Enjoy the scenery with Autumn walks

Fall is the perfect time to hit the trails

The weather is getting cooler but that’s no reason to take your walking routine indoors. From September to mid-November is one of the best times of year for walking outside. Fall days are warm, the nights are cool and there are usually no mosquitoes, says Michael Haines, author of Hiking Trails of Nova Scotia (Gooselane) and coordinator of the Trails Canada program for Go Green, a not-for-profit organization that promotes outdoor activity. And what better way to spend an afternoon than exploring nature on a tranquil trail? The contrast of the golden autumn colours with the blue sky is so beautiful, says Haines. And trail walking gives you a chance to be surrounded by birds before they fly south in late September. Just be sure to prepare before you hit the woods. If you’re accustomed to walking in the city or the suburbs, a little expert advice will help you make the most of a fall hike on a nature trail.

Stay safe

Haines suggests sticking to prepared or maintained trails in local or provincial parks so that you’re more likely to run into other walkers than wild animals. Be extra cautious and remember: it will be harder to get help if you twist your ankle in the forest than on the city sidewalk. Let someone know where you’re planning to hike and when to expect you back. Also, don’t trust that your cell phone will work on a trail; carry a whistle which is easier to hear in the forest than a voice if you need assistance.

Dress right

Bring warm clothing just in case the temperature drops and carry water and a snack, such as fruit and nuts. Wear comfortable shoes or hiking boots so sore feet don’t sidetrack an otherwise splendid outing. And if you have a long drive to your destination, leave a change of clothes and shoes in your car in case you get wet on your hike—you won’t want to drive home in a sopping outfit.

Map your route

Finding a trail for your fall walk is just a click away. Simply log on to to discover an inventory of 3,800 Canadian trails. On the site, you can choose a walking trail in a rural, urban, suburban or wilderness setting. Pick one based on how long you want to walk—from less than one hour to more than 10—or how far you want to go. Happy trails!

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