Snowshoeing with Kids

Looking for a snow sport that will allow you to tour beautiful landscape and scenery? If get snow this January (which we will!), snowshoeing is a great way to explore local parks and experience all of Winter’s natural beauty. Snowshoeing is a very family friendly activity. It’s fairly simple, has a small learning curve, is cheap, and doesn’t require a special resort or trail to go to. Here are a few tips to get you started and where to go...

What to Wear
Dress in layers. Snowshoeing is an aerobic activity, so you will work up a sweat. Since it is winter, however, you will cool down very quickly when you stop. Make sure to have layers available. Eye protection is also important since the sun reflecting off of the snow can easily damage your eyes. Choose sunglasses or goggles with UV protection. Snowshoeing can be done in almost any type of boots, though heavy-duty hiking boots or snow boots work best since they both offer increased warmth and support. Layer by wearing wool socks underneath. Choosing the correct snowshoe for your outing can easily make all the difference in your experience. Snowshoes are typically rated for their activity, so choose an appropriate model by checking with your local sports store.

What to Bring
Snowshoeing is unique among Winter sports in that it requires relatively minimal gear. Just plan on wearing whatever you would to play in the snow (hat gloves, coat, pants, boots), add snowshoes and you’re all set. Although not required, poles make snowshoeing easier and help with balance and when climbing hills. Pack lots of water. Remember, that it is just as easy to get dehydrated during the Winter as it is in the Summer. Along with that, pack lots of energy filled snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, and granola bars.

Although snowshoeing is just as easy as hiking, it does take a little practice. Consider snowshoeing in your backyard before you hit the trails. Snowy days are a great time for kids to practice their snowshoe skills so that when you do take them on the trail, they will be more comfortable and able to go farther. Keep in mind that although anyone who can walk can snowshoe, it is slower and takes more effort than just walking down the sidewalk.

Where to Go...

Scenic Caves Nordic Centre

Get out and enjoy the 8 kms of snowshoe trails, one of which crosses the suspension bridge for a breathtaking view of the countryside at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures. Explore a 200 year old forest rich with wildlife. Winter owls and a wide variety of other birds will beckon to you from the 100 feet maple; beech and oak canopy while deer and many other animals can be seen in the forest. A warm-up hut and future log cabin located in the forest offer a place to pause and enjoy the beauty. Snowshoe equipment rentals are available. Phone: 705-446-0256. More info

Wye Marsh Snowshoe EcoTours

Enjoy a 3 hour, 3-4 km snowshoe trek into the woods of Wye Marsh. Along your journey you will traverse a trail that is not open to the public, have the opportunity to see the den of a porcupine and perhaps the porcupine himself. Depending on how quiet you are on your journey you may even be able to see some deer. Your destination is a camp fire location near Freshett Creek, where Naturalist will build you a fire. You can cook some bannock over the flames and have some hot chocolate. Phone: 705-526-7809, ext 219. More info

Snowshoeing Adventures Humber Arboretum - Toronto (Humber Nature Centre)

Snowshoeing events start in January and February, and are usually held on select days. Join their nature interpreters to learn a thing or two about the history of snowshoeing before trying it for yourself in their 250 acre park. Events are weather permitting. The tour will take place in the meadow, along the Humber River as well as in the forest. The next event takes place on January 18, 2015, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. A limited number of kids and adults snowshoes are available so BOOK EARLY. Phone: 416-675-5009. More info

Albion Hills Conservation Area 

The Albion Hills Conservation Area, located 40 minutes northwest of Toronto, offers snowshoeing (depending on snow conditions). Usually in the months of January and February. There are groomed trails, both easy and challenging. Limited snowshoe rentals are available for an additional fee - call ahead to inquire. Members are admitted free, but trail fees apply. Phone: 905-880-0227. More info

Haliburton County

Haliburton County offers hundreds of miles of groomed trails for snowshoeing. Haliburton County will definitely wow you with the many Wonders of Winter. Visit their website for Winter packages and snowshoeing sites. Phone: 705-286-1777 or 1-800-461-7677. More info

Hardwood Hills Nordic Ski Centre

Hardwood hills nordic ski centre located north of Barrie off Hwy 11, this facility offers classic cross-country skiing, skating, back-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Rentals are available. Phone: 1-705-487-3775 or 1-800-387-3775. More info

Conservation Halton - Crawford Lake

The Crawford Lake Conservation Area includes 19 km of spectacular hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails on Ontario's scenic Niagara Escarpment. The popular Visitors Centre and newly renovated Gathering Place feature a variety of services to enhance the visitor's park experience. Snowshoeing rentals available. Check their special events as Moonlight Snowshoe Tours are organized in January and February. Phone: 905-854-0234. More info

Snow Valley Barrie

Would you like to escape into the beautiful scenery of Ontario in Winter? With a good pair of snowshoes, you can enjoy the white trees, the soft landscape, and all the fun of playing in the snow. With lots of trails accessible to beginners and more challenging ones, there is something for everybody in snowshoeing. Equipment rentals available. Phone: 705-721-SNOW or 1-877-404-4744. More info

Did we miss one? List another cool place to go snowshoeing below!

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