Safety First

Wàwàtesì is on the Hastings Heritage Trail, a four-seasons, multi-use recreational trail welcoming hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, recreational vehicle operators and outdoor enthusiasts.Let's all share this space safely.

Trail Safety

In this quick guide, we'll cover crucial safety tips to ensure your trail adventure is both enjoyable and compliant with local regulations. Let's embark on a responsible journey through its breathtaking landscapes.

Watch our trail safety & etiquette videos, then take our survey to help make Ontario's trails safer!

Trail Etiquette

Join us as we explore the Hastings Heritage Trail, focusing on trail etiquette for hikers, ATV and snowmobile operators. Learn how to share this scenic area respectfully, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Together, we can keep the trail welcoming for everyone.

Watch our trail safety & etiquette videos, then take our survey to help make Ontario's trails safer!

"We look forward to welcoming you to the Hastings heritage Trail..."

Paul Jenkins, Mayor of Bancroft

Discover Bancroft

Venture to Bancroft, Ontario—The Mineral Capital of Canada and home to the majestic Eagles Nest. Explore the Hastings Heritage Trail, inviting adventurers and nature lovers alike. Come discover Bancroft's geological wonders and breathtaking vistas.

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We hold a deep belief in the importance of sustainable tourism and cultural preservation on ancestral lands. Learn more about our Business & Tourism Portfolio.


Made possible through funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation through their Indigenous Transportation Initiatives Fund & Road Safety Community Partnership Program.


Many thanks to Thumbs Productions, Mayor Paul Jenkins & the Town of Bancroft, Bancroft OPP & Constable Joel Devenish, the KMM Community, all of our recreational vehicle enthusiasts & the KMM Team for making this possible.Special thanks also goes out to Hastings County, Township of Limerick, Community Futures Development Corporation, North Hastings Children's Services (NHCS), Bancroft Business Improvement Area (BBIA), Bancroft Ontario Provincial Police, Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance, North Hastings Community Integration Association, North Hastings Community Trust, Indigenous Tourism Ontario, Ascend LPP, North Hastings Community Cupboard, Bancroft Youth Unlimited, McMichael Jewellers, Bancroft Golf Course, Vance Motors.The views expressed on this website and accompanying publications are the views of Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin Nation and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province of Ontario or any other organization.© 2024 Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin Nation. All rights reserved.

A Guide for Hastings Heritage Trail Users

Understanding Ontario Law on Roads and Trails

When planning an adventure along the scenic Hastings Heritage Trail in Ontario, it's crucial to be informed about the legal requirements and safety guidelines that apply to its use. This trail, like many others across Ontario, is governed by specific laws designed to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all its users.
1. Classification and Usage
The Hastings Heritage Trail is classified as a multi-use trail. This means it is open to pedestrians, cyclists, horseback riders, and motorized vehicles, including ATVs and snowmobiles, depending on the season. It's important to understand that the legal framework governing such trails aims to balance the needs and safety of all users.
2. Rights and Responsibilities
Ontario's laws stipulate that all trail users have certain rights and responsibilities:Right of Way: Pedestrians generally have the right of way on multi-use trails. Cyclists and motorized vehicle operators must yield to walkers and horseback riders.Speed Limits: Specific speed limits are set for different sections of the trail, especially in areas where the trail intersects with public roads or residential areas. Adhering to these limits is crucial for the safety of all users.Helmet Laws: Helmets are mandatory for cyclists under the age of 18 and recommended for all cyclists. For ATV and snowmobile riders, helmets are mandatory regardless of age.
3. Motorized Vehicles
The use of motorized vehicles on trails like the Hastings Heritage Trail is tightly regulated:Permits: Operators of ATVs, snowmobiles, and other motorized vehicles must have a valid permit and insurance. These regulations help ensure that only responsible users access the trail.Age Restrictions: There are minimum age requirements and licensing requirements for operating motorized vehicles on public trails.Alcohol and Drug Policies: Operating any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited and subject to severe penalties.
4. Environmental Considerations
Respecting the natural environment is a key aspect of trail use laws:Trail Etiquette: Users are expected to keep the trail clean, dispose of waste properly, and avoid disturbing wildlife or damaging vegetation.Noise Restrictions: To minimize disturbance to wildlife and local communities, noise restrictions may be in place, particularly for motorized vehicles.
5. Enforcement and Penalties
Compliance with these laws is monitored by local authorities and conservation officers. Penalties for non-compliance can include fines, confiscation of equipment, or in severe cases, criminal charges. It is in the best interest of all users to adhere to the regulations, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.By familiarizing yourself with these laws and guidelines, you can contribute to a safe and enjoyable experience on the Hastings Heritage Trail. Whether you're cycling through its leafy paths in the summer or snowmobiling in the winter, understanding and respecting Ontario’s trail laws is essential for all adventurers.

A Guide for Hastings Heritage Trail Users

Preparing for Weather, Safety & Emergencies

Exploring the Hastings Heritage Trail can be an exhilarating experience, but being prepared for varying weather conditions, wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE), and packing essential emergency supplies are crucial steps to ensure a safe adventure. Here’s how to gear up and what to pack:
1. Weather Considerations
The weather along the Hastings Heritage Trail can vary dramatically with the seasons, impacting trail conditions and the type of equipment needed:Summer: Expect warm and humid conditions. Lightweight, breathable clothing that offers protection from the sun is ideal. Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat.Fall: Cooler temperatures and changing leaves make this a popular time for trail use. Layering your clothing will allow you to adjust to varying temperatures throughout the day.Winter: Snow and ice are common, making thermal wear, insulated gloves, and caps necessary. Snowmobile users should ensure their vehicles are prepared for winter conditions.Spring: Melting snow and rain can lead to muddy conditions. Waterproof gear and footwear are advisable.
2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Safety gear is essential regardless of the season or the user’s mode of travel:Helmets: Mandatory for all cyclists and motorized vehicle users, and strongly recommended for horseback riders.Gloves and Eye Protection: Gloves help maintain a good grip and protect against blisters, while goggles or sunglasses protect eyes from dust, debris, and UV rays.High-Visibility Clothing: Particularly for those using the trail during dawn, dusk, or in wooded areas where visibility is low.
3. Emergency Preparedness
Accidents or unexpected situations can happen. Being prepared with the right emergency items can make a significant difference:First Aid Kit: Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, a pair of scissors, and pain relievers.Repair Kit for Bikes or ATVs: Spare tubes, patch kits, a multi-tool, and a portable air pump.Communication Device: A mobile phone or a two-way radio, particularly in areas where cell service might be unreliable.Navigation Tools: A GPS device or a reliable map and compass.Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated and have enough energy; pack water and high-energy snacks like nuts or energy bars.Emergency Shelter: In case you get stranded, a lightweight tent, bivy sack, or space blanket can provide temporary shelter.Fire Starting Materials: Waterproof matches or a lighter can help in starting a fire for warmth in case of an emergency.
4. Check Before You Go
Before heading out, always check the local weather conditions and trail updates. Adjust your plans accordingly to ensure you are prepared for the day’s conditions.By dressing appropriately for the weather, wearing the right protective gear, and packing essential emergency supplies, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable outing on the Hastings Heritage Trail.Whether you are cycling, hiking, or riding through this picturesque route, preparation is key to making the most of your experience.

A Guide for Hastings Heritage Trail Users

Navigating Trail Use Permits

For those planning to explore the Hastings Heritage Trail using ATVs, snowmobiles, or other motorized vehicles, obtaining the proper trail use permits is a mandatory step. Understanding the permit requirements ensures that all trail activities are conducted legally and responsibly.
1. Why Permits are Necessary
Trail use permits serve several important purposes:Regulation Compliance: Permits ensure that all motorized vehicle users on the trail are registered and adhere to safety standards and environmental regulations.Trail Maintenance: Fees collected from permits contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the trail, which benefits all users by improving infrastructure and ensuring trail safety.Conservation Efforts: Permit regulations help manage the environmental impact of motorized vehicles, protecting the natural habitat and wildlife along the trail.
2. Types of Permits
Depending on the type of vehicle and the time of year, different permits may be required:ATV Permits: These are required year-round for all ATV users on the trail. The permit verifies that the ATV is registered and insured, and that the driver is licensed appropriately.Snowmobile Permits: During the winter months, snowmobiles are a popular way to experience the trail. A valid snowmobile permit is required, which can often be obtained through local or provincial snowmobiling associations.Special Event Permits: Occasionally, special events like races or charity rides are held on the trail. Organizers and participants must obtain special event permits that address larger group sizes and additional safety considerations.
3. How to Obtain a Permit
Permits for the Hastings Heritage Trail are available from the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance.Permits can typically be purchased online, through local trail or conservation authorities, or at points of entry to the trail. Here’s how you can obtain them:Online Applications: Many users find it convenient to apply for and purchase their permits online. Provincial websites and local trail management sites usually offer this service.Local Vendors: Sporting goods stores, ATV dealerships, and similar businesses often sell trail use permits. Purchasing locally can also provide an opportunity to support community businesses.Trailhead and Park Offices: Some trailheads and nearby park offices sell permits directly. This option is useful for last-minute planners or those unfamiliar with online purchases.
4. Costs and Validity
The cost of permits can vary based on the vehicle type, the length of validity, and whether the permit is for seasonal or year-round use. Discounts might be available for early purchases or for members of certain clubs or associations.Always check the most current information as fees and regulations can change.
5. What to Carry
When using the trail, it is important to carry:Proof of Permit: Always have your permit on you or with the vehicle as proof of registration and right to access the trail.
Identification and Vehicle
Registration: Alongside the permit, carry personal identification and any required vehicle registration documents.By ensuring you have the correct permits before setting out on the Hastings Heritage Trail, you contribute to a safe, enjoyable, and sustainable outdoor adventure for everyone.Whether riding through lush forests on an ATV or gliding over snow-packed paths on a snowmobile, proper permits are key to a hassle-free experience.