Winter Sports and Adventure in Ontario
 
  Winter in Ontario

Toronto has a checkered past when it comes to snow, it seems that it either it has a little or has a lot. Regardless of its less than perfect score in this area, the near north and northern reaches of the province are usually draped in a white blanket come Christmas and often stay that way well into April. Good thing, since Ontarions (I think that's how you spell it) love to get out on the trails and hillsides when the snow flies.

There are lots of snowboarding hills and cross country ski areas in the province including Chicopee, Talisman, Horseshoe Valley and everybodies' favourite Blue Mountain. Blue seems to always be expanding its facilities, with more places to stay, more restaurants and best of all more features for boarders and skiers.

 
 

Cross country skiers have lots of trails available at the province at trail centres, ski hills and at Conservation Areas and Provincial Parks. Many of the trail centres are located at resorts, such as Horseshoe, Hardwood Hills and Blue, have extensive trail systems with a wide variety of terrain to choose from.

If your looking to try a little winter camping and some backcountry skiing Algonquin is just a few short hours from most of the provinces major centres. You'll also find guiding companies in the park which will take you out on a sled dog tour through the wilds of the region.

Backcountry Skiing

  • Algonquin- Make your own tracks, camp out or take advantage of the park's yurts.
  • MacGregor Point - The park has winter campsites as well as yurt's.

Cross Country Skiing

There are areas within the Toronto Region, such as Albion hills, where you can do some nordic skiing. You can even ski parts of the ravines, if the snow gods are with you. Failing that, head north to the North Central Region to some of Ontario's best at Hardwood Hills, Mansfield and Highland Nordic.

  • Blueberry Plains Trails - See the cross country listing for Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
  • Bondi Village Resort Trails - 20km, beginner-expert. The Cross country trails at the resort meander through a variety of rolling terrain. The is a fee charged for trail usage. From Hwy 60 follow the Hwy 35 east of Dwight to Muskoka Road 21 and the resort. Dwight/Lake of Bays area, Muskoka
  • Bracebridge Resource Management Centre - 8-10km, easy, loops. There are several trails to choose from, with some following beside the Muskoka River, through the forests or along marshes and open areas. Access is from east side of Hwy. 11 approximately 2.5km to the north of the High Falls Bridge. Bracebridge Muskoka
  • Dagmar - 23km, Groomed, Beginner-Expert. Located north of Ajax above the 401 Directions South Central Ontario
  • Ganeraska Forest - 32km, Groomed, Beginner-Expert. Durham Region, From the 401 take the 115 north until you reach road 9 then head east. Watch for the sign for the forest. Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority. Located just to the southwest of Peterborough. South Central Ontario
  • Gravenhurst Nordic (KOA) - 17km, beginner-expert, groomed, rentals, waxing room, warm up hut. Located between Gravenhurst and Bracebridge on Reay Road East off the Gravenhurst Parkway. Gravenhurst, Muskoka
  • Haliburton Nordic 100km, Groomed, Beginner-Expert. - 2.5hrs from Toronto, Haliburton, South Central Ontario
  • Hardwood Hills - 36km, beginner-expert, groomed trails, rentals, dining, classical & skating, school, accommodations. One of Ontario's best, the area provides a mix of terrain with excellently laid out trails through mixed forest. From the 401 take the 400 north, take exit 111 east on Doran Road. Watch for Edgar which will take you into the center. Simcoe County
  • Highland Nordic Centre (Duntroon) - 17km of groomed trails, rentals, waxing area, cafeteria. One of Ontario's best known XC centers. Take exit 98 from the 400 north of Barrie and follow the 26 towards Wasaga Beach/Blue Mountain. Pick up the 91 at Sunnidale Corners and continue to Duntroon. The center is about a kilometre southwest of Duntroon on the 10th line.
  • Horseshoe Resort - 35km Groomed, Beginner-Expert. 1-1.5hrs north of Toronto. From the 401 take highway 400 north passed Barrie to exit 117. Turn right on Horseshoe Valley Road. Simcoe County
  • Kolapore Uplands - 60 kms, Intermediate, Expert. The area has 16 trails over a wide variety of terrain. There are a lot of difficult climbs and of course subsequent down hills. Note: This is a very large tract of forested land and you can get lost in the area be prepared (clothing, food, water and tools) and make sure you're back at the parking lot well before dusk. Don't ever ski alone. The map is available at the Ravenna General Store 6km north of the parking lot. Buy it! From Highway 10 take the 4 east to Grey County Road 2 where you head north. Drive for about 15km and watch for the The trail entrance on your right.
  • Lafontaine XC Skiing - 20km, Beginner-Expert, 35km classic, 7km skating. The area has a variety of terrain along with two nice viewpoints which overlook the area. 1.5-2hrs from Toronto. From the 401 take highway 400 north to exit 98 at Barrie, follow highway 27 north to Elmvale, head east on Simcoe Rd 6 then head north on Lafontaine Road Penetanguishene, Simcoe County
  • Leslie M. Frost Natural Resources Centre - 22km Groomed, From the 401 take the 400 north to pick up the 11 north of Bariie. Follow the 11 to the 60 passed Huntsville a short ways, where you'll take the 35 south of Dorset about 11km. XC Skiing and Snowshoeing, Trail Map - North Central Ontario, Ontario
  • Mansfield Outdoor Center - 40km, Groomed, Beginner-Expert, classical& skating. There are machine groomed and track set trails that wind their way through hundreds of acres of beautiful forest providing many picturesque views of the Mulmur Hills. With a 40 km trail network you have a choice of 8 different trails graded from novice to expert. This includes a 10 km dedicated skating loop. From the 401 take highway 400 north and exit at highway 89 west. Follow the 89 to Dufferin Road 18 then head north to the center. Mansfield, Simcoe County, Central Ontario North
  • Sauble Beach - The area has a number of interconnected loops which travel beside the Rankin River. From Owen Sound follow the 6 to the 8 then head north on the 13 to the ski area. (519) 422-1405, Bruce County
  • Albion Hills Conservation Area - Greater Toronto

    26km, Groomed, Beginner-Expert. North of Bolton about 8km on highway 50 - Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Located just to the northeast of Metro Toronto. Toronto Region, Ontario

    Algonquin Provincial Park

    There are several groomed trails adding up to over 80km along the main corridor which is well maintained in winter.

    The Minnising Trail - Beginner, Intermediate
    Off of Hwy 60 in the main corridor in the southern sector of the park. The trail consists of four overlapping loops with distances of 4.7km, 10.1km, 17.1km and 23.4.km. The longest loop will take you north of Canisbay Lake, around Linda Lake and back around the west side of Polly Lake. While some of the trail is made up of flats and rolling hills, the longest loop is ardous unless your in great shape. Along this outer loop here are a number of extended climbs that sap you as the kilometres pile up. This is a wilderness park be prepared, carry appropriate clothing, food, water and tools and never ski alone.

    Fen Lake - Beginner - Expert
    Just off of the main corridor, Hwy 60, very near the west gate. The trails are a varied mix taking you past Heron Lake to Fen Lake and following Gateway Creek back to the beginning of the loops system. The overlapping loops are 1.25km, 5.2km, 11.4km and 13km in distance.

    Leaf Lake
    Just inside the east gate this is an extensive trail system with lots of variations. As varied as the trail system the scenery is spectacular shrub, to forest, from lake front to mountain. There are over a dozen possible loops with distances from a few kilometers to over 50km.

    Arrowhead Provincial Park

    27km, beginner-expert, tubing hill, skating, pro shop, lessons, waxing room. The park has a set of interconnected loops, with varying degrees of difficulty, winding through a forested area. Take the 400 to the 11 just passed Barrie and continue on 5km passed the town of Huntsville to the park.

    Awenda Provincial Park - Huntsville, Muskoka

    27km, beginner-intermediate, interconnected loops, heated shelter. The park has four trails open to skiers in the winter, the Brule (easy), the Wendat, Beach and the Bluff Trail.

    Elora Gorge

    12km, Groomed, Beginner-Expert. From Guelph take highway 6 north to Elora Road 8 then head west into the conservation area. Southeastern Ontario, Ontario

    Hilton Falls Conservation Area

    16km of trials await you at the conservation area. From Q.E.W. take the Guelph Line north (North of Burlington) passed Campbellville to Campbellville Road and head east to the CA. Southwestern Ontario, Ontario

    Inglis Falls Conservation Area - Owen Sound, Grey Sauble, Grey County

    7km, intermediate, not groomed. Located off Inglis Falls Road south of Owen Sound in Grey County

    MacGregor Point Provincial Park - Bruce County

    Old Shore Road Trail

    6km, linear, easy. This is the parks multi-use access trail stretching the length of the waterfront. The trail provides connections to most of the parks features and shoreline areas.

    Nippissing Bluffs

    Loops, easy-moderate. The trial consists of two connected loops of 1.6km (the easier of the two) and 3.0km. You'll pass through areas of hardwood as well as wetlands.

    Presqu'ile Provincial Park - Central Ontario South

    You'll find 16km of groomed cross-country ski trails in the park located just to the north west of Prince Edward County. From Highway 401 just to the west of Trenton, follow the 30 south to Brighton. In Brighton pick up the 2 west for a very short distance and watch for the sign on your left which will direct you south to the park.

    Sandbanks Provincial Park - Prince Edward County, Ontario East

    There are 11km of trails in Sandbanks Provincial Park which will appeal to novice and intermediate skiers. There is a warming hut on route provided by the Friends of Sandbanks (a donation is a great way to give back).

    Springwater Provincial Park - Simcoe County, Central Ontario North

    The park has three easy interconnected loops with distances of 2.4, 4.0 and 6.0km for a total of 12.4km of trials. The trails work their way through wetlands and forest including the remnants from a nursery which once occupied the area. Simcoe County

    Stoney Island Conservation Area - Saugeen, Grey County

    8km, Beginner-Expert, Skating & Classical. The trails are in a sheltered area of mixed forest are groomed on a regular basis in the winter.

    Voyageur Provincial Park - Ontario East

    10km, Beginner. The park has great groomed beginner and intermediate trails. Starting near the entrance you can ski for hours before retracing your tracks if you willing to break a little trail as well. .

    Wasaga Beach Provincial Park - Blueberry Plains Trails, Simcoe County

    30km, Groomed Loops, Beginner-Expert, Rentals. Loops, Rentals, Warming Hut and Shelters. The trail system works it's way through the dunes area of the park, across the river south of the famous beach. Used for cross country skiing in the winter the trails are a series of loops of varying difficulties. The Monument Hill (4.5km) and the High Dunes Trail (5.8km) are the most strenuous. The High Dunes provides a nice lookout from one of the dunes. For something easy the Blueberry Plains Trail (4.0km) is a good bet. The area's habitat is unique and very fragile, so keep to the trail at all times. Watch for white tailed deer. snowshoe hares and wild turkeys. Access to the trailhead is off of River Road West at Glenwood Drive you head south along Blueberry Trail Access Road. There is parking and a heated shelter in the winter for skiers. About 140km from Toronto. From the 401 take the 400 north to Barrie then take the 26 north to the 27. At Elmvale take the 92 west to the park.

    Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre

    20km Groomed Trails, Rentals. The trails work their way through hardwood forests and rolling hills overlooking the famous wetland. From the 400 north of Barrie take exit 121 and follow Hwy. 93 north through the passed Wyebridge to Hwy. 12. Follow the 12 east and watch for the sign.

    Other Provincial Park with Cross Country Skiing

    Bronte Creek
    Chutes
    Kap-Kig-Iwan
    Frontenac
    Kakabeka Falls
    Kettle Lakes
    Killarney
    Mississagi
    Pinery
    Rene Brunelle
    Rushing River
    Silent Lake
    Sleeping Giant
    Windy Lake

    Other Ontario Conservation Areas with Cross Country Skiing


    Allen Park Management Unit - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
    Backus Heritage Conservation Area - Long Point Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Christie Conservation Area - Hamilton Region Conservation Authority, Hamilton, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Crawford Lake Conservation Area - 500+ Acres, Lakes, Hiking, Access to the Bruce Trail, Halton Region Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Gould Lake
    Headquarters
    Hiawatha Highlands
    Lake Laurentians
    Laurel Creek Conservation Area - Grand River Conservation Area, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Lemoine Point
    Little Cataraqui Creek - Eastern Ontario, Ontario
    Long Sault - Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority ,South Central Ontario, Ontario
    Mac Johnson
    Mill of Kintail
    Mountsberg Conservation Area - 1,100 Acres, Lake, Raptor Center, Halton Region Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Parrott's Bay
    Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area - Grand River Conservation Area, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area - 650 Acres, Lookouts, Climbing, Group Camping, Access to the Bruce Trail, Halton Region Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Shade's Mills Conservation Area - Grand River Conservation Area, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Stoney Island Conservation Area - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, North Central Ontario, Ontario

     
      Snowboarding & Skiing

    Beaver Valley - Alpine Ski Club & Resort (membership) , Snowboarding, Downhill Skiing, 12km Cross Country, 500ft Vertical, 6 Lifts/Tows, Night Skiing, Glades, Terrain Park, School, Racing, Rentals, Chalet, Cafeteria, Lounge. From the south follow the 10 through Shelburne to Flesherton and head east on the 4, then north on the 13. Take the 30 west to the hill south of Kimberly. Kimberly, Grey County

     
     
     

    Blue Mountain - Snowboarding, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Mountain Biking (Chairlift) Hiking, 720ft Vertical, Night Skiing, 12 Lifts/Tows, Boarding Park, Super Pipe, Rentals, School, Kids Program, Lodges, Cafeterias, Onsite Accomodations, Dining and Shopping. From the south take the 400 north to Barrie and take exit 98 to the 26. Follow the 26 west passed Collingwood about 11km to Blue Mountain Road and the Resort. Restaurants and accommodations are available at the resort and in Collingwood. Collingwood, Simcoe County

    Boler Mountain (London Ski Club) - Snowboarding, Skiing, Mountain Biking, Telemark Skiing, Hiking - London, Ontario

    Chicopee - Snowboarding, Skiing, Kitchener, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario

    Devil's Elbow - Snowboarding, Skiing, XC Skiing, Telemark Skiing, Hiking - Bethany, Ontario

    Glen Eden - Snowboarding, Skiing - Milton, Ontario - Glen Eden is located just to the west of Toronto in the Southwestern Region of the province. From Toronto follow the 401 west and take exit 320 to pick up the 25. Take the 25 to No. 5 Sideroad to Tremaine Road south until you reach Kelso Road which will take you to the hill.

    Hidden Valley Highlands - Snowboarding, Skiing, Night Skiing, School, Racing, Rentals, Cafeteria, Daycare, Lounge, Onsite Accomodations. From the south follow the 400 north passed Barrie to the split, then follow the 11 to the 60.. Turn off on Hidden Valley Road about six kilometres before Huntsville. Huntsville, Muskoka

    Hockley Valley - Snowboarding, Skiing, Orangeville, Ontario. Hockley Valley is located just to the northeast of Orangeville in Southwestern Ontario. Location Map

    Horseshoe Resort - Snow Boarding, Skiing, Cross Country, 310ft Vertical, Seven Lifts/Tows, Night Skiing, Terrain Park, School, Racing, Tubing Park, Accomodations & Dining Onsite. From the south follow the 400 north and take exit 117 east, then head south on Horseshoe Valley Road to the resort. Simcoe County

    Loch Lomond - Snowboarding, Skiing, 750ft Vertical , Thunder Bay, Ontario. Loch Lomond is located outside Thunder Bay, north of Lake Superior in the Northwestern Region of Ontario. Follow the 61 south 10 minutes passed the airport take Loch Lomond Road to the left and watch for the ski hill about 3km further on.

    Mont St Louis Moonstone - Snowboarding, Downhill Skiing, Snowboard Park, Vertical 500ft, 13 Lifts/Tows, Magic Carpet, School, Rentals, Cafeterias, Lounge, Lodge, Off site Accomodations, Child Care, Kids Program. From the south take the 400 north passed Barrie about 25km to exit 131. Follow Mount St. Louis Road to the hill. Barrie (Coldwater), Simcoe County

    Superior Slopes - Marathon, Ontario

    Talisman - Snow Boarding, Skiing, Cross Country, 600ft Vertical, 9 Lifts/Tows, Boarding Park, Rentals, School, Snow Tubing, Kids Program, Lodge, Cafeteria, Spa, Dining & Accomodations Onsite. From the south follow the 10 (or 410 to the 10) through Shelburne to Flesherton. Head east on the 4, then take the 13 north to the 7 just passed Kimberly where you'll see the to the resort. Kimberly, Grey County

    Dog Sledding

  • Dogsledding in Algonquin
  • Call of the Wild
  • James Bay & Temagami
  • Muskokas
  •  
      Snow Shoeing
    • Algonquin - There is a dedicated snow shoeing trail just off of the Minnising Trail and of course the whole park is open to possibilities. All the trails except the ski trails can be used for snowshoeing. Inquire with the park (or better still help support the Friends of Algonquin by purchasing a trail description - See the Literature section to find trails that are suitable to your skill and fitness level. Of course the rest of the park is accessible too but ensure you have the orienteering skills, map and compass before you venture off trail.
    • Arrowhead Provincial Park - Designated snowshoe trail in the form of the Stubb's Falls Trail which starts at Arrowhead Lake. Take the 400 to the 11 just passed Barrie and continue on 5km passed the town of Huntsville to the park. Huntsville, Muskoka
     
     
    • Blue Mountain - From the south take the 400 north to Barrie and take exit 98 to the 26. Follow the 26 west passed Collingwood about 11km to Blue Mountain Road and the Resort. Restaurants and accommodations are available at the resort and in Collingwood.
    • Grandview Hotel - Varying lengths, mixed hardwood and red pine forests, Take the 400 north from the 401 just passed Barrie, where you'll pick up the 11 into Huntsville. Huntsville, Muskoka
    • Hardwood Hills - 13.5km, full facilities. Two dedicated snowshoe trails, the Wilderness Trail (6km) and the Meadowlands Trail (7.5) both wander through a nicely forested area. From the 401 take the 400 north, take exit 111 east on Doran Road. Watch for Edgar which will take you into the center. Simcoe County
    • Presquile Provincial Park - East of Toronto about 2 hrs. Take the 401 to Brighton and follow the 30 south into the Park
    • Sandbanks Provincial Park - East of Toronto about 3 hrs. Take the 401 to Brighton then follow the 62 south to the 12 which will take you to the park.
    • Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre - Designated snowshoe trail, rentals. The trail their way through hardwood forests and rolling hills overlooking the famous wetland. From the 400 north of Barrie take exit 121 and follow Hwy. 93 north through the passed Wyebridge to Hwy. 12. Follow the 12 east and watch for the sign. - Hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, Simcoe County

    Conservation Areas with Snowshoeing


    Allen Park Management Unit - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Central Ontario North, Ontario
    Backus Heritage Conservation Area - Long Point Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Christie Conservation Area - Hamilton Region Conservation Authority, Hamilton, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Crawford Lake Conservation Area - 500+ Acres, Lakes, Hiking, Access to the Bruce Trail, Halton Region Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Gould Lake
    Headquarters
    Hiawatha Highlands
    Lake Laurentians
    Laurel Creek Conservation Area - Grand River Conservation Area, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Lemoine Point
    Little Cataraqui Creek - Eastern Ontario, Ontario
    Long Sault - Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority ,South Central Ontario, Ontario
    Mac Johnson
    Mill of Kintail
    Mountsberg Conservation Area - 1,100 Acres, Lake, Raptor Center, Halton Region Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Parrott's Bay
    Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area - Grand River Conservation Area, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area - 650 Acres, Lookouts, Climbing, Group Camping, Access to the Bruce Trail, Halton Region Conservation Authority, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Shade's Mills Conservation Area - Grand River Conservation Area, Southwestern Ontario, Ontario
    Stoney Island Conservation Area - Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, North Central Ontario, Ontario

    Yurts

    Winter Camping

     

     

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