikers can encounter everything from deep drifts and icy slopes to muddy and wet sections after a thaw. Depending on the amount of snow, snowshoes or icers/crampons will make hiking easier and lessen the risk of injury. Hiking poles can help to prevent falls and are handy in any season.

While hiking times can be increased when navigating though the winter landscape, the amount of daylight hours are reduced. Choose shorter walks and use conservative estimates for hiking times. Prior to heading out, check the local forecast and visit the Bruce Trail for Trail Closures and Updates.

In rural areas like the Beaver Valley, GPS directions may continue to direct motorists onto roads that are closed over the winter. Watch for signs indicating an unmaintained road and avoid roads too narrow for two lanes of traffic.

The presence of snowbanks on roadsides makes parking safely trickier during the winter. Take care not to impede traffic when parking on roadsides. Do not block entrances to private properties. If using one of the BTC parking lots, do not exceed maximum capacity or block other parked vehicles. Plan for an alternate hike if a chosen location is busy.

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