As a first-time snowshoer, it can be tough to find relatively easy trails that still offer breathtaking scenery, a little challenge, and snowshoe rentals on-site. The greater Toronto area in Ontario, Canada, is the perfect place to find these types of trails, strap on some snowshoes and try out our favourite winter sport. Below you will find our top five choices for beginner trails, all within an hour’s drive of the wonderful city of Toronto, Canada.
1.Ganaraska Forest Centre
Head to the Ganaraska Forest Centre to begin your adventure and choose from over 35 km (21.7 mi) of clearly marked trails winding through pine and hardwood forests. Whether you are looking to trek along a groomed trail or make your own tracks along a marked hiking trail, there is something for everyone here.
The Outdoor Education Centre provides public washrooms, a weekend canteen, and even hot showers, along with being the place to purchase your day pass. You will have to bring your own snowshoes as there are no on-site rentals. The Ganaraska Forest Centre also offers special events throughout the year for beginner snowshoers, and it is worth attending one of their guided treks through the forests.
2. Albion Hills
Great groomed trails and breathtaking scenery makes Albion Hills the perfect place for beginners to try their hand at snowshoeing. Moreover, amongst the forests sits a heated chalet with a café serving up food and beverages and snowshoe rentals on-site.
Albion Hills caters to cross-country skiers and snowshoers, with 26km (16 mi) of groomed trails. Marked as beginner, intermediate, or expert, you will have no trouble deciding which ones to explore.
Bring the sleds along as this conservation area also boasts amazing toboggan hills. Located just an hour north of downtown Toronto, Albion Hills offers plenty of snow, trails, and comfort for your snowshoe adventure. For more info, visit the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority website.
3. Christie Lake Conservation Area
Head an hour west of Toronto to the Dundas area and discover one of the best-kept snowshoe trails for beginners. Easy trails that weave in and out of forests and meadows with no shortage of signs and directions mean you can spend the entire day exploring this conservation area.
Also, keep your eyes peeled for the wide range of wildlife species that call this area home. You will have to bring your own snowshoes to these trails, but there are plenty of rest options and picnic tables along the way. A thermos of hot chocolate and a picnic lunch can be enjoyed amidst the towering pines, curious wildlife, and whisper of the wind.
The 10km (6 mi) of easy trails coupled with the breathtaking scenery makes this Niagara escarpment destination the perfect place to discover our favourite winter sport. Visit the Hamilton Conservation Authority website to learn more.
4. Snow Valley Barrie
Just over an hour north of Toronto is a beginner and a family snowshoer’s dream come true. There are over 17 km (10.5 mi) of trails ranging from a 1.4 km (0.9 mi) beginner trail to a 3.4 km (2 mi) moderate trail for the go-getter. This resort begs you to play in the fluffy white snow while discovering the beautiful landscape.
Furthermore, top-notch snowshoe rentals on-site make it easy to experience this sport. Combined with a downhill ski and snowboard hill along with a tubing hill, there is no doubt why this resort is number one with families.
The snowshoe trails are exclusive to snowshoers. This exclusivity means you won’t have to compete with cross-country skiers. So, it’s the perfect place to experiment with snowshoes! Then, just a stone’s throw away from the city of Barrie, there are plenty of restaurants nearby to grab a snack throughout the day.
Discover the beautiful trails perfect for beginners at Snow Valley Barrie. Visit Ski Snow Valley’s website for more information.
5. Crawford Lake
Crawford Lake is only an hour west of Toronto and includes winding trails along the scenic Niagara Escarpment. This beautiful conservation area has more than 19 km (11.8 mi) of trails, on-site snowshoe rentals, and a popular visitor’s centre.
Furthermore, the numerous lakes, boardwalks, and a 15th century reconstructed Iroquoian village make this the perfect setting to discover why snowshoeing is such a great winter sport. Visit Conservation Halton’s website to learn more.
What’s your favorite place to go snowshoeing near Toronto? Also, have you been to any of the locations above? Please share with us in the comments below.
This post was originally published on Dec 9, 2014, and it was updated to include new information on January 14. 2021.
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