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 hours’ drive of the wonderful city of Toronto, Canada.
5. Albion Hills
Great groomed trails and breathtaking scenery makes Albion Hills the perfect place for beginners to try their hand at snowshoeing. Amongst the forests sits a heated chalet with a café serving up food and beverages and snowshoe rentals on-site.
Albion Hills caters to both cross-country skiers and snowshoers alike with 26km 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. Visit their website to learn more.
4. 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 means you can spend the entire day exploring this conservation area.
Keep your eyes peeled for the wide range of wildlife 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 quiet whisper of the wind. The 10kms of easy trails coupled with the breathtaking scenery makes this Niagara escarpment destination the perfect place to discover our favourite winter sport. Click here to learn more.
3. Snow Valley Barrie
Just over an hour north of Toronto is a beginner and family snowshoer’s dream come true. With over 14kms of trails ranging from a 1.4km beginner trail to 3.4km moderate trail for the go getter; this resort begs you to play in the fluffy white snow while discovering the beautiful landscape.
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 meaning you won’t have to compete with cross-country skiers making this the perfect place to experiment with snowshoes. 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 Snow Valley’s website for more information.
2. Crawford Lake
Winding trails along the scenic Niagara Escarpment and located just an hour west of Toronto makes Crawford Lake a perfect day trip for beginner snowshoers. More than 19 kilometers of trails, a recently renovated gathering place, on-site snowshoe rentals and a popular visitor’s centre make up this beautiful conservation area.
For a unique experience sign up for one of the guided moonlight snowshoe tours that are offered in January and February and enjoy a beginner trek complete with hot chocolate and a campfire. Numerous lakes, boardwalks and a 15th century reconstructed Iroquoian village make this the perfect setting to discover why snowshoeing is the perfect winter sport. Click here to learn more.
1. Ganaraska Forest
Head to the Ganaraska Forest Centre to begin your adventure and choose from over 35kms 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 through the year for beginner snowshoers and it is worth attending one of their guided treks through the forests. Clearly marked paths, an abundance of trails and a choice of amenities makes this area an excellent destination for beginners. Find out more about these trails here.