Following trail etiquette - guidelines for polite, safe, trail use - when using any trail system is important. Trail use is a privilege, and safety and enjoyment of the trails should be a priority of all trail users.
Grey County is home to many different trails with various permitted uses:
- The Bruce Trail is a wilderness trail that permits hiking and snowshoeing only.
- Grey County's CP Rail Trail is a multi-use trail that allows hiking, cycling, equestrian use, as well as snowmobiles & ATV's, with a permit.
- The Georgian Trail is multi-use for non-motorized use such as hiking, cycling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
- The Georgian Bluffs Trail is a multi-use trail that allows hiking, cycling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and ATV's with a permit.
- Most Grey County Forest trails permit hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, as well as snowmobiling where OFSC trails are permitted.
For all Trail Users:
• Read and observe signs noting permitted uses and trail rules.
• Allow pedestrians the right of way when possible.
• Be aware of other users on the trail.
• Stay to the right (except when passing) and move over to let others pass. Let others know when you’re approaching to pass, and always look ahead and behind.
• Travel at a reasonable speed and slow down around corners.
• Always clean up after yourselves. Pack out what you bring in – including pet waste.
• Yield to other trail users when entering and crossing a trail.
• Respect wildlife, the environment and private property. Do not venture off the trails.
• When stopping, move off the trail, to allow others to safely pass.
• Avoid walking on groomed ski tracks.
• Obey all traffic signs and signals.
• Don’t use a trail under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Parking: If a parking lot is full, do not park on the road. This is a safety concern and causes issues for snow removal equipment. Some parking lots may not be cleared immediately after a significant weather event. Where roadside parking is allowed please park only in designated areas and do not park on both sides of the road.
Trail Users with Animals:
• Clean up after your animals and pack out all waste.
• Keep pets on a leash, on the trails, and under control at all times.
• Give larger animals (such as horses) the right of way.
• Do not let pets chase or disturb wildlife – this can be dangerous to your pets, the wildlife, and you.
Equestrian Trail Users:
• Keep your horse under control at all times and observe speed limits.
• Practice minimum impact techniques.
• Always clean up after your horse.
• Never tie your horse within 20 feet of lakes, streams or springs.
• Stay off groomed ski trails.
• Never leave your horse unattended.
Cyclists and Mountain Bikers:
• Know the area and your ability.
• Stay on the trail and under control.
• Make your presence known at corners or blind spots, and use courtesy when passing others.
• Do not ride under conditions where you leave evidence of passing i.e. after rain.
Cross Country Skiers:
• Ski on the right side of the trail.
• Yield to those coming downhill or who need to pass.
• Lift your skis when stepping out of track.
• When breaking trail, keep skis wider than normal.
• Operate at appropriate speeds and observe speed limits.
• Stay within the marked OFSC trails and respect private property and trail closures.
• Do not ride on tracks made for skiers.
• Avoid late night riding.
ATV Trail Users:
• Stay on the trail and respect trail closures.
• Approach pedestrians slowly and carefully. Pull over when possible.
• When passing another vehicle, follow at a safe distance until you reach a safe place to pass slowly.
• Minimize noise with proper care of your vehicle.
• Do not ride on areas that are either wet, have loose soil, steep slopes, meadows or swamps.
• Avoid sudden stops and starts and quick directional changes with acceleration.
• Remove your helmet and turn off your engine when talking to other trail users.
Some Grey County forest properties allow hunting, among other activities. It’s important for trail users to understand hunters may be in the area. You can follow these trail safety tips to stay safe.
• Be aware. Know what hunting seasons in the area are open, specifically deer seasons the first full week of November and December.
• Be visible. Wear bright colours, preferably orange, and remember that dogs and pets should also be brightly visible.
• Be heard. Wear objects that make noise while on the trails during hunting season.
• Respect one another. Be courteous and respectful of all outdoor enthusiasts. Grey County trails are to be enjoyed by everyone.
• Equestrians should avoid popular hunting areas during hunting season.
• Be aware. You are sharing public lands with other trail users.
• Wear solid orange clothing and a hunter orange head cover.
• Follow gun safety best practices. Never shoot unless you are absolutely sure of your target and what is beyond it.
There are many different trail systems in Grey County, and therefore, many different trail signs and markings. Always ensure you research your planned trail before heading out, tell someone of your plans, carry a cell phone and a map of your route. Below are some examples:
The Bruce Trail is marked with painted rectangles - blazes - to guide hikers. White blazes mark the main Bruce Trail and blue blazes mark side trails. Look for these on trees, posts, rocks, and stiles (wooden step structures for passing over fences). Trail reroutes and other changes are common on the Bruce Trail. Check their Trail Changes for details.
Grey Sauble Conservation (GSC) owns and manages almost 29,000 acres of the most scenic and environmentally sensitive lands in Grey and Bruce Counties. Their properties provide recreational trails and their brochure is a handy guide to plan your visit. They have varying trails at each location and trails are marked accordingly.