As the leaves change colour and autumn begins to take shape, it’s a perfect time to embark on a healthy hike and take in all that mother nature has to offer.
Niagara Parks offers 15 kms of hiking footpaths through six different nature areas that are home to some of the rarest plants and animals in the country.
Here are some ideas from our Nature team that will make your next hike a safe and memorable one.
How should you prepare for your hiking adventure?
- Plan Ahead –know your destination, plan the trails you wish to take using our Trail Map and check the weather forecast to ensure good conditions for your day
- Be Kind to Yourself – know your abilities and choose an appropriate hike – hikers often report the trails to be harder than they expected
- Travel Light – carry a map, compass, whistle, small first aid kit, food (small snacks), water, sunscreen, bug spray
- Take breaks – based on your individual level of fitness make sure you are taking the amount of breaks you need to recover and maintain the energy required to complete the trail(s) you’ve chosen to hike
- Watch the time – plan on taking twice the amount of time coming back up as you did going down, and plan to be back before dark
- Suitable clothing and footwear – always wear athletic footwear that is durable and comfortable. You will be putting a lot of demands on your feet so hiking in flip flops or sandals is not advised. Consider the weather and season, bring a hat and jacket to protect you from the sun or changing temperatures
- Stay on marked trails – trails are marked for easy navigation, leaving the marked trails may cause confusion and get you lost
- Don’t hike alone – split up into small groups no larger than 6 people
The Niagara Glen Nature Centre is located a few hundred yards from the stairs that lead to the Niagara Glen and offers hikers a wide array of refreshments, equipment and unique souvenirs. While inside the Nature Centre hikers are encouraged to visit the new Nature Exchange, a free educational exhibit where visitors can learn about nature and the exciting features of the Glen while also trading for rocks, shells and fossils discovered and collected during their journey.
You just want to get out and explore but not sure where to go
Hikers of all levels should be well prepared for their trip and follow the tips listed above for a successful day. For those that feel more comfortable with the guidance of an expert, guided hiking tours of the Niagara Glen are available. A Niagara Parks Naturalist will teach you about the geology, plant and animal life that call this area home.
You’re a bit more extreme and want something more challenging
With challenging rock formations that are millions of years old, the Niagara Glen has evolved into a popular spot for Bouldering. Historically, bouldering was a means of training for longer climbing routes and mountaineering. Over the past 30 years, bouldering has evolved into a popular sport with appeal as a health-conscious physical form of human-powered recreation and fitness.
White Water Walk as an alternative to traditional hiking
If hiking up and down steep natural terrain isn’t quite your thing, or it’s just too physically challenging, that’s ok, there’s an excellent alternative at the White Water Walk. Travel by elevator down 70 meters (229 feet) to the base of the gorge. Step out from the exit tunnel and be immersed in the soothing roar of North America’s largest series of standing waves. Make your way down the impressive, quarter mile, self-guided boardwalk as you take in nature from all sides and enjoy an excellent view of the 410-million-year-old rock layers of the Niagara Gorge. The wooden pathway is wheelchair accessible, allowing those with disabilities to experience the incredible natural surroundings. For the best value, White Water Walk can be purchased as part of the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass.
Now grab your things and let’s go hiking!