Trail Etiquette and COVID-19 - The Novel Corona Virus
For the foreseeable future the Covid-19 virus has changed everything about you and the outdoors.
The personal and public protocol required by emergency orders, and enforced through By-Law, is to stop the spread of the virus.
To do this best:
1. Stay home.
2. If you have been exposed or have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 quarantine yourself for 14 days. Quarantine Information
3. Self-isolation controls the spread. Self-Isolation Information
4. Social distancing is a way to be in public while limiting the chance of transmission. Social Distancing Information
5. Essential trips only.
6. No unnecessary travel.
7. TRAILS – some public spaces are open, while on the trail maintain your distance, no group interaction. Single person/family/ or single-file activity only.
8. Vacancy – many public spaces may be closed, have a trail and yet look open. They may not be. They are just empty. Do not use closed empty spaces.
9. Passing - step as far to the side as possible, note - many trails are too narrow to maintain a 2-metre distance side by side. If you cannot do this along the length of the trail don’t use the trail.
10. Trail Maps - not all trails have signs or maps showing pinch points where the trail narrows to less than 2 meters. Find out about the trail before you use the trail.
11. Trails not otherwise closed are open for “walkable access”. Being open does not mean trail use is encouraged. See 1-6. It means you are not restricted from using the trail for "walkable access."
12. Other Uses -
a. Regular Trail Users you know your trail and trail areas best. Perhaps in your area you are more able to maintain your trail use. Please follow steps 1-6, if you do go out do not gather at trailheads, avoid contact with others.
b. Irregular Trail Users - if you are unfamiliar with the trail and the trail area seek out a knowledgeable expert before going out. If one cannot be found because trail supports, the administration or management office is closed - stay home.
13. Your Health and the Health of others is now Your responsibility. Please do your part to reduce the spread of the Novel Corona Virus to 0 transmissions.
14. Rules on use of crown land. https://www.ontario.ca/page/recreational-activities-on-crown-land#section-1
15. Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters guide on open and closed spaces and OFAH users.
As parks and public spaces close, remaining open trails are going to be used more. Concentrated use may be a problem. BE AWARE.
Remember when on the trail, expect and respect other users! A healthy trail attitude includes safety, respect, and relaxation.
Wear a Mask - York University Professor Recommends
Regarding Trails - March 30, 2020 - May 11, 2020
Emergency Order Extended - non-essential trips, including ON trails- restricted. - Extended to May 6, 2020
Consider your trail closed. Consider your outside exercise severly limited towards 0.
Consider the trails on this website closed, unless otherwise noted. Even then use the trail pags to contact the local trail manager before heading out.
EMERGENCY ORDER = Government of Ontario. Many other regional or municipal governments have also passed their own emergency order.
"Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives. We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings."
This new order would close all communal or shared, public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities. Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren't otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others. Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed." Premier Doug Ford - March 30, 2020
In General - the outdoors offer fresh air and exercise. Playgrounds are closed.
Trails, exterior paths of travel, sidewalks and roads are open for pass through traffic (not sport) for individual use where users practice social distancing. Individuals must remain 2 meters apart, on the trail and at trailheads.
The City of Orangeville writes "During the COVID-19 period of social distancing, when people are encouraged to stay home, town officials repeat essential outings do not include trips to the skate park or playground..Parks and trails remain open for walkers based on maintaining “social distancing.” Orangeville police will be conducting extra patrols of these areas."
Most, if not all, activity organizers have cancelled group activity, group hikes for example.
Most trail sites like parks and nature centres have closed administration, education and recreation centres and buildings.
"CAUTION - Trails in Ontario are not set up for self control, or managed control when left open for access. You are using them at your own risk."
What is Social Distancing?
Soocial Distancing in the Outdoors
Spaces Open for Walkthrough Access
Ontario Parks - for hiking, biking and walking only. Starting May 11 through 15. Social distancing is a must. No camping, no playgrounds, beaches or washorooms. Day use Only. Bring your own water, ppe, sanitizer and food. Trail etiquette must be followed. Be respectful of park staff, at the park they are your essential workers.
Hamilton Conservation Areas - rail trails only.
Bruce Trail - phased re-openings only
City of Quinte West Parks and Trails - certain conditions apply to park equipment
1. Lynn Valley Rail Trail (Simcoe to Port Dover)
2. Waterford Heritage Rail Trail (Simcoe to Waterford)
3. Delhi Sunset Rail Trail (Simcoe to Delhi)
4. Turkey Point Provincial Park and St. Williams Conservation Reserve properties on Friday, May 15th.
Nottawasaga Valley Conservation - opening May 15th.
City of Guelph - walkthrough access only.
Niagara Parks - walkthrough access only.
City of Hamilton - walkthough access only.
City of Belleville Trails - with policing for social distancing violations
City of Richmond Hill - walkthrough access only.
York Regional Forest - stricter rules in effect April 18, 2020.
Waterloo Region - open for walking through with social distancing.
City of Waterloo - walkable access, no cars or parking at Waterloo Park
City of Cambridge Trails - walkthough access
RARE Trails - walkthrough access
City of Kitchener - walkthrough access, no driving between neighborhoods, Huron Natural Area closed, as is trailhead.
Simcoe County Forest - May 13, 2020
Kawartha ATV Association Trails - Opening May 12, 2020
Ontario OFATV Trails - Open or Opening
TVCEO- Open date May 16
Baxter Severn- Open
Central Ontario ATV- Open May 13
Johnstown ATV- Open May 16
Nation Valley ATV-Open May 16
Northumberland ATV- OPEN
Renfrew County ATV- OPEN
Verona District ATV-OPEN
Ottawa Valley ATV club- OPEN
Coe Hill ATV Club- OPEN
Dufferin County Forest - Opening May 19th
West Grey ATV club- Opening May 16th
Rideau Lakes ATV club- Opening May 15th
Voyageur Multi Use Trails- Opening May 23rd
Ganaraska Forest - for hiking May 22nd
Ganaraska Forest - for motorized May 29th
Ganaraska Forest - all uses June 2.
Ontario OFATV Trails - Currently Closed
Bruce Trail - sections not open
Dufferin Grey ATV- CLOSED
Essex County ATV- CLOSED
Great Lakes ATV- CLOSED
Mid-Ontario ATV- CLOSED
Norfolk County ATV -Closed
Thousand Islands ATV Club- CLOSED
Norfolk County Trails - select trails
Ganaraska Forest - lands remain closed
Parks Canada - order of closure extended to May 31, 2020
Dufferin Grey ATV Trails
Bruce Trail - Tobermory Section
Hamilton Conservation Areas - all non rail trails remain closed
1. Devils Punchbowl - closed
2. Tiffany Falls - closed
3. Tew Falls - closed
4. Webster Falls - closed
5. Dundas Peak - closed
Turkey Point Mountain Bike Trails - select woodlots
City of Toronto Parks and Trails
City of Ottawa Parks - fines levied
National Capital Commission Trails - no vehicle access
City of Belleville Parks and Open Spaces - fines levied
Sault Ste. Marie - some conservation areas
Information and Articles
BlogTO - recommended use areas
North Bay Mattawa Conservation - the trails, you and your dog.
Ontario Emergency Order
Wondering about the current conditions of your favourite Ontario Trail? Open, closed, flooded out, end of season - we've compiled links to reports and updates.
It can be frustrating to head out to your trail, all loaded up to find the park is closed, the trail is underwater or its hunting season and the trail has been given over. These links should help you get connected to those that know, or in some cases - real time information.
Don't have a source you know? - send it to us! We'd be happy to add it.
For direct daily weather be sure to use Ontario Trails 'Find a Trail" to see reports on the local trail and current weather.
Alerts in Ontario Parks - from Ontario Parks, reporting on a wide range of impacts from water conditions, to fires, to open or closed.
Anglers and Hunters - places to fish and reported routes, a guide to access MNRF information by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
ATV Trail Conditions - a link to trails that are open to you with an OFATV Trail Pass. Seasonal Closures - this link will report seasonally.
Blue Mountain Resort - reports on a variety of activites, hiking, skiing, mountain biking and more.
Climbing Trails - a link to reporting by the Ontario Alliance of Climbers as to which trails are open or closed.
Crown Land Atlas - this link shows Government of Ontario information on land use for trails.
Cycling Road Conditions - as bikes are allowed on roads we refer you to the reporting of the Weather Network.
Dirt Bike Trails that are reported open for use by Ontario Federation of Trail Riders . Seasonal Closures - this link will report seasonally.
Land Information Ontario - Trail Asset Map.
Ontario Mountain Bike Trail Conditions - as reported by TrailForks.
Ontario Mountain Bike Trail Conditions as reported by Ontario Mountain Bike Conditions Facebook Group.
OFATV Trail Map - for ATV'ers to know what ATV trails are open and closed in Ontario.
Snowmobile Trails - OFSC Snowmobile Trail Conditions
Ski Report from Ontario Parks