Are you a nature lover in search of a perfect getaway spot? Well, then you have come across the right page that will end your pursuit of a nature-friendly destination.
Away from the daily hustle of the subway life, a tranquil destination that will indeed offer you a comfortable and relaxing time.
Rouge National Urban Park, Canada’s First National Urban Park, attracts the attention of several Canadians due to its within range distance from the city and the pleasing environment much better than the rest of Canada.
The Rouge was created in 2015 and is a 79-kilometer huge park situated in Scarborough, Markham, Pickering, and Uxbridge. The Rouge National Urban Park is over 20 times larger than New York City’s Central Park.
Among several national parks, the Rouge is the only national park at a short distance from the people living in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Also, check out: The 12 Best Parks in Toronto: An Amazing 2021 Guide.
Exposure to a diversity of natural landscapes, namely mature forests, creeks, rivers, meadows, gullies, wetlands, rocky outcrops, valleys, and many other picturesque views, can be witnessed at the Rouge National Urban Park. Besides, it even includes a sandy beach where the Rogue River meets Lake Ontario.
The Rouge National Urban Park will engross you in its beauty, and with the park taking over 60 km of the Greater Toronto Area from Lake Ontario in the south to the Oak Ridges Moraine in the north, it feels like you have entered a whole new world.
The Rouge is thus home to rich biodiversity, including over 1700 species making it one of Canada’s most biologically diverse parks. It is a congregation of working farms in the Greater Toronto Area, Carolinian ecosystems, Toronto’s only campground, one of the region’s most extensive marshes, exciting hiking opportunities, and human history dating back over 10,000 years, including some of Canada’s oldest known indigenous sites.
With over 325 bird species inhabiting the park, the Rouge proves to be a perfect destination for a spring vacation. It is also an ideal place for camping, photography, wildlife spotting, fishing, canoeing, paddleboarding, cycling, and several other activities.
While you are at the Rouge, do not miss out on the spectacular view from the top of the C.N. Tower. In addition, for all the adventures enthusiasts, hiking to the Vista Trail’s two-level viewing platform to contemplate the fiery reds, oranges, and yellows of the autumn leaves is absolutely a treat to the eyes.
The Rouge is also the only park in the country with a mandate to protect its agricultural heritage.
History of Rouge National Urban Park:
Rouge Park’s rich history and cultural heritage date back to ten thousand years to indigenous peoples and the early farming communities. The natural landscape provided for the area’s first inhabitants and now consists of some of the rarest and most fertile farming lands in Canada.
The Rouge also holds the remains of Iroquoian settlements, some of Canada’s oldest indigenous sites. The only intact 17th-century Seneca site in Canada lies upstream from the Rogue River’s mouth to Bead Hill.
The area adjacent to Glen Rouge Park and its campgrounds was known as Ganatsekwyagon, meaning “among the birches.”
The first colonists in the Rouge had arrived in the year 1799. Moreover, several barns built by the colonist farmers still stand today, some of which date back to the mid-1800s.
Currently, the Rouge park protects the last remaining working farms in Toronto as they are a great source of environmentally friendly produce.
Conservation at Rouge National Urban Park:
The Rouge is not historically significant but is also ecologically significant and is a place of community-driven conservation.
Over time, more than 75% of the Rouge National Urban Park landscapes are disturbed in some way or the other. In order to cope with the damage caused, conservation groups, indigenous partners, and park farmers are working on the remedy.
Consequently, conservation projects such as Blanding’s Turtle re-introduction, building birdhouses, and wetland and stream restoration have helped restore the landscapes.
With around 30 species that reside in the park being at risk, restoration projects are essential.
There is a Rouge Valley Conservation Centre too.
Well, enough introduction to Rouge National Urban Park, now let’s see how you can enjoy your time at the park.
Activities to do in Rouge National Urban Park:
Hiking being one of the most popular adventure activities of Rouge park, here are a few trials that one can undertake to have the best hiking experience:
1. Glen Eagles Vista Trail
2. Celebration Forest Trail
3. Woodland Trail
4. Tallgrass Trek
5. Rouge Marsh Trail
7. Northeast Trail
8. West Trail
9. Coyote trail
10. Monarch Trail
11. Reesor Way/ Tanglewood Trail
12. Cedar Trail and the Beare Wetlands Loop
13. Orchard Trail
14. Vista Trail
15. Mast Trail
Besides hiking, one can be a part of several other exciting activities like:
2. Bird-watching at Rouge National Urban Park
In the varied habitats of the Rouge, like meadows, wetlands, shorelines, and farmland, one can find over 225 different bird species here. And watching the birds in this wildlife is a treat to the eyes.
One can capture the beautiful flora and fauna at Rouge Park. People who have keen eyes for nature will thoroughly enjoy capturing the moments.
The famous fishing spots in the Rouge Park area are at the mouth of the Rouge River and the surrounding marsh area. However, you can only fish if you have a valid Ontario fishing license.
So, if you are interested in Fishing, first get started with your license.
5. Dog walking-
You can also take your four-legged friend along with you on your trip to the Rouge. Just make sure your dog is on a leash the entire trip.
Glen Rouge is the only campground in the City of Toronto where you will get to experience the natural, rich culture and heritage of Canada’s first national urban park.
7. Canoeing/ Kayaking/ Paddling-
One canoe, kayak, or paddleboard down the Rogue River or near the Rouge Marsh, the largest remaining wetland in the city.
A well-known route is down the Rouge River south from Glen Rouge Campground to Rouge Marsh. The route takes around one hour, covering some of the most exquisite views of the wetlands.
Some popular roads for cycling include Meadowvale Road, Beare Road, 11th Concession, and Reesor Road. In addition, one can find many quiet country roads to the far northeast corner of the Rouge waiting to be explored.
On the mesmerizing Rouge Beach, the Lake Ontario area of the park features beautiful lake views at the mouth of the Rogue River, thus giving all the visitors a truly pleasing experience.
Activities such as open fires, fireworks, barbecues, littering are restricted at Rouge Beach to ensure that it remains attainable to the general public.
Moreover, swimming at Rouge Beach is highly not encouraged without the available lifeguard services.
Best time to visit the Rouge National Urban Park:
Planning is the initial and crucial step to achieving a good outcome. Thus, to make your trip to Canada’s first National Urban Park an enjoyable one, make sure to consider the following things:
Rouge national urban park is a hub for all nature and adventure enthusiasts. It comprises several activities that one can do all through the day, thereby giving people the opportunity to make the most out of their trip.
The Rouge Park is open 365 days a year, and thus the best feature is that one can visit this place anytime during the year and still get to experience the beauty of Rouge to its best.
With the proximity of this place to the city area of Canada, all the residents should visit Rouge park every season as each season has something unique to offer to its visitors.
Indeed the best time to visit this place would be early in the morning or when the crowd has dispersed. That is when you will get the chance to explore the Rouge and enjoy nature to its fullest.
Moreover, the hiking trails of the Rouge and mainly the northern areas offer an entirely different terrain and are among the underrated regions in Rouge Park.
However, the trails may be quite snowy in the winter season and are often not well maintained. This may sometimes hinder your hiking endeavour in the winter season.
While hikes in the midday heat of the summer season may prove to be quite exhausting, early mornings and evenings are comparatively more relaxed.
Preview more trails and locations ahead of time with Google Street view!
How to reach Rouge National Urban Park:
One can reach the Rouge National Urban Park by various transport options ranging from car, bike, train, subway, bus to a canoe and even by foot.
If you plan to drive to Rouge park, you must check out the parking availability. The parking space is almost entirely occupied on weekends, so if you plan to visit the park on the weekend, it is advisable to take public transport.
If the parking space is full, do not park illegally as they may be towed, leading to unnecessary expenses. You can plan on visiting the Rouge on some other day or look out for parking availability at another entrance of the park.
In the winter season, parking is free of cost in the Rouge, although there is a high possibility of the parking lots being filled with snow, so one must park at their own risk.
The way off Sheppard Avenue East, near Meadowvale Road, is the most common in Rouge Park. However, one can quickly locate the park from any of the surrounding areas with the help of Rouge’s website.
Make sure to look out for any restricted areas or road closures while visiting the location.
Moreover, one can quickly access the maps and resources that are truly useful in areas of the park where there is no signal or WiFi via the Rouge app.
Food at Rouge National Urban Park:
A significant part of any vacation or trip is food, without which the trip feels incomplete. Similarly, while visiting the Rouge, one can pack their food and carry it to the park or visit the nearby renowned restaurants that offer a variety of delicious food items.
The wildlife at the Rouge have their menu and are fed by the caretakers at proper intervals. Therefore, it is advisable not to share your food with the wildlife at the park.
Additionally, if you have your food inside the park, make sure you do not leave behind any food particles and keep the area clean.
Besides, if you are planning to visit the nearby restaurants to try out the available delicacies, here is a list of some famous restaurants near Rouge Park:
1. Caribbean Wave (2.7 km)
2. Tim Hortons (2.5 km)
3. Fratelli Village Pizzaria (4.2 kms)
4. The Black Dog Pub (4.2 km)
5. Dairy Queen (0.4 km)
6. Pizza Pizza (1.5 km)
7. Swiss Chalet (2.7 km)
8. Wendy’s (2.5 km)
9. Mr. Greek (2.7 km)
10. Harvey’s (2.7 km away)
11. Kelseys (3.1 km)
12. Paul Wong Fine Chinese Cuisine (4.3 km)
Things to keep in mind before visiting the Rouge National Urban Park:
- It is advisable to use public transport to reach Rouge Park as parking availability is limited on busy days.
- To have the best and most soothing experience, avoid visiting the park at peak times ranging from 10 am to 4 pm, especially on weekends when the park is the most occupied.
- Do carry some nourishment with you, as you may not have access to plenty of resources within the park.
- Ticks are found in Rouge park, so make sure you dress appropriately to reduce your chances of being bitten by the ticks.
- Do not take anything with you from the park except for pictures and beautiful memories, and do not leave behind anything except your footprints.
A land where adventure awaits, and so do memories, the Rouge National Urban Park, popularly known as “the people’s park,” will leave you mesmerized with its natural aura and worth praising beauty.
Also, do not miss hiking through the Cedar Loop that passes through various small beautiful streams, and along the little Rouge Creek.
I hope you have a good time visiting Rouge. And hopefully, you enjoyed reading this article too.