Top 12 Things To Do Just North of Toronto This Winter!

The snow has finally arrived and it’s time to get out and enjoy the best that an iconic Canadian winter has to offer! Fans of the season and skeptics alike will find plenty to see and do in the wilderness just north of Toronto.

Here are our Top 12 recommended outdoor adventures to make this your best snowy season yet:

1. Snowshoeing

A quintessential Canadian activity that dates back thousands of years, originating with Indigenous peoples. There are SO MANY trails to explore (check out five unique ones, for a start), and if you need gear, then outfitters and accommodation providers can fix you right up. This is one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to outdoor adventuring in the region, but also one of the best for a great cardio workout for the more veteran ‘shoers.

For more information on snowshoeing in the region, including links to rental equipment locations, guided tours, and accommodations with winter trail networks on site, click here.

Winter Outfitters and Guided Tours:

Algonquin Outfitters Oxtonge Lake, Huntsville, Bracebridge
Algonquin Park Adventure Tours
Algonquin Basecamp Kearney
LivOutside Bracebridge
White Squall Parry Sound
Voyageur Outfitting Algonquin (Lake Kawawaymog Access Point)

Guided Snowshoeing

Find Your Wild Snowshoe Safaris
Georgian Bay Biosphere Mnidoo Gamii Winter Wildlife Snowshoe Event
Algonquin Park Adventure Tours Guided Snowshoeing

Into the woods on the Find Your Wild Muskoka’s Snowshoe Safari

And check out this fantastic inaugural event at the popular Bracebridge Resource Management Centre on Highway 11N: The Great Muskoka Snowshoe Experience, presented by Snowshoe Canada, is designed to get people out for some outdoor exercise and social interaction during winter. This is an untimed, non-competitive recreational snowshoe event taking place on February 17, 2024. For more information or to register click here.

On February 24, 2024, combine snowshoeing with the talents of Chefs from across Muskoka at the Gourmet Marché Snowshoe Tour. Event organizers describe this event as “encapsulates the quintessence of living in Muskoka: the camaraderie of friends, the splendour of our natural surroundings, and the indulgence in uniquely prepared, sumptuous cuisine!”. You’ll snowshoe the course at your leisure stopping at five stations along the way to taste each Chef’s creation. For more information or to register click here.

Some awesome trails for your snowshoeing pleasure:

Algonquin Park

Algonquin Logging Museum Trail km 54.5 – an easy 1.3km trail
Barron Canyon Trail km 29.0 – a 1.5 km loop trail
Bat Lake Trail km 30.0
– a 5.8 km loop trail
Beaver Pond Trail km 45.2 – a 2 km loop trail
Berm Lake Trail at Achray Campground a 4.5 km loop
Big Pines Trail km 40.3
– a 2.9 km long, fairly level loop trail
Booth’s Rock Trail km 40.3 – a 5.1 km loop trail
Brent Crater Trail Brent Road – a 2 km loop near the Cedar Lake – Brent Access Point
Centennial Ridges Trail km 37.6 – a very demanding 10.4 km loop trail
Fire Tower Trail Algonquin Visitors Centre km 43.0 – This fully accessible trail is 200 metres round-trip
Hardwood Lookout Trail km 13.8 – a 1 kilometre loop trail
Hemlock Bluff Trail km 27.2 – a 3.5 km loop trail
The Jack Pine Trail Achray Campground
– a 1.6 km trail
Lookout Trail km 39.7 – a 2.1 km loop trail
Mizzy Lake Trail km 15.4 – is a 10.8 km trail that requires an early start and a full day to do properly.
Peck Lake Trail km 19.2 – a 2.3 km loop trail
Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail km 42.5 – 1.5 km loop trail
Track & Tower Trail km 25.0 – a 7.5 km loop
Two Rivers Trail km 31.0 – a 2.3 km loop trail

Almaguin Highlands

Almaguin Community Trails South River
Animosh Trail Kearney
Bare Rock Trail Kearney
Cornelia Levering Broadmeadows Trail Magnetawan
Craig Lake Dam Trail South River
Dam Trail Magnetawan
Horseshoe Trail Kearney
Lion’s Park Boardwalk Kearney
Loxton Beaver Trail South River
Moose Mountain Trail South River
Old Muskoka Trail South River
One-a-Day Trail South River
Sprucedale Recreation Trail Sprucedale
White’s Farm Trail Kearney


Loring Deer Yard Port Loring


Arrowhead Provincial Park Huntsville
Bracebridge Resource Management Centre Trails Bracebridge
Brydon’s Bay Trail Gravenhurst
Cooper’s Falls Trail Gravenhurst
Devil’s Gap Trail Gravenhurst
Fairy Vista Trail Huntsville
Frost Centre Trails Dorset
Gravenhurst Nordic Trails Gravenhurst
Hardy Lake Trail Torrance
Hazlewood Trail Port Carling
Hahne Farm Trail Gravenhurst
Huckleberry Rock Lookout Trail Milford Bay
Kahshe Barrens Trail Gravenhurst
Limberlost Forest & Wildlife Reserve Huntsville
Milford Manor Golf Course Trails Milford Bay
Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery Bala
Old Stone Trail Gravenhurst
Skeleton Lake Fish Hatchery Trail Utterson

Parry Sound & Area

Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre McDougall
Humphrey Nature Trails Seguin
Nesbitt Trail Ardbeg
Northshore Rugged Trail Parry Sound
Rotary and Algonquin Regiment Waterfront Fitness Trail Parry Sound
Whitestone Lake Recreational Trail Dunchurch

South Algonquin

Bear Mountain Trail Madawaska
Kluke Lookout Loop Madawaska
Old Railway Trail Whitney
Spectacle Lake/Burnetts Mountain Trail Madawaska

2. Nordic Skiing

Nordic or cross country skiing is arguably one of the healthiest outdoor recreation activities on the planet, because it gets every muscle moving and your heart rate up. To add some extra adrenaline to your usual ski days, consider participating in one of many Nordic events taking place across the region this winter, where skiers of all ages and levels are welcome.

Check out the lists below for trails, rentals and guided tours.

Nordic Trails

Algonquin Provincial Park
Arrowhead Provincial Park Huntsville
Bracebridge Resource Management Centre Bracebridge
Frost Centre Ski & Snowshoe Trails Dorset
Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre McDougall
Gravenhurst Nordic Trails Gravenhurst
Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery Bala (snowshoe trails with cross country skiing permitted)

Cozy kid out with Mom at Arrowhead Provincial Park


Muskoka Loppet January 28
Women of Winter January 31
Sounder Ski Tour February 10


Algonquin Outfitters Oxtongue Lake & Huntsville
Arrowhead Visitors Centre Huntsville (onsite use only)
Camp Bongopix Whitney
Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre McDougall (onsite use only)
Gravenhurst Nordic Gravenhurst (onsite use only)
Liv Outside Bracebridge
Township of Algonquin Highlands Dorset

Lessons & Guided Tours

Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club Huntsville
Camp Bongopix Algonquin Park
Find Your Wild Huntsville & Algonquin Park
Parry Sound Bikes Parry Sound

Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area: Muskoka’s happening ski hill!

3. Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

Whether you like fresh powder, groomed corduroy or your downhill ski runs a little more challenging, Muskoka’s family ski hill has you covered! Nestled in the hills just north-east of the picturesque town of HuntsvilleHidden Valley Highlands Ski Area has over a dozen runs to choose from, all groomed to satisfy skiers and boarders of every ability. The club offers group programs, special and themed events, races, lessons, night skiing, with ski and snowboard rentals on site.

The West Wind Highlands Ski Touring Association, a not-for-profit organization formed in 2020, is dedicated to increasing awareness of ski touring in the region, promoting the safe and responsible creation of touring areas and trails. “In the highlands west of Algonquin Park, there is wonderful undulating topography in the open hardwood forests that offer a beautiful canvas for exploration, and every now and then a few turns of pure joy,” says president Jeff Mann. “If you enjoy winter in Ontario on telemark skis, touring skis, snowboarding setups or nordic backcountry gear, we’re here to introduce you to new areas to explore and a community of like-minded folks.”

Interested in backcountry skiing? Read more here.

4. Fat Biking

One of winter’s more recent crazes, fat biking involves riding with oversized tires on firm or groomed snow. These tires (with aggressive-looking treads), some up to five inches wide, make it feel like the bike is floating on the surface, while in reality they greatly increase traction for the winter terrain.

An excellent activity for hardcore cyclists to continue riding all year round, and a fun family activity too.

Want to learn more about fat biking and about where to rent bikes in the winter (including in Algonquin Park)? CLICK HERE for a lot more info. Accommodations providers may also have fat bikes available for use; be sure to inquire when you call to book.

If you want to ride on trails managed by volunteers, such as the Bracebridge Resource Management Centre or Georgian Nordic Outdoor Activity Centre in McDougall, be sure to check the condition of the trails before heading out and ask about pass requirements.

5. Snowmobiling

Hit the sleds and explore thousands of kilometres of maintained snowmobiling trails throughout this beautiful winter wonderland. Three OFSC districts 7, 10 and 11) are located within the boundaries of the region, and a vast selection of year-round accommodations (ask about Stay & Ride packages) and restaurants are located on or close to trails.

Be sure to review OFSC permit requirements, and follow the clubs below to check the conditions of the trails before heading out. Also check the OFSC interactive trails guides for trail status.

District 7 Clubs

Algonquin Snowmobile Club
Baxter Snow Riders
Hill & Gully Riders
Du Yu Wanna Snowmobile Club
Happy Wanderers Snowmobile Club
Highland Rovers Snowmobile Club
Muskoka Lake Snow Trails Association
Muskoka Sno-Bombers
Snowcrest Riders Snowmobile Club
South Muskoka Association of Recreational Trails
Tall Pines Snowmobile Club

Through the trees in Loring-Restoule

District 10 Clubs

Carling Trailblazers Snowmobile Club
Cramadog Snowriders Corp
Dun-Ahmic Snowriders
Magnetewan Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club
North East Georgian Bay Snowmobile Club
Six Star Snow Riders
South Seguin Snowmobile Club
West Muskoka Trail Riders

District 11 Clubs (inside RTO12)

Almaguin District Snowmobile Club
Argyle Riders Snowmobile Club
French River Snowmobile Association
Mattawa & Area Snowmobile Club
Near North Snowdrifters
South Shore / Restoule Snowmobile Club

The snow is here, the trails are calling.

For more information on snowmobiling in the region click here.

For more ideas on where to stay and where to eat on your next snowmobile trip click here.

Thanks to all the club volunteers who dedicate time and resources to keeping the trails in prime condition for everyone to enjoy!

6. Ice Fishing

Ice fishing is a celebrated tradition that combines many elements of Canadian winter fun, not the least of which is awesome socializing with family or friends while you wait for the line to budge. When thousands of lakes across the region have frozen over, it’s time to strap on a pair of snowshoes or load up the snowmobile, grab a fishing rod and auger, and set out to locate your sweet spot to holler “fish on!!”

Never been ice fishing before? Head to the region February 17 to 19, 2024 and enjoy Ontario’s license-free fishing weekend. Local accommodations will fix you up with gear; inquire before you book. (At other times, be sure to abide by Ontario’s fishing license regulations.)

Some accommodations will also provide guided ice fishing experiences, including on-ice “fish fries”, where you’ll enjoy some of the tastiest food you’ll eat all season (check out Johnny Matthews from Matthews Little Portage Camp in Loring-Restoule in the photo above!)

For tons more information on ice fishing in the region, including bait shops, ice hut rentals and how to gauge ice thickness, click here.

And remember: ALWAYS check the thickness of the ice before heading out. If you are unsure if the ice is thick enough, talk to local bait shops and waterfront accommodations staff.

7. Ice Skating

Probably the most popular of all Canadian winter activities is lacing up the skates and heading to a freshly-flooded rink, either indoor or outdoor. And the many ice trails across the region have raised the bar on epic interactions with the Canadian winter landscape; there is nothing more exhilarating than gliding along under a snow-frosted forest, so be sure to put that on your bucket list this season.

For more information on ice skating in the region, including where to rent skates, click here.

Outdoor Rinks

Algonquin Park Mew Lake Campground
Annie Williams Park Bracebridge

Baysville Outdoor Rink at the Dam Baysville
Baxter Ward Outdoor Rink Port Severn
Cann Lake Huntsville
Clear Lake Brewing Co. Torrance
Dorset Ice Palace Dorset
Dundome Ice Rink Dunchurch
Dwight Outdoor Rink Dwight

Honey Harbour Park Honey Harbour
Kinsman Park Outdoor Rink Parry Sound
Lester B. Smith Outdoor Rink Whitney
Lion’s Lookout Skating Rink Huntsville
McDougall Covered Rink McDougall

Memorial Park Winter Village Bracebridge
Mervin Dupuis Outdoor Rink Madawaska
Muskoka Wharf Sports Field Gravenhurst
Novar Outdoor Rink Novar
Port Sydney Beach Rink Port Sydney

Skating Trails

Arrowhead Provincial Park Ice Trail Huntsville
Dwight Beach Skating Trail Dwight
Hanna Park Skating Trail Port Carling
Humphrey Skating Loop Seguin
Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery Bala

Remember to always check for ice safety before heading out onto a lake or river.

8. Ice Climbing

Liv Outside in Bracebridge has been ice climbing and offering tours and instruction since 2000, introducing many to the sport over the past 20+ years. Their Intro Program was designed for the beginner who wants their first adventure to offer quality instruction and great thrills. We bet it won’t be your last!

In the Intermediate Ice Climbing session, experience the thrill of climbing 70-100 vertical feet of beautiful chandelier ice clinging to the granite cliffs nestled in the hardwood forests of Muskoka. A long-time hot-spot for Ontario Ice Climbing, Muskoka offers consistently great ice conditions and some of the best routes for beginner to intermediate climbers.

To read more about one traveler’s ice climbing experience with LivOutside, click here.

9. Winter Photography

Winter is the time of the year when some photographers pack up their gear and store it away until the warmer temperatures return. But with so much stunning scenery everywhere you turn, and with familiar places offering a complete different perspective because of the change in light, you may want to reconsider being a fair weather photographer and get out to take some of your best photos ever.

Photo by Colin Bruce, @canoe_carrier on IG. Location, Dwight, Ontario

Just as winter photography offers some of the most serene experiences you’ll ever have, it can also be an exercise in patience (hint: dress appropriately and keep warming supplies handy). The unique opportunity comes because of what’s not in abundance: leaves on trees. Now is the time of year you’ll have a much clearer view through branches if you head out by snowshoe, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot a creature or two out and about (and maybe a moose, if you’re lucky).

South Algonquin (on the south-east side of Canada’s oldest provincial park) has become a hotspot for wilderness photographers, and is home to the highly-anticipated annual HOWL Photo Convention. Stop in at the Mad Musher in Whitney, home to the Impressions of Algonquin photo display, and at the Camp Bongopix Tavern to speak to the owners about photo opportunities.

Photo by Steve Dunsford, Impressions of Algonquin

For more tips and tricks for shooting winter photos in the region click here. Follow us on Instagram to see the very best of winter photography – there are plenty of pros out and about.

10. Winter Festivals

Join in for tons of fun at a traditional rural winter carnival! These heart-warming events ooze charm and neighbourliness, and they’re the perfect way for families and friends to enjoy each other’s company in winter. Check out the list below for a partial list of events to head to:

Burk’s Falls Winterfest January 20-21
Bracebridge Fire & Ice Festival January 27
Port Carling Winterfest February 2-4
South River Winterfest February 10
Gravenhurst Winter Carnival Family Day Weekend February 15-18
Parry Sound Snowfest February 16-17
Dorset Snowball Festival February 16-17
Winter in the Wild Algonquin Park, February 17
Dwight Winter Carnival February 23-24
Huntsville SnowFest February 24

For more info on festivals and events across the region click here.

11. Dog Sledding

Allow the experts at North Ridge Ranch in Huntsville, Muskoka or Snow Forest Adventures in Algonquin Park to introduce you to the exhilarating experience of dogs and humans working together to traverse beautiful winter landscapes. Learn about the dogs in detail (they’re part of the mushers’ families!), about the role of mushing, and try your hand a driving a team yourself. No need to travel way up north to experience this iconic Canadian adventure.

Algonquin Park
Snow Forest Adventures

Hidden Valley Dogsledding Package Huntsville
North Ridge Ranch Huntsville

Photo courtesy of North Ridge Ranch

And don’t miss the annual Kearney Dog Sled Races in the beautiful Almaguin Highlands of Ontario from February 10 & 11, 2024. This event draws teams from all over North America, and is a highlight of the season.

12. Winter Camping

For the hardcore outdoor adventure enthusiast, spending time overnight in the woods is a great way to take expand your experience. But the range of accommodations suit every level of comfort needs, from tents to luxury yurts. And the stars! My-oh-my the stars!

Need gear? Connect with the many outfitters in the region, including Algonquin Basecamp in Kearney, offering Winter Camping programs and rentals.

Camping & Glamping sites

Algonquin Adventure Tours Algonquin Park
Algonquin Basecamp Kearney
Algonquin Provincial Park – Cabins and Yurts at Mew Lake Campground Algonquin Park
Arrowhead Provincial Park – Camp Cabins Huntsville
Deer Lake Wilderness Retreat South River
Killbear Provincial Park Nobel
Limberlost Forest & Wildlife Reserve Huntsville
Muskoka Dome Bracebridge
Pit Stop 518 Kearney
Snow Forest Adventures Algonquin Park
Tipi Adventure Bracebridge
Voyageur Quest Algonquin Park

Bonus Experience ~ Hit The Spa & Hot Tubs

Amba Spa at Deerhurst Resort

The region is home to relaxing spa getaways, with plenty of outdoor hot tub options. Ease into the warmth after a day of adventuring…you deserve it! For a list of spectacular spa experiences and to learn more, click here. And treat yourself to exceptional dining – there are hundreds of spots to choose from.

There’s so much to see and do in winter in the Ontario woods just north of Toronto – it’s hard to capture it all here. If we missed something you’d like to recommend, email [email protected] to let us know.

To plan your stay, click here.

For accommodation ideas, click here.