During the winter months, we all hope for mild days. There are days right after a snowfall, where everything around you is blanketed in fresh white snow. Those are the days to take advantage of, bundle up your family and get outside for a winter hike.
Bring your camera or phones and let your children capture the beauty of the hike from their view point. Even bring some unsalted sunflower seeds to sprinkle on the snow for the birds. You may be lucky enough to even see some birds come to eat your seeds.
Some places to go hiking*:
We know our backyard camp families are diverse and live in many different areas, but here are some great places in Vaughan that you and your family can discover this winter.
- Bartley Smith Greenway - is a 15 kilometre trail system that follows the West Don River. The BSG includes southern and northern trail segments. The southern trail segment, approximately 11 kilometres long, begins at Steeles Avenue east of Dufferin Street, travels north through Marita Payne Park, under Highway 407, and continues to Langstaff Road where the trail ends.
- Uplands Trail - This is a short trail that makes its way around the Uplands Golf Course. Access and a trail map is available at the trailhead. It can be accessed by walking to the end of the parking lot near the club house and continuing in the same direction (going north) until you get to the sign. If you want to access the trail from its other end, the trailhead is at the bulb of Callaway Court.
- Sugarbush Trail - it is just to the north on the north side of Highway 7 between Bathurst and Dufferin Streets. It can be accessed off Thornhill Woods Drive. Not only is there a network of trails to walk, located on the property is the home and sugar shack of the historical owners, the Baker family. Currently, the home is being used by the Filipino Heritage Band as their headquarters. The trail takes you through a magnificent forest of huge, mature maple trees. If you go, don’t forget to take your camera as there are a number of wonderful photographic opportunities – see one of mine, below.
*Thank you to Ward 5 - Alan Shefman's updates for the tips on the trails
Winter Bird Watching:
You may not know this, but not birds fly south for the winter. Believe it or not, some birds actually migrate north for the winter. Here is a list of the top ten birds that you may find on your hike that stay in Ontario for the winter:
- Snowy Owl
- Northern Shrike
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Black capped chickadee
- Downy Woodpecker
- Norther Cardinal
- Blue Jay
- American Goldfinch
- Cedar Waxwing