THE BEST PARKS AND TRAILS FOR SNOWSHOEING IN ONTARIO
Text by: Quartz Co. Editorial Team
Snowshoeing is one of the most accessible winter sports out there. The only prerequisite is being able to walk for a sustained period of time, and the equipment needed is minimal. You need only a pair of snowshoes to start exploring Ontario’s forests and backcountry and discover breathtaking Canadian landscapes off the beaten track. It's easy to purchase a pair of new or used snowshoes or to rent them. Arrowhead, Frontenac, Pinery, Wasaga Beach, Killarney, and Windy Lake Parks all offer snowshoe rental services and have designated snowshoe trails, while MacGregor Point is a good option if you prefer to purchase your own pair. Ready to get out and enjoy the snowy trails this winter season? Discover some of our favorite snowshoeing destinations across Ontario.
Algonquin Park is the perfect place to try out snowshoeing for the first time. The Logging Museum Trail is an easy 1.3 km loop, with a few gradual hills, but if you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can head for the Hemlock Bluff Trail, a 3.5 km loop taking you to a cliff that overlooks the lake. The park’s visitors’ center is open on weekends all year-round, and daily during March Break. You are free to snowshoe along any of the hiking trails except the cross-country ski trails.
Chutes Park is just as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer - if anything, the rush of the water seems even more impressive when surrounded by ice and snow. The park is gated, but you can put on your snowshoes on and just walk in. The views of the Aux Sables River are spectacular in winter and the many waterfalls and cataracts along its banks are especially scenic. The 6 km Twin Bridges Trail takes about 2 hours to complete and follows the river to lookouts at the falls and the Seven Sisters Cataracts. Make the most of your hike with interpretive panels at the Falls Lookout or with the interpretive trail guide available.
For unbelievable views of the Georgian Bay, head to the Collingwood suspension bridge, the longest of its kind in southern Ontario. Choose between three trails of increasing difficulty ranging from 1 to 10 kilometers. All trail options will lead you across the suspension bridge, at the top of which you can admire the winter horizon with 360-degree views. For an original experience, you can book a guided night snowshoe hike and explore the trails beneath the moon and the stars.
A passionate group of art and nature lovers are dedicated to maintaining the Group of Seven Lake Superior Trail, in the Marathon area. Linking some of the Group of Seven’s painting sites, the Trail stretches from Pukaskwa National Park to Neys Provincial Park, following Lake Superior’s northern shoreline. Take in the vistas that inspired this internationally renowned group of Canadian artists to meet up and paint every autumn between 1921 and 1928. Who knows you might leave with an urge to put your brush to the canvas for yourself!
The Torrance Barrens Conservation Area, in Muskoka, was designated in 1999 as the world’s first permanent Dark Sky Preserve. This 4,700-acre area’s trees and bushes are stunted in height, allowing for an optimal view of the skies. Snowshoe enthusiasts will love discovering the trail once the sun sets and gaze up at the spectacular starry night sky. Make sure you check that the skies are clear before you go to guarantee the best views!
The 500-km Loring Deer Yard in Loring-Restoule is home to one of Ontario’s largest herds of white-tailed deer, who congregate in the area during the winter when the snow gets too deep to find food in their usual feeding spots. Discreet and quiet snowshoers might be rewarded with glimpses of the herd looking for sustenance in the hemlock, which makes Loring Deer Yard a great wildlife destination.
Stay warm and comfortable while out on the trails! Make sure you have packed the appropriate equipment for your hike and that you’re wearing a high-quality, water-resistant winter jacket. Quartz Co. offers a great selection of warm winter jackets that will suit your needs for your adventure.