Times are tough, we get it. Government officials and scientists are recommending Social Distancing and while we couldn't agree more, we also recognize the importance of spending time outside (please see and follow official guidelines here). Now more than ever, we need to practice self awareness, mindfulness, and self care. We’ve had a few people reach out and ask what places they can go right now for a bit of a nature bath, a hike, or just a place to escape and forget all about what’s going on for a bit so we compiled a short list here.
Craig Janes, director of the school of public health at the University of Waterloo says "You don’t have to stay inside with your door locked. There’s all kinds of things you can do outside,” he said, adding if you are required to self-isolate for 14 days, you should follow the guidelines of public health. “As long as you’re not in close contact with other people, [walking] is great. You’re going to exercise, you’re going to feel better.”
“Take the normal caution that you would take with any interpersonal interaction if you were at a grocery store,” he said. That means keep at least two metres away from another person, he said, adding to be sure to wash your hands when you come home. Reported by Global News.
Remember to still be mindful of your physical health while also focusing on your mental health. Stay away from large crowds but make sure to spend some time outdoors. While park bathrooms are closed you can bring some water and soap leaves (our favourites here) to keep you clean before and after you hit the trails. Theres plenty of other trails available, you can find them here through one of our favourite apps, All Trails.
Currently, Ontario Parks have closed down until April 30th. That means no day hikes, no visitors centre, no backcountry camping. While there are still opportunities for crown land camping, we wanted to compile a list of places to go that are still open. Below are some of our favourites as well as a list of all the conservation areas in Ontario, many of which remain open (just the trails, bathrooms and offices are closed).
In The City
With around 10km of natural trails, a diverse bird population and some spots offering a spectacular view of the Toronto skyline, Crothers Woods is a popular escape into nature. Crothers Woods offers approximately 9 km of multi-use, one-metre wide natural surface (dirt) trails. These trails include some steep sections and are rated as intermediate level trails.
High Park is Toronto's largest public park featuring many hiking trails, sports facilities, diverse vegetation, a beautiful lakefront, convenient parking, easy public transit access, a dog park, a zoo, playgrounds for children, a couple of eateries, greenhouses, picnic areas, a bunch of squirrels and various events throughout the year.
A rich assembly of natural, cultural and agricultural landscapes, Rouge National Urban Park is home to amazing biodiversity, some of the last remaining working farms in the Greater Toronto Area, Carolinian ecosystems, Toronto’s only campground, one of the region’s largest marshes, a beach at Lake Ontario, amazing hiking opportunities, and human history dating back over 10,000 years, including some of Canada's oldest known Indigenous sites.
Out of the City - Conservation Areas
What even is a conservation authority?
Conservation Authorities are community-based watershed management agencies, whose mandate is to undertake watershed-based programs to protect people and property from flooding, and other natural hazards, and to conserve natural resources for economic, social and environmental benefits. Below is a list of some our favourite hikes in conservation areas near the GTA with distances from Toronto.
Balls Falls - 106km
Christie Lake - 77km
Dundas Valley - 77km
Tiffany Falls - 79km
Kelso - 60km
Crawford Lake - 70km
Tews Falls - 70km
Mount Nemo - 70km
Rattlesnake Point - 70km
Remember to be mindful of your health and practice social distancing while we're all dealing with COVID-19 but please be mindful of your health and get outside for some time in nature.