Hiking

Hiking the Oak Ridges Moraine

Hiking

Come and join our over 300 guided hikes each year and grow your social networks with like-minded individuals.

 

Tips for an enjoyable hike:

  1. Dress appropriately for the weather. Dress in layers. Waterproof boots, jacket and pants recommended. Wear sturdy hiking boots appropriate to changing precipitation and temperature.
  2. Water is essential for all hikes and lunch may be needed for longer ones.
  3. In case of inclement weather, call leader to confirm the hike.
  4. Hikers should arrive at least 15 minutes before the advertised hike time. Be aware that parking areas are public places; refrain from keeping valuables in your car.
  5. Select hikes most suitable for your ability.
  6. Unless specified in the hike details, please contact hike leaders prior to the hikes to see if well-mannered dogs under leash are welcome. With your support, we'll try our best to make the hikes memorable experiences for all.

 

Preparing for Hikes

 

We welcome all to explore and appreciate the Oak Ridges Moraine with us. We hike mostly on the Oak Ridges Trail, but visit other trails too. We try to offer a variety of outings - short, long; flat, hilly; fast, slow; hike, ski and snowshoe.

Newcomers, after you have enjoyed a couple of hikes, please become a member of ORTA. (Annual membership fees are only $40.)

The average hike attendance is 15 people of all ages and we often have newcomers. Attend on your own or bring a friend. Tell the hike leader if you're a newcomer. All activities are led by members who donate their time, so please become a member and perhaps volunteer with us to build the Trail and our organization.

We're a friendly group, we help each other out, and we have fun, so please join us! You don't need to RSVP, unless requested - just show up at the meeting place 15 minutes ahead of the hike start time.

Please note that we have several hike leaders this season who are offering hikes on different days during the week, as well as offering hikes of shorter lengths and slower speeds. Enjoy the variety of hikes which the ORTA hike leaders offer. 

Hike Speeds
Hikers, once again we are changing our hike speeds to coincide with Hike Ontario's newly revised speed ratings. Please refer to ORTA's revised hike speeds listed below to help you select the hikes which are most suitable to your ability.

Slow:                                3 km/hr

Slow to Moderate:       3.5 km/hr

Moderate:                      4 km/hr

Moderate to Fast:        4.5 km/hr

Fast:                                 5 km/hr                  

General Notes

  • In case of storm, call leader to confirm hike.
  • It is the hike leader's decision whether to allow dogs on hikes. Hikers should call first if the hike listing is not specific.
  • Roads are on Ontario Official Road Map & other good maps.
  • ORT map references are to the Guidebook, second edition.
  • ORT = Oak Ridges Trail, CA = Conservation Area, T&B = There & Back

Tips for Spring Hikes

  • Wear comfortable hiking boots. Some trail conditions may be icy. "Icers" or similar footwear attachments are recommended on some early Spring hikes - especially in hilly areas or where there has been a recent thaw and conditions have become frozen again. In icy conditions, hiking poles are also recommended. The trails may also be very wet once the thaw is in full swing.
  • Dress in layers, so you can be comfortable climbing hills or standing exposed to the wind.
  • Bring lunch & snacks (unless hike starts in afternoon).
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • Bring at least 1 litre of water and a hot drink if it's cool.

Tips for Summer Hikes

  • Wear comfortable hiking boots, hat, sunscreen as well as mosquito repellant.
  • Bring lunch (unless hike starts in afternoon) & snacks.
  • Bring plenty to drink - 2 litres plus of water on a warm day.

Tips for Autumn Hikes

  • Wear comfortable hiking boots.
  • Dress in layers, so you can be comfortable climbing hills or standing exposed to the wind.
  • Bring lunch & snacks (unless hike starts in afternoon).
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • Bring at least 1 litre of water and a hot drink if it's cool.

Tips for Winter Hikes

  • Wear comfortable hiking boots. Some winter trail conditions may be icy. "Icers" or similar footwear attachments are recommended on some Winter and early Spring hikes - especially in hilly areas or where there has been a recent thaw and conditions have become frozen again. In icy conditions, hiking poles are also recommended. Snowshoes have become popular, as they make hiking through heavy snow easier.
  • Dress in layers, so you can be comfortable climbing hills or standing exposed to the wind.
  • Bring lunch & snacks (unless hike starts in afternoon).
  • Bring water and a hot drink.

A Typical ORTA Hike 

 

Are you new to hiking and wondering what it is like to go on an ORTA hike? This report with photos courtesy of John Fuchs will give you a preview. Please join us on the trail soon!

Our hike last Wednesday took in the Seaton Trail again. It’s one of my favourite trails and I could easily hike this trail 3 or 4 times each year. 11 hikers met in the parking lot in Whitevale under bright, sunny skies. Led by Russ Burton, we headed south across the soccer field at 9:35am at a moderate pace. Along the way we met some people walking their dogs and at least 4 cyclists.  

This trail as with most, changes with the seasons. The grasses and shrubs seemed to be at their very highest and the trail looked different from the last time we were there. Two trees had fallen over right across the trail at different points and it certainly seemed that the erosion of the river banks had not slowed in any way. We crossed Taunton Road and went along Whites Road and climbed the steps just over West Duffins Creek to get to the top of that hill. A few of the more daring among us went to the look out point very, very, very briefly. As we got closer to our luncheon destination we started to hear the rumble of thunder to the east of us.

We arrived at our usual lunch spot around 11:40am and had a leisurely lunch under the railway trestle. While we were there a freight train rumbled along above us and we saw containers with names such as K Line, Cosco and Hyundai which we knew were from far away places such as South Korea and China. Meanwhile, the sky had become cloudy above us and the rumbling of thunder was still taking much of our attention. The sky was dark to the north and to the east of us. As we got up to head back four hikers put on their back pack protective covers and some others got their ponchos ready to put on. That proved to be a good omen! Twenty minutes into our return journey the thunder ceased and the sunny skies returned. We took a little more adventurous route back crossing the creek over the boulders as we had done many times before. We arrived back at the parking lot safe and sound, around 1:50pm after having hiked a total of 16km. A few of us then headed north to the Earl of Whitchurch’s in Stouffville for a variety of refreshments and a discussion of next week’s hike in the Hockley Valley.

Happy hiking all and see you next week,

John