Rouge National Urban Park Vista Trail

My last blog about a trail in Rouge National Urban Park was published in the winter, so I'm way past due publishing another. 

This park is very popular for hiking at all times of the year. During the COVID Lockdown, the parking lot was closed, but people were still able to hike the trails. Everything is open now, but there are still signs encouraging people to social distance from others on the trails. 

This blog is about the Vista Trail. It is the easiest trail in the park and has a lookout over the river. The trails are unpaved and clearly marked, so it's a perfect hike for beginners.

Sign for the Vista Trail in Rouge National Urban Park

You can follow the signs for the Vista trail without any guidance and cover a distance of 2-3 km. My suggested route adds a visit to the Little Rouge Creek because I know a few dogs who can't do a hike unless it includes an opportunity to get wet.

Map for the Vista Trail in Rouge National Urban Trail

Parking

Park on Zoo Rd near the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre.

Rouge Valley Conservation Centre in Rouge National Urban Park

All the trails are natural and clearly marked. 

Vista Trail in Rouge National Urban Park

Turtles

Some lucky hikers will encounter turtles on their hikes. We were not so lucky but did pay attention to see if we could spot one. 

Sign for Turtles on the Vista Trail in Rouge National Urban Park

Lookout

Not far from the trailhead, you'll see the lookout. It is a two-story deck that overlooks the Little Rouge Creek. 

Lookout on Vista Trail in Rouge National Urban Park

Dog on Lookout Deck on Vista Trail, Rouge National Park Dog on Lookout Deck on Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

View from Lookout Deck on Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

River Visit

If you're like us, a visit to the river is high on the list of things to do on a hike. Be careful where you choose to go down. There are side trails that are extremely steep. Instead, we found a gently sloped path that has orange ribbons marking the route to the river.

Side trail in forest from Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

Join the trail just past the point where the trail splits. Stay on the left.

Fork in path on Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

You'll see trees in the forest with orange ribbons.

Forest trail to the river from the Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

The river is shallow and is a safe place for your dog to be off-leash.

Rouge Creek from Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

Rouge Creek from Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

Off-Leash Opportunities

As always, there are many factors to consider when choosing to let your dog off-leash. If the park is crowded with people, it is best to leave your dog on-leash. If your dog is well-trained to come when you call, it is safe to let them off on the side trail through the forest and river. 

Ticks

Part of the park has been invaded by ticks, so you need to protect yourself and dog against the possibility of getting Lyme disease. For yourself, wear clothes that cover your entire body, even in summer. For your dog, make sure you give them the flea and tick medication as recommended by your vet. For both of you, check for ticks when you get home. For details, see the Ticks page on the Parks website.

Trail Alternatives

For a short hike, turn around after visiting the river. You can take the left-hand trail on your return and by-pass the lookout, or go back the way you came.

For a longer route, hike the rest of the way to the Twyn River Parking Lot. There is access to the river from the parking lot and there are garbage bins and portable toilets.

Map for Orchard Trail from Vista Trail, Rouge National Park

From Twyn River, you can return the way you came or hike the Orchard Trail which will take you back to where you parked. A future blog post will cover the Orchard Trail.

Rouge Conservation Centre

There are washrooms and picnic areas as well as information about the conservation work being done. The small garden has a bench for you to rest and enjoy the scenery before heading back to your car.

Signs at Rouge Valley Conservation Centre

Garden and solar panels at Rouge Valley Conservation Centre

Washroom at Rouge Valley Conservation Centre

History 

The house at the trailhead was built in 1893 and was once known as the James Pearce Jr. House. The Rouge Valley Conservation Centre focuses on environmental restoration, monitoring, and research and offers interpretive walks and educational programs for the general public, school and community groups.

Instagram

Enjoy your hike! When you post photos to Instagram, tag us at @hikingtoronto or #hikingtorontowithlucy.




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