Family Snowshoeing: A Wonderful Winter Activity

This winter, why not give snowshoeing a try? It's a fun family activity and one that guarantees your kids can just step out into the snow and be natural experts. There isn't much of a technique required and only a minimum of specialized gear is required. In other words, if you can walk, you can snowshoe! This spells freedom for kids who can basically step out anywhere it's white! 

Most of the major snowshoe companies now make kid-sized snowshoes. Look for snowshoes that are roughly 7" x 18" for kids and that are lightweight, so that kids have the leg strength to walk in them for a while. Specialized ski stores can advise you! You can also check when you're heading out to Nature Centres or Conservation Areas to see if rentals are available. Kids should wear their warmest, most comfortable snow boots when snowshoeing. Kids will get a kick out of wearing these strange contraptions on their feet and will be in awe at the ease in which they can travel on the snow!

As a family activity, snowshoeing has a variety of advantages over other winter sports. For one, it's much more affordable! Family snowshoeing is a great, inexpensive alternative to standing in line at your local ski resort and it can be more than just a walk in the woods for a few hours.

So give snowshoeing a try and explore the backcountry this winter! You may even find various elusive animals. It's an excellent winter recreation choice for families.

Ontario has more than its share of winter outdoor space. Check out the following sites for snowshoeing activities….

Scenic Caves Nordic Centre

Scenic Caves Nature Adventures in Collingwood boasts 22 kilometers of groomed beginner and intermediate cross country ski and snowshoe trails winding through 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. You can also snowshoe across the longest suspension bridge in Ontario. Phone: 705-446-0256. More info.

Wye Marsh EcoTours

The Wye Marsh also offers a new program and a unique opportunity to explore winter at the marsh, with Winter EcoTours. This is your chance to go behind the scenes into the world of woodland and wetland research by getting into the thick of things during the winter months. One of our qualified and knowledgeable naturalist guides will lead you on a three hour snowshoe experience that will take you deep into the wooded areas of the 3000 acre Wye Marsh. This adventure could bring you face to face with forest creatures from Beavers to Deer, and Chickadees that eat right out of your hand. Snowshoes provided. Cost: $50.00 per person. Saturdays and Sundays 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (Approximately from December to March). Phone: 705- 526 7809. More info.

Snowshoeing Adventures Humber Arboretum - Toronto (Humber Nature Centre)

Snowshoeing events start in January and February, and are usually held on Saturdays and Sundays. 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. You can also organize your own group outing providing you have 15 parcipants. They provide the snowshoes. Last year this event cost $21.00 per family (Subject to change). 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.

Algonquin Park 

Algonquin Park has as much to offer the visitor in the winter. Highway 60 is ploughed and sanded all winter and many trails are available for the winter visitor. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is open on winter weekends and daily during the March break. A valid permit is required to use the park. Snowshoeing enthusiasts can go virtually anywhere within the park except on cross-country ski trails. Phone: 705-633-5572. 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.

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