Hiking is a simple way to reconnect with nature and the Great Lakes region. There are a wide variety of environments in the area, from marshes to old-growth forests, from meadows to rocky outcrops. Many of the parks surrounding the lakes contain outlook spots that provide breathtaking views. Watch the Lake Superior waves crash against the rocks or view the spectacular fall foliage from high above in Algonquin park. There are seemingly endless trails winding their way through the region, ranging from easy to advanced. You can even hike along the renowned Waterfront Trail extending over 2,100 km from Lake Superior all the way around the remaining Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence River.

Benefits of hiking


There are so many mental and physical benefits to going for a hike. Hiking is...

Exercise - It is a great way to get outside and get active
Healthy - Hiking is great for your health. It helps to prevent osteoporosis and heart disease
Stress-free - It is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and improve your mood
Engaging - Hiking helps improve problem-solving and increase attention span and memory
Immersive - It is the perfect way to connect with nature
Free - Hiking is an affordable way to explore

What to bring hiking


Essentials:
• Paper maps (or for those of you afraid of old-fashioned maps, bring a satellite GPS)
• Sun protection (sunglasses, hats, sunscreen)
• Good sneakers or hiking boots
• First aid kit
• Lots of water
• Food (lots of energy bars and protein)

Optional:
• Flashlights (headlamps, handheld flashlights, lanterns)
• Extra clothes (synthetic or cotton fabrics in layers, waterproof jackets, and LOTS of extra socks)
• A "just-in-case" shelter (a small tent or tarp)
• Bug spray
• Comfortable backpack
• Biodegradable trail-marking tape
• Camera

Hiking tips


Before you hike:
• Check the weather
• Tell someone where you are going (and what time they should send out the search party if they don’t hear from you)
• Pack lightly
• Pack LOTS of water
• Have a safe return plan
• Plan your snacks/meals based on the length of your hike
• Join a hiking club or course

While you hike:
• Bring a buddy
• Warm up first
• Go at your own pace
• Navigate carefully and have a backup plan
• Stop and smell the roses (enjoy the magnificent scenery around you)
• Drink and eat regularly
• Don’t damage surrounding wildlife or the trail itself!

We spent a day there for some hiking and swimming. While I was there, I was just amazed at how beautiful the area was, and how easily accessible the water is for everyone.



Lake Ontario, ON - Jae Malana
Lake Ontario Watershed