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The 9 Best Snowshoeing Trails in Ontario

SAIL

January 24, 2022

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Snowshoeing is a fantastic way to venture into the bush and enjoy picturesque snowy vistas off the beaten path, or to springboard yourself further into the backcountry where more remote winter camping possibilities open up! Ontario offers an extraordinary range of incredible snowshoeing destinations that we’ve included in our list below, though your own snowy local parks, hiking trails and conservation areas, that all make for great places to strap on a pair of snowshoes and to get outside to enjoy some exercise.

Article written by Chris Prouse, outdoor content creator

In this article, Chris Prouse offers 9 recommendations for some of the best places to go snowshoeing in the province of Ontario. Before you get started, make sure you have your pair of snowshoes, and get ready to head out!

Algonquin Provincial Park
Killarney Provincial Park
Frontenac Provincial Park
Charleston Lake Provincial Park
Arrowhead provincial Park
Ice Caves of Lake Superior
Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve
Crown Land
Lure of the North’s Guided Snowshoe Tours

Snowshoes
Outdoor gear

Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park

Photo credit: Ontario Parks

Algonquin Park is Canada’s oldest provincial park, spanning some 7000 square kilometers of beautiful remote wilderness with 2400 lakes throughout its far reaches. Algonquin offers an exceptional number of trails and expansive lookouts that are accessible via the Highway 60 corridor running through it, and its 7.5 km Track & Tower trail with incredible views overlooking Cache Lake should be near the top of your list! Please note, there are stair sections of the route which will require you to take off your snowshoes, but it’s well worth the view. Other notable areas around the park include the 1.6 km Barron Canyon hiking trail, and the 3.5 km Hemlock Bluff Trail. Like most of Ontario’s provincial parks, you’ll need to purchase either a permit for your vehicle or make a camping reservation, both of which we recommend securing ahead of time. Be sure to come prepared with a good layering system, including a base layer that can pull moisture away from your skin as you generate body heat during your ascent, and consider an ultralight pair of snowshoes if you plan on getting out frequently this season.

We recommend taking an offline map with you as there’s often limited cellphone reception within the park, and using your phone’s GPS with a downloaded offline map as a backup. Please also note that many of Algonquin’s trails with beautiful lookouts from high vantage points do not include safety rails, so they may not be suitable for young children. And for the more experienced (heading further off the beaten path into the park’s remote backcountry), it’s especially important to always let someone know where you plan on going, and we recommend carrying an emergency satellite communication device, multiple maps, and a GPS navigation tool if your emergency communication device doesn’t already have a navigation feature built in. In any event, stay safe and consider snowshoeing with a buddy in the backcountry!

Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney Provincial Park

Photo credit: Ontario Parks

Killarney is another gem in Ontario’s provincial park lineup and considered by many to be the crown jewel of Ontario’s provincial parks, known for its mountainous views of white quartzite and the iconic pink granite shores that are part of the broader geologic Canadian Shield. The park’s 2 km Granite Ridge trail is a fantastic place to start with views overlooking the surrounding La Cloche mountains and Georgian Bay. Next, and a more adventurous climb, “The Crack” trail is considered by many to be the best hike in Southern Ontario – it’s a popular place to get above it all with beautiful views of the surrounding lakes and neighboring Silver Peak. At 7.6 km long, depending on the conditions and how recent the last snowfall was, you may also consider bringing a pair of hiking boots and microspikes to aid your ascent while scrambling over rocks in some places.

Frontenac Provincial Park

Frontenac Provincial Park

Photo credit: Ontario Parks

Frontenac Provincial Park has an incredibly vast, rich network of trails that weave throughout its far reaches, making it a fantastic place to choose your own snowshoe adventure between weaving paths that cross one another. Much of the remote interiors of other parks like Algonquin and Killarney tend to more traveled by established canoe routes and portages during the summer (unless you’d like to forge your own path through the bush during winter, or are experienced enough to safely judge weather it’s safe to cross frozen lakes), though Frontenac’s extensive network of trails make it a fantastic place for repeated snowshoe adventures assembled from neighbouring trails that cross paths with each other. We recommend starting with the park’s scenic 3 km Doe Lake Trail that offers a great mix of lake views, scenic lookouts and forested sections, and then expanding outward from there.

Charleston Lake Provincial Park

Charleston Lake Provincial Park

Photo credit: Chris Prouse

Outside of Algonquin Park, Charleston Lake’s 12.2 km Tallow Rock Trail is one of this author’s favourite places to snowshoe! The full loop takes people through several beautiful areas that range from pine forests, to scenic lookouts, along expansive views of Charleston Lake itself, and also weaves around smaller picturesque lakes nestled in the forest. The park’s shorter 2.7 km Quiddity Trail also affords snowshoers with a relatively short and more accessible view of the area that’s worth checking out too. Many of these trails and lookouts are abundant in bird and other wildlife sightings, so you may also consider bringing a pair of binoculars to help you spot them – SAIL carries an extensive range of binoculars from which to select.

Arrowhead Provincial Park

Arrowhead Provincial Park

Photo credit: Ontario Parks

Known for an array of family-oriented winter activities, Arrowhead’s 2 km Stubb’s Falls loop near Huntsville is a fantastic place for young families to get started with snowshoeing together, along with wonderful places to skate on paths through the forest, cross-country ski and winter camp, all with helpful amenities nearby. Enjoy playing in the snow with friends and family by making a day out of it exploring what the park has to offer. The lookout view over Big Bend on the Big East River is worth checking out while you’re there, too!

Snowshoeing Through the Ice Caves of Lake Superior

For those looking for a more unique snowshoeing experience, Lake Superior’s northeastern shores offer some truly stunning views of spectacular naturally occurring ice caves, which can be explored with the help of an experienced guide to keep you safe. Located in the heart of the Algoma district, Stokely Creek Lodge offers guests an opportunity to see them up close while also exploring other interesting features like frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. We recommend checking ahead to see what seasonal tours are being offered and you might consider a longer stay to experience their other beautiful views along mountain trails or do a little cross country skiing, followed by a relaxing evening back at the lodge afterwards.

Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve

Limberlost

Photo credit: Chris Prouse

Nestled in the heart of Muskoka near Huntsville, the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve’s 8.5 km Buck Lake Trail is a beloved place among locals to get out snowshoeing. The reserve is known for its abundant wildlife sightings and is situated along a secluded bird sanctuary. The other fantastic thing about the reserve is that their trails are free to use! Pack a lunch along with a warm thermos of hot chocolate or tea, and enjoy discovering some beautiful views across gorgeous snow-covered frozen lakes. For longer snowshoe hikes where you may be carrying some extra gear with you, consider taking a hiking pack with a customizable hip belt, shoulder straps and chest trap to help make your trek more comfortable.

Crown Land

If you’re looking for a snowshoeing experience further off the beaten path and you’d rather not venture into the remote backcountry of Ontario’s provincial parks, then look no further than Ontario’s Crown Land! Crown land is public land which Canadian residents are permitted to camp on or use for free with some exceptions. Ontario maintains an online Crown Land Use Policy Atlas to help find areas that you can use, though please keep in mind it requires some independent research, due diligence and adherence to some terms of use that you’ll need to abide by. Be sure to use the land responsibly and leave no trace – other than your own footprints in the snow, of course!

Lure of the North’s Guided Snowshoe Tours

For those who are looking for a longer, more remote guided snowshoeing adventure, Lure of the North based near Espanola is a fantastic operation that takes folks far off the grid into remote northern forests – they’re absolutely passionate about winter travel and have taken many on what can be best described as the journey of a lifetime! Their guided tours often book up well in advance (sometimes years in advance!) so this one might be worth considering longer-term if you’ve been bitten by the snowshoeing bug and want to go on an epic journey with a group of like-minded adventure seekers who are looking to learn and explore their potential together. 

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