With snow arriving as early as mid-November and sticking around until April in much of the province, outdoor explorers in Ontario can't just hibernate like the bears do. Fortunately, there are countless amazing destinations for winter adventure in Ontario that will have you wishing the season lasted all year. From tourist-friendly activities like ice skating on the Rideau Canal to the many cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that lead you deep into Ontario's enchanting wilderness, there is a winter adventure for every type of explorer here.

 

Killarney Provincial Park Ski Trails. Map courtesy of North Western Ontario Backroad Mapbook

 

One of the most popular provincial parks in our Northeastern Ontario Backroad Mapbook and home to some of the best hiking trails and canoe routes in the province is Killarney Provincial Park. A winter wonderland for cross-country skiers when the snow flies, Killarney Provincial Park boasts over 35 km (21 mi)  of ski trails, ranging from easy to difficult. We suggest taking the 14 km (8.7 mi) Collins Inlet Trail, which leads you through mature pine forest, through open snowy fields and over frozen marshland, giving you access to a section of the park that is inaccessible in summer months.

 

Killarney Provincial Park. Photo Credit: Oleksandra Budna

 

The mighty Algonquin Park is one of the jewels of the Ontario Parks system and is found less than three hour drive from Ottawa and Toronto. Featured in our Cottage Country Ontario Backroad Mapbook, Algonquin Park becomes a snowshoers dream when the winter arrives. While the park is vast, visitors need go no further than the Highway 60 corridor. There are plenty of snowshoe trails along the highway, while the park's many frozen lakes offer new areas to explore that would be inaccessible by foot in the summer. A fresh snowfall offers plenty of opportunity to spot animal tracks for some cold weather wildlife viewing, with deer, moose, foxes, otters and many other creatures found here in abundance. If you are new to Algonquin Park, contact Algonquin Bound Outfitters, whose east gate location is open year round, for conditions and advice.

 

Algonquin Park Snowshoe Trails Map courtesy of Cottage Country Ontario Backroad Mapbook

 

Winter offers amazing scenery along the shoreline of Lake Superior. When the temperature drops, caves along the shore become covered in snow and ice, creating beautiful ice sculptures. Strap on a set of snowshoes, grab your Northeastern Ontario Backroad Mapbook and head out along the shore to explore these natural creations. Alona Bay, Coppermine Point and Red Rock are all excellent Northern Ontario ice cave destinations.

 

Red Rock Ice Caves. Photo Credit: Sheri Minardi

 

Imagine a hiking trail running through a beautiful Muskoka forest, but instead of trudging along in a pair of hiking boots you get to glide through the woods on a pair of skates. Found in our Cottage Country Ontario Backroad Mapbook, Arrowhead Provincial Park boasts a 1.3 km ice trail that lets you do exactly this. The park has become so popular that it reaches capacity early in the day on weekends and vehicles are often turned away. Plan on a mid-week visit or check out the “Fire and Ice” evenings where the Arrowhead Ice Trail trail is lit by tiki torches along its entire route.

 

Arrowhead Ice Trail. Map courtesy of Cottage Country Ontario Backroad Mapbook

 

Located in our Northwestern Ontario Backroad Mapbook, Orient Bay is found in the southeast corner of Lake Nipigon and is considered one of the top ice climbing destinations in North America. The canyon offers up over 100 climbing routes that range from 20 to 100 metres (65 to 330 ft) in height, and most are just a fifteen minute walk from Highway 11. Even if you don't climb, it's worth a visit just for the scenery, and to check out some of the pros in action. There is an Ice Festival every winter, and this year will be held from March 2-4th.

 

Orient Bay Ice Climbing. Photo Credit: visitnorthwestontario.com

 

Fat bikes are basically mountain bikes with extra-large tires that allow you to ride comfortably over snow. This is one of the fastest-growing winter activities in the country and is a great way to get outdoors. For those in Cottage Country, Limberlost Forest, located east of Huntsville, has over 70 km of woodland trails open for winter activities. In Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay has been a hub for fat bikes from the beginning and has plenty of trails to offer, including Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

 

Fat Bike Trail Riding: LimberlostMap courtesy of Cottage Country Ontario Backroad Mapbook

 

The Hamilton area in Southern Ontario is home to an abundance of waterfalls. In fact, there are actually over one hundred waterfalls in this region. Many of these waterfalls are found along sections of the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment and most are within easy walking distance of parking access. When the water freezes during the winter, these falls become even more impressive. Some of the highlights in the area include Albion Falls in Hamilton, Devil's Punchbowl Falls in Stoney Creek and Tews Falls in Dundas.

 

Albion Falls. Photo Credit: tripadvisor.ca

 

Located in our Southern Ontario Backroad Mapbook, Bruce Peninsula National Park is one of Ontario's favourite winter destinations. A section of the park campground remains open throughout the year for those wanting to do a little winter camping,  and hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities abound.  A definite highlight for winter explorers here is the the Grotto, also known as Indian Head Cove. The trails are not maintained, so watch your step and don't get too close to any cliff edges, no matter how amazing the scenery may be.

 

Bruce Peninsula National Park. Map courtesy of Southern Ontario Backroad Mapbook

 

Known as the World's Largest Skating Rink, the 7.8 km canal stretches from downtown Ottawa to Dows Lake. Opening times vary each winter based on weather conditions and it can get a bit crowded, but taking a skate down the canal is a must-do for any visitor to the city. After you're done skating, a Beaver Tail at the end won't hurt either.

 

Rideau Canal. Photo Credit: ottawatourism.ca

 

A busy canoeing destination during the summer months, Northwestern Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park gets remarkably quiet once the snow falls. With an impressive network of maintained ski and snowshoe trails leading out from the Dawson Trail Campground, Quetico Provincial Park is the perfect destination for winter adventure in Ontario. If you want to get the full northern experience, plan to rent a rustic cabin and spend a night or two in this winter wonderland.

 

Quetico Provincial Park. Map courtesy of North Western Ontario Backroad Mapbook

 

 

 



 

You can find all of these Ontario winter adventures in our Backroad Mapbooks and GPS Maps, and our handy store locator can show you exactly where to pick one up.

 

 

Did we miss your favourite winter adventure in Ontario? Let us know in the comments below or share your own adventures with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to be featured on our feed and win prizes.