Winter has arrived in Northeastern Ontario and instead of watching the snow gently fall (or blow) from the comfort of your house, it’s time to get out and enjoy that fluffy white stuff. Luckily it’s not hard to enjoy the snow here and one of the most inexpensive and fun ways to enjoy it is snowshoeing. So what are you waiting for? Bundle up, strap on those snowshoes and hit the trails at one of these Top 5 snowshoe destinations in Northeastern Ontario.
1. Porcupine Ski Runners
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Located in the Timmins area, there are a total of six snowshoe trails located on right on Porcupine Ski Runners property, and they range from 1 km in length to 3.7 km. There is one easy trail that is 1.1 km long, three moderate trails from 1.0 km to 2.3 km, one hard loop that runs 1.2 km and one difficult trail that is 3.7 km long. Snowshoe rentals are available daily for $7 for adults and $5 for children. There is also a fee for non-members to use the trail.
Overall, a day of snowshoeing here costs about $12 per adult. This club also runs a variety of guided programs throughout the winter including an evening snowshoe on Tuesday nights.
2. McLean’s Park
Northeastern Ontario boasts many snowshoe destinations, but none so unique as McLean’s Park, located on Manitoulin Island in the Township of Assiginack. This 100-acre park features four beautiful trails that run through the woods, all groomed for snowshoeing. What makes these trails stand out is the variety of forests—including deciduous and evergreen—as well as the signage throughout pointing out the different types of trees. Some of these trees like the ironwood are only found in a few spots on Manitoulin.
Visitors don’t have to worry about bringing their own snowshoes here as the park has over 100 pairs for rent. Choose to rent them for up to four days at absolutely no cost. With sizes ranging from age two to 102, anyone can enjoy this free winter activity. It doesn’t get much better than snowshoeing your way through the woods on a crisp winter morning with the sun sparkling through the trees. So you just need to show up—the shoes are provided free of charge, the trails are groomed, and there are signs to help you out. It’s basically perfect.
3. The Canadian Ecology Centre
The Canadian Ecology Centre is a place for learning and living as well as snowshoeing in the Mattawa region. While this may not be the first spot you think of in terms of winter sports, it should be.
Located in Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, the park trails and roads are used for snowshoeing in the winter. There are lovely vistas of the Mattawa River, Moore Lake and Long Lake to enjoy. The trails range from easy to difficult here and visitors are invited to enter the park and use the trails free of charge. The centre does provide snowshoes to guests that stay at the cabins overnight. If you are just visiting for the day, plan on bringing your own snowshoes.
4. Sunset Bay Inn
If you are looking for somewhere to snowshoe and spend a couple days, Sunset Bay Inn is the perfect option. With the option to rent by the room or the entire place, you can bring as many as eight friends to enjoy a weekend away.
Snowshoes are provided for free for guests who stay here and there are multiple trails to choose from including a beautiful trail on the lake as well as one that runs through the woods. If you would rather try your hand at organized snowshoeing, head to the Iroquois Falls Cross Country Ski Club located just 8 km away.
5. Friends of Killarney Park
It’s International Mountain Day today..! The La Cloche Mountains, at the heart of Killarney Provincial Park, are the only range of hills named “mountains” in Ontario. Killarney is a winter playground, with groomed XC ski trails, unending snowshoeing opportunities, heated yurts and cabins for rent, and amazing winter scenery. #internationalmountainday #killarneyprovincialpark #laclochemountains #ontarioparks #ontario #winter #landscapephotography #snowshoeing #xcskiing #yurtlife #yurts #cabin #northernontario #snow #mountains
The non-profit organization Friends of Killarney Park helps keep Killarney Provincial Park “wild” by protecting the ecosystem, the habitats of species in the park and by connecting people with nature. One of the ways they do this is by encouraging visitors to get out and enjoy the trails during the wintertime. Snowshoe rentals are available for just $10 a day or $25 for the weekend and can be found at the park office.
There are also six heated yurts available for rent year-round for those weekend getaways. Throughout the trails, snowshoers should plan on catching glimpses of deer, owls and many species of birds. February 18th & 19th, the Friends of Killarney hold a winter weekend with guided snowshoe treks, a BBQ lunch and a presentation by explorer and adventurer, Adam Shoalts.
And an Honourable Mention Goes to…
With a name like “Ski Club,” people are often surprised that Laurentian Nordic Ski Club (located in the City of Greater Sudbury) actually has a snowshoe program. Teaming up with Laurentian University Outdoor Education Department, this ski club boasts over 50 km of trails. The marked snowshoe trails connect to other trail networks including the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area and BioSki trails. Snowshoes are available to rent here for $10 for the entire day.
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Sudbury, it feels as though you are deep in the wilderness on these trails, when really you are never more than 1 km away from civilization and safety. This is truly a great snowshoe destination for beginners.