Getting ready for a visit to Rouge National Urban Park? Here are some tips to help you get prepared:
Is this your first time in Rouge National Urban Park? Are you looking for new areas to explore? Check our Top 10 Virtual Hikes to take a look at the trails on Google Streetview. This is a great way to see if this is the type of hike you’re interested in, and to ensure the trail meets your accessibility needs.
- Consider visiting outside of peak times and check RougeNOW for parking availability before you come. When a parking lot is full, do not park illegally. Explore another part of the park!
- Parking lots in Rouge National Urban Park – including Rouge Beach, Twyn Rivers, Zoo Road / Gateway, Bob Hunter Memorial Park and Glen Rouge Campground / Mast Trail – will be closed and locked at 9 p.m. daily for community safety and security. Signage is clearly posted. Visitors are asked to remove their vehicles well in advance to avoid the inconvenience of being locked in the lot overnight. Lots will reopen between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. daily.
- Washroom facilities are currently available at Rouge Beach (until the end of October) as well as Black Walnut & 19th Ave day use areas (year-round). Portable toilets are available at Mast Trailhead (Glen Rouge Campground area), Twyn Rivers Parking area, Zoo Road Welcome Area, and Bob Hunter Memorial Park area.
- Familiarize yourself with your park route before you leave. There are no physical maps available to visitors at this time.
- Visit the Important bulletins section on our website to check for any area or road closures and pertinent information before you head out into the park.
- Check out the Visitor Safety section and the park rules on our website. This will help you prepare and avoid any surprises on your visit.
- Try to explore new parts of the park on your next visit! The northern areas of the Rouge offer entirely different landscapes and are often less busy, making for a very peaceful visit.
- Pack enough food and water for your trip. There are limited amenities in the park and food and water are not available on the trails or at trailheads, so you need to bring and carry everything you need for your day trip.
- Sunscreen, a hat and bug spray are important items to pack in the warmer months to protect yourself from the elements.
- A face mask and hand sanitizer are helpful items to bring to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and when physical distancing may not be possible.
- Some other good items to bring along are a flashlight, extra clothing, a first aid kit, a bag for your garbage, extra food and water. These items can easily fit into a backpack and can save the day if an incident does occur.
- Bringing your dog along? Pets are more than welcome in the Rouge, but they need to stay on leash at all times. This helps keep dogs on the trail so they don’t disturb wildlife and ecosystems, and also helps reduce their risk of picking up a tick. Be sure to bring lots of water for your pooch, and dog waste bags to help keep the trails and day use areas clean.
- During your visit, we ask that you take only photos and leave only footprints. Please be prepared to pack out all of your belongings, including garbage, with you when you leave to be properly disposed of. Garbage and recycling bins are available in all parking areas.
- Check the weather for the day of your trip. Dress for the weather but be prepared for all conditions. Wearing moisture wicking clothing and bringing layers is a good idea to help be prepared for any weather.
- Wear closed-toe shoes with a good tread such as hiking shoes, boots or running shoes.
- Ticks do live in Rouge National Urban Park and it is possible that some may carry Lyme Disease. Dressing appropriately greatly decreases your risk of a tick bite. We recommend long sleeve shirts that fit tightly around the wrist, and long-legged pants tucked into your socks or boots. It is also a good idea to wear light-coloured clothing to help you find any ticks more easily. Please visit our tick safety page for more information.
- Try alternative transportation options to get to the park: bike, carpool, transit or shuttles.
- Try visiting at alternative times like early morning! You might have a better chance of spotting wildlife and snapping the perfect sunrise photo.