Participating in any outdoor activity, snowshoeing included, we often wonder where to go in terms of the best terrain, distance and travel time.
When the snow arrives, these questions are much easier to answer than one would think. The need to travel isn’t necessary, but simply a matter of going out your front door or for a short drive. Just as you could decide to run around your neighborhood, the same process can be applied to snowshoeing.
Snowshoeing Close To Home
While growing up on a hobby farm in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, I was introduced to snowshoeing. There was no shortage of land, and there were plenty of hills and deep enough snow. It was a thrill to be snowshoeing so close to home, and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else until I moved to Vancouver, Canada.
In the city, I never thought of snowshoeing close to areas nearby until the day it snowed heavily. The only way to get around the city was to snowshoe. I was close to a trail and golf course, but I chose the golf course. While I was snowshoeing around the course, I saw a bobcat and the whole experience was exciting; especially to be close to home. I received comments from others as I walked, like what a great idea and where did I get those (snowshoes).
Why Urban Snowshoeing
There are many benefits to snowshoeing near a city, or urban snowshoeing.
- You don’t need to book time off from work
- Inexpensive, since less transportation required
- Environmentally sustainable activity
- Less time involved, especially for those who lead a busy lifestyle
- Family and friends may be more inclined to join you by staying close to home
- Discover a new area close to home
- See some city wildlife
Read Next: The Art of Urban Snowshoeing
Where To Go
Parks and golf courses are easily accessible, and there are often fewer people so you can enjoy the serenity. Consider exploring the following in your area:
Golf Courses – The grounds can be flat or challenging, depending on the number of hills. As a word of advice, check with the golf course before going as there may be specific rules.
University Grounds – Snowshoe by your favorite lecture room and park your snowshoes to grab a coffee or hot chocolate.
Urban Trails – These trails are naturally accessible and washrooms are typically available. There is also a chance to see wildlife.
Farmland – Snowshoe for miles on vast open spaces and often deep snow.
Keep In Mind
Before going, check the terrain difficulty, and natural lighting. If not enough light, wear a headlight. In addition, check the trail for safety issues.
Be mindful of other users, such as skiers or snowmobilers on the trail.
Bring your dog with you on the trek depending on the type of trail.
Always check your snowshoes to make sure it is suitable for the type of terrain.
Tips for Staying Fit and Having Fun
- Go up a hill a few times, especially at those hilly golf courses or parks
- Do a few laps around the trail by timing yourself
- Make it social by having a snowshoe fondue
- If there are no areas to snowshoe right near you, choose a mountain near you. In Vancouver, there are a variety of trails that are easily accessible via the Grouse Mountain Skyride.
What other areas have you snowshoed near home? Let us know!