With a typical winter lasting four months or more, Northeastern Ontario is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to get out snowshoeing. Not only is it an easy sport to master, especially if you’re a little bowlegged, but it’s an inexpensive one as well—and you don’t even need a proper trail to enjoy it. In fact breaking trail can be a wonderful form of exercise and a fun way to spend a day outdoors. Find an open field, a frozen lake, or the quiet of the woods and explore.
But not everyone likes to break trail and if that sounds like work to you then elect to try some of the numerous dedicated snowshoeing trails located across Northeastern Ontario.
Here’s a round-up of resorts and lodges offering snowshoeing trails.
Porcupine Ski Runners out of Timmins offers six snowshoe loops across all levels of difficulty. Most of the loops are just over a kilometre in length but it’s easy to link the loops, so in total you could snowshoe over 10km. Adults can rent snowshoes for $7/day while kids are just $1/day. A trail pass is $4/adult. Warm up in the new Xstrata Copper Chalet.
In Iroquois Falls, a 5km dog-friendly snowshoe trail through the forest is an alternative to the cross-country ski trails that are part of the Iroquois Falls Cross-Country Ski Club. Adults can rent snowshoes for $5, kids for $2 and trail passes are $7 for adults and $5 for students.
In Cochrane, look for three signed snowshoe trails (no dogs allowed here) nestled among the cross-country ski trails at the Cochrane Cross-Country Ski Club. It’s $10 cash (honour system only) to access the trails.
At the BioSki Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Club in Sudbury enjoy a beautiful day outside on a 5km dedicated snowshoe trail in the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. You’ll likely see the tracks of snowshoe hares and red squirrels but don’t forget to stop and listen for chickadees, woodpeckers, and ruffed grouse. On weekends you can rent snowshoes for $5 per pair and warm up in a heated cottage. Trail fees are voluntary—but your $2 will help support the club. Leave it in the trailhead donation box.
Also near Sudbury at the Sportsman’s Lodge Wilderness Resort you’ll find two groomed snowshoe trails—7 km and 3 km respectively in length. Another option is to break trail and explore the north end of Kukagmi Lake or any of the back lakes.
In North Bay the North Bay Nordic Ski Club offers three snowshoe trails varying from a kilometre to 3.2km. As you weave through the forest and over frozen swamps, look for the tracks of snowshoe hares, deer, marten and even wolf. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll see a pileated woodpecker. For those of you wanting a real workout choose the Lookout Trail. There’s a reward too—stellar views over Lake Nipissing. Both trail and snowshoe rental fees are $5 per adult. Kids 12 and under can snowshoe for free.
Close to Temagami at the Northland Paradise Lodge you can walk out the front door and snowshoe for an entire day—on ungroomed tracks but in a world of magnificent old growth pine forest. Rentals are available.
Up in Kapuskasing at the Kap Nordic Skiers Club you’ll find 10km of trails including the Camp 1 Trail that takes you along the river. Most of the trails are loops with only minor overlapping. There is a warming chalet at the start of the trails. Fees are only $5 per day.
No matter where you choose to go snowshoeing, leave prepared. Always take warm clothing—even if it’s not a cold day—along with water and extra food, matches and fire starter as well as a map, compass and/or GPS. A whistle, Swiss Army type knife, and a headlamp are also useful additions to your knapsack.