Top 10 Must-Ski Spots in Ontario’s Cottage Country

With winter really getting into the swing of things in Eastern Canada, it’s time to start planning your winter outdoor adventure getaway. And for many of us, getting outdoors in the winter means strapping on a pair of cross-country skis. In Ontario’s Cottage Country, outdoor adventurers can take advantage of some of the best cross-country skiing terrain in the country – here are a Cottage Country skiing spots that you should add to your must-ski list.

Algonquin Park (Map 70, 71)

Algonquin Park makes an awesome cold weather destination and, during the winter, there are plenty of trails to explore. The Leaf Lake area is home to 46 km (29 mi) of groomed trails while the Fen Lake Ski Trail offers a further 18 km (11 mi). The Minnesing Bike Trail becomes a groomed winter ski trail and features four loops totaling up to 32 km (20 mi). In addition to these dedicated trails, summer hiking trails are open and are ideally suited to snowshoeing. Visitors can also break their own trail, exploring even more of the park, and Mew Lake is open for winter camping and has yurts to rent!

 

Image via explorersedge.ca

Arrowhead Provincial Park (Map 69/C7)

Just outside of Huntsville, Arrowhead is a popular year-round destination. Skiers will find 33 km (20.5 mi) of groomed trails including a combination of classic and skate routes and a section lit for night skiing. There are also 8 km (5 mi) of snowshoe trails and, every winter, a 1.3 km ice skating trail offers even more fun.

 

Photo via explorersedge.ca

Copeland Forest Management Area (Map 21/A3)

Just north of Barrie, Copeland Forest is accessed off Ingram Road and offers 25 km (15.5 mi) of dual track and a further 50 km (31 mi) of single-track trails. The trails, which range from easy to moderate, can be enjoyed by skiers, snowshoers and fat bike riders.

 

Photo via: Eastern Canada Backroad GPS Maps

Foley Mountain Conservation Area (Map 44/C6)

While the 10 km (6.2 mi) of trails in the Foley Mountain Conservation Area are not groomed, they do make excellent snowshoe trails. Ranging from nice and flat to more challenging hill climbs, the trails offers some scenic views of Upper Rideau Lake and Westport.

 

Photo via: Cottage Country Backroad Mapbook

Frontenac Provincial Park (Map 30/A4)

A great destination for winter camping, Frontenac is home to 10 km (6.2 mi) of groomed cross-country ski trails that either follow or parallel the Big Salmon Lake Road. The park also has 100 km (62 mi) of hiking trails that offer access to the backcountry with the chance for multi-day excursions.

 

Photo via: Eastern Canada Backroad GPS Maps

Ganaraska Forest (Map 13/C6)

East of Orono and Highway 115, the Ganaraska Forest features over 35 km (22 mi) of groomed, track set ski trails during the winter. Snowshoers will also find both a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) and an 8 km (5 mi) loop to explore. The forested terrain offers challenges for all ski abilities. Snowshoe rentals are available on-site and a canteen is open on week-ends.

 

Photo via ontarioskitrails.com 

Ottawa Area Trails (Map 60, 78)

The Ottawa area is home to plenty of winter trails. Found on the west side of Kanata, the Kanata Lakes Trails, accessed off Richardson Sideroad and the Gouldbourn Forest Road offer 20 km (12.5 mi) of routes. The Kanata Nordic Ski Club offers a further 18 km (11 mi) of trails in Wesley Clover Park. Skiers and snowshoers can also head to Shirley’s Bay with 27 km (17 mi) of trails and Stoney Swamp with a further 35 km (22 mi) or across the river to Gatineau Park.

 

Photo via explore-mag.com

Silent Lake Provincial Park (Map 39/E2)

Home to great summer mountain bike trails, this park near Apsley offers 40 km (25 mi) of groomed cross-country ski trails spread over a four-loop system in the winter. Trails are open to snowshoers and fat bike riders as well. The park also has eight yurts for winter camping.

 

Photo via ontarioparks.com

Silver Spoon Trails (Map 106/D5)

Up the Ottawa Valley in the Petawawa/Deep River area, the Silver Spoon Trails offer 20 km (12.5 mi) of groomed and 10 km (6.2 mi) of ungroomed trails. Snowshoe trails weave through the ski trails. Balmer’s Bay Road cuts through the trail network, with the easier trails on the north side and more difficult routes to the south. South of Chalk River, the Petawawa Forest Reserve Trails offer a further 25.5 km (16 mi) of ungroomed trails for both skiers and snowshoers.

 

Photo via: Cottage Country Backroad Mapbook

Wasaga Beach Nordic Centre (Map 20/B4)

Ranging from easy to difficult, 30 km (19 mi) of groomed, looped trails wind their way through the dunes area of Wasaga Beach Provincial Park. A further 10 km (6.2 mi) of snowshoe trails are located here. A visitor centre located off the Blueberry Trail has washrooms, a snack bar and a fireplace for warming up.

 

Photo via: ontarioskitrails.com


For detailed information on these and even more Cottage Country cross-country skiing destinations, be sure to pick up our Cottage Country Ontario Backroad Mapbook!

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