Where To Go Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing in the GTA

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When the snow falls, skis or snowshoes are the ideal way to travel. In the city, you can ski at parks and on multi-use trails. But just a short drive from Toronto you can find a number of conservation centres and natural areas with excellent trails groomed just for cross-country skiing, many with rentals for kids and adults.

Unless otherwise indicated, rentals refer to ski equipment only. Always call ahead to find out about snow conditions and opening hours.

See this map online.

Halton and Hamilton

Dundas Valley Conservation Area

Near Hamilton, this natural area has 40 km of multi-use trails. Horses, cyclists, and pedestrians share the trail with skiiers and snowshoers. These trails may be too rugged for younger or less-experienced skiiers.

650 Governors Rd., Dundas
905-627-1233

Mountsberg Conservation Area

The 14 km of ungroomed trails along the edge of the Mountsberg Reservoir and through wooded areas are easy skiing for kids and beginners. It’s also home to the Raptor Centre, where you can see up to two dozen birds of prey.

2259 Milburough Line, Campbellville
905-854-2276

Hilton Falls Conservation Area

Beautiful groomed trails cut through forest and open meadows, along 16 km, suitable for beginners. It’s dog-friendly, too!

Rentals available
4985 Campbellville Rd., Milton
905-854-0262

Crawford Lake Conservation Area

Check out the evening snowshoe hikes for families in January and February at this conservation area. There are 19 km of trails for skiing or snowshoeing here.

3115 Conservation Rd., Milton
905-854-0234

Peel

Albion Hills Conservation Area

Find options for beginner- to advanced-level skiiers and everyone in between among the 26 km of groomed trails at this 446-hectare forested conservation area. Bonus: a heated chalet, plus tobogganing and ice-skating. Rentals available.

Rentals available
16500 Highway 50, Bolton
416-667-6295

Palgrave Trail

The trail winds its way over hills and through valleys, among woodlands dominated with eastern white cedar, sugar maple and white ash. If you take some of the side trails you’ll also see a kettle lake, meadows and wetland areas. Best known for its ski trails, winter is a good time to try this trail. There are 16 kilometres (10 miles) of groomed trails that wind throughout the forest and link through loops to the Bruce Trail.

Vaughan

Kortright Centre for Conservation

On 325 hectares, this conservation areas has year-round multi-use, ungroomed trails accessible to skiiers and snowshoers. Consider skiing the Power Trip Trail, a 1.6-km trail linking demonstrations on renewable energy and sustainable building.

9550 Pine Valley Dr., Woodbridge
905-832-2289

Durham Region

Ajax Waterfront Trail

The Waterfront Trail is a 6 km trail that follows the shore of Lake Ontario, virtually uninterrupted from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec-Ontario border. Along the way there are great views of Lake Ontario and plenty of amenities (washrooms and refreshments) available in Rotary Park at Duffins Creek.

Beaver River Wetlands Trail

With 17 kms of trail to explore, Beaver River Wetlands Trail is a cross-country skiier’s dream come true. The Beaver River Trail is one of the best ways to access and savour the smells, sights and sounds of the pristine and largely undeveloped Beaver River wetland. Just remember to have someone pick you up at the end or turn around at some point… this is a linear trail!

Blue Trail

The 6 km Blue Trail forms a portion of the Ganaraska Forest’s extensive network of cross-country ski trails. The trail meanders through beautiful hardwood forests and pine plantations.

Toronto

Within the city limits, cross-country skiing is generally a DIY operation. You can ski (weather-permitting) in High Park, on the Toronto Islands, along the Humber Trail, the Don Valley trails, or on the Etobicoke Creek Trail. But you will need your own skis. Call 311 to find information on ski areas in particular parks or access points and conditions of trails.

Barrie and Collingwood

These spots are outside the GTA, but you could still experience the skiing on a day trip. (Hey, if you’ve got small kids, you’re up early anyway, right?) And just think of that quiet car trip home after skied-out kids have nodded off in the backseat following an amazing day in the great outdoors!

But if you just can’t stomach driving home the same day, most of these centres have overnight accommodations, too.

Scenic Caves Nordic Centre

An amazing place to ski, this year-round adventure centre near Blue Mountain Resort has excellent snow conditions, 27 km of groomed trails that are clearly marked and rated for levels beginner to advanced, and the opportunity to ski (or snowshoe) through a 200-year-old forest, along escarpments with fantastic views, and even over a 420-foot-long, 25-meter-high suspension bridge with views for 10,000 square km on a clear day. Rentals include not only skis, but snowshoes, skate-skis, and Baby Glider pull-sleds. Also available: lessons, warm-up huts, snack bar, first-aid stations.

Rentals available
260 Scenic Caves Rd., Blue Mountains
705-446-0256

Horseshoe Resort

This year-round resort with downhill skiing, golfing (summer), and winter adventure activities (tubing, fat biking, snowmobiling) has 40 km of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s dog-friendly, too! In addition to skis, you can rent skates and snowshoes and take lessons. Onsite area pro shop, a restaurant, and a spa.

Rentals available
1101 Horseshoe Valley Rd. W.
855-808-4211

Highlands Nordic

This Georgian Bay centre is built for cross-country skiing. It has beautiful views on its 25 km of groomed trails through woods and along Wasaga Beach lowland areas. You can toboggan on a groomed hill (BYO toboggan). It has ski and snowshoe rentals, plus lessons, a pro shop, and a café.

Rentals available
1182 Nottawasaga Concession 10 S., Duntroon
705-444-5017

Hardwood Ski and Bike

Designed for cross-country skiiers, snowshoers, and mountain bikers (including winter fat-biking), this adventure centre has eight ski trails, ranging from 3 km to 22 km in length, for beginning to advanced skiiers, through wooded areas and meadowlands. Rentals include skis, snowshoes, pulks (child snow sleds), fat bikes, and child bike trailers; they have on-site lessons, a service shop, a cafe, and overnight accommodations.

402 Old Barrie Rd. W., Oro-Medonte
705-487-3775

More Resources

Ski Ontario

Ontario Trails Map

Ontario Trails Council

Walk + Roll Peel (Peel-region trails)

Durham Trail Map

Bruce Trail Conservancy

Conservation Halton Cross-Country Skiing

York Region Trails Map

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  • Acousticbiotech.com

    We are fortunate to live in a province that s perfect for cross-country skiing with its small hills and rolling landscapes. You can find lots of nearby trails for the beginner to the most advanced. Once you get your own equipment, you ll discover another wonder of cross-country skiing; you can do it anywhere if you just have snow on the ground. Here’s where to do it in the GTA.

  • Aaron lal

    Awesome post! You have shared a great idea. I like the way you presented the information. The theme is good. Keep posting!

  • Camp Tournesol

    This list is perfect for GTA families! We linked this article in our blog post on our favourite winter activities in Southern Ontario and our readers found it helpful, thank you!