Follow the Leader: Guided Winter Nature Tours Just North of Toronto

Interested in trying something new this winter? Guided nature tours are the perfect way to experience a completely different activity, with a little help from these experts.

Strap on some snowshoes or skis, follow wildlife tracks, listen for animal calls and absorb the stunning scenery that surrounds you. Here are some ideas to get you started on your – new – outdoor winter adventure in the great Canadian wilderness north of Toronto.

Photo Credit: Algonquin Outfitters

GUIDED WINTER TOURS

Find Your Wild wants you to get outside and play. Led by outdoor educator Jamie Honderich, the company’s Snowshoe Safari tour can be held onsite at their property in Huntsville or can take you into Algonquin Park to explore the forest through the eyes of a wildlife researcher. Follow animal tracks while enjoying the peace and quiet of your surroundings and, after your tour, warm up with a cup of wild harvested tea and relax in their onsite sauna (pictured left).

Algonquin Adventure Tours specializes in guided canoe tripping in the summer months, then takes guests out on snowshoes and skis when the snow arrives. Both seasonal tours are booked for private groups only and can be customized to be as mild or intensive as you wish. You’ll be given an orientation on your equipment, and then head out to learn about local ecology, natural history, and wilderness skills. A hot beverage and gourmet lunch from Henrietta’s Pine Bakery is included in your tour.

Algonquin Outfitters also offers a Guided Snowshoe Safari tour in Algonquin Park, led by a guide who will take you to wetland and shoreline habitats of local wildlife, and share personal stories and examples from research on wolves and other species living here.

Explore the ecology of the onsite trail system at Liv Outside in Bracebridge under the light of the moon – and your trusty headlamp – on a Night Hike as your guide leads you through the woods on their 120 acre property. You can also take this tour during the day and add on extras like Snowga (think yoga in the snow!) and Snow Fit.

You can also explore the less-traveled east side of Algonquin Park near Whitney guided by Steve Dunsford, wildlife photographer and owner of Impressions of Algonquin and The Mad Musher. He’ll take you out in search of local wildlife to photograph, stopping along the way at some natural and historical landmarks to learn a bit of the history of Algonquin Provincial Park. You’ll be guided on snowshoes to a winter waterfall, and will end your tour with a hot lunch back in Whitney.

If you’re interested in expanding your experience to include an overnight stay, check out the Algonquin Park Winter Eco-Adventure with Voyageur Quest. This three-day, two-night trip is available from December 16, 2019 through April 1, 2020 and includes accommodation in their Algonquin Cottage Outpost, tasty meals, the services of a wilderness guide and three amazing excursions by snowshoe, Nordic ski and dogsled.

Photo Credit: Voyageur Quest

NO CAR? NO PROBLEM!

If you live in the GTA and don’t drive, you can still access the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto by joining one of the great travel services that guide here. Travelling Chicken offers trips year-round, and during the winter months offers a dog sledding and snow tubing day trip that includes a guided adventure with Sugardogs Adventure Company in Sundridge, led by owner Ed Schmidt and his beautiful dogs. What a way to experience the beautiful Almaguin Highlands of Ontario! Parkbus – Canada’s bus to the great outdoors – also runs routes to Algonquin Park in the winter months. Check back here for dates to be announced soon and to book your seat.

EVENTS

On December 12th, head out at Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre with Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve staff for a Biosphere Walk under the light of the moon. Learn about winter wildlife and animal tracking as you hit the trails on your snowshoes at this special evening event from 7-9pm. You can bring your own snowshoes or rent them from GNOAC. If you can’t make this event, GBBR will be out again on the Humphrey Nature Trails on December 30th from 2-4pm learning about how plants and wildlife survive in winter.

Have you taken a guided winter tour you loved that we’ve missed in our list? Let us know at info@explorersedge.ca. 

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This article was originally published on our sister site here.