Cross-country skiing Toronto

The top 10 cross country skiing trails in and around Toronto

Cross country skiing in and around Toronto is actually pretty easy to do after a solid snowfall. All one has to do is strap on the skis and go. But if you're looking to do the sport properly, in a natural setting, there's also no shortage of options both in and immediately outside the city.

Here are my picks for the top spots to go cross country skiing in and around Toronto.

The Toronto Islands

Did you know that you can ski or snowshoe from Wards Island all the way to Centre Island? There are trails spread all across the Islands that draw back dedicated cross country skiers winter after winter, and for a good reason. It's huge, it's quiet, and it's a beautiful place to explore.

High Park

You don't have to leave the city for this one (after all, we are a city within a park, right?). Cross country skiing is permitted anywhere within High Park, but the trails aren't groomed and you'll have to bring your own equipment. Bonus: admission is completely free.

Albion Hills

This conservation area in Caledon, located eight kilometres north of Bolton, has 26 kilometres of trails suited to all levels of expertise, along with various areas for snowshoeing, tobogganing and skating and a heated chalet and cafe. Equipment rentals are available, too.

Dagmar Resort

Located on the Oak Ridge's Moraine between Ajax and Whitby, this winter sports centre offers 25 kilometres of cross country trails, plus a series of progressively more challenging terrain parks, should you want to take things up a notch.

Mansfield Outdoor Centre

Mansfield Outdoor Centre is about an hour or so north of Pearson. It has a network totalling 40 kilometres of trails, with different paths suited to different skill levels. The centre has a lodge with wood burning stoves by which to relax and cafeteria offering homemade snacks.

Pickering Waterfront Trail

Just a hop, skip and a jump east of Toronto, Pickering has a combined 12.2 km of prime, cross-country skiing territory running along the shores of Lake Ontario. The trail is divided into three named sections. It won't be groomed and you can't rent gear, but it will be free.

Hardwood Ski and Bike

This ski and bike resort is located about an hour north of Toronto in Oro, Ontario. It has over 40 kilometres of cross-country trails that run through hardwood and pine forests, as well as a webcam image of its trail that gets updated every five minutes.

Kortright Trail

You'll find this more naturalistic, ungroomed trail at 9550 Pine Valley Drive in Vaughan. It's shorter than some of the others at just 5 kilometres, but admission is cheap. Please note, however, that ski and other equipment rentals are not available on site. Don't forget yours!

Walker Woods and Glen Major Forest

There are 74 kilometres of multi-use trails at Glen Major for you to explore to your heart's content. Through the summer, this is a hub for mountain bikers, but come winter the (ungroomed) trails are perfect for cross country skiers looking for a challenge.

Terra Cotta Conservation Area

This natural area in the Credit Valley has six kilometres of groomed trails perfect for beginner and intermediate skiers. There's also ski and boot rentals on offer for adults and children.

Lead photo by

Ramanan Sivaranjan

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