Winter activities Toronto

10 places to experience winter near Toronto

Winter activities are nearly endless near Toronto, and the best way to embrace the cold weather is to get out there and make the most of it. From snowshoeing to dog sledding, there are so many ways to make use of all the snow and ice that overtakes Southern Ontario's landscape.

Here are my picks for fun ways to experience winter near Toronto.

Climb up a frozen gorge in Hamilton

Few winter activities rival the thrill and beauty of ice climbing. Fortunately, you don't have to travel too far to get in on the fun. One Axe Pursuits runs classes at Tiffany Falls in Hamilton and the Elora Gorge, which cater to both beginners and experts alike. 

Go on an epic snowshoeing adventure in Collingwood

As far as epic snowshoe trails go, the one that snakes around Scenic Caves Adventures near Collingwood is top of the heap. There's 10 kilometres of trails in the area that'll take you across a soaring 420 foot suspension bridge atop the Niagara Escarpment.

Soar across a snow-covered valley in Elora

There's no better way to take in the view of the Elora Gorge than from the perspective of a zip-line. Adventure Seeker Tours offers this unique experience from January to March. It takes lots of time to hike in and prepare for your rides, so it's best to stay overnight.

Go ice fishing on Lake Simcoe

Sitting in a tiny hut on a frozen lake might not sound like a whole lot of fun, but ask anyone who's gone ice fishing, and they'll tell you that it's a blast. Lake Simcoe has lots of options for pre-outfitted hut rentals, and you can even do day trips from the Briars Resort.

Take in the northern lights in Gravenhurst

The next time there's a Northern Lights alert, head to the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve. It's a magical place during celestial events, but it's also incredible during winter on a normal night, when the sky is filled with more stars than you can imagine.

Take tubing to the next level in Kitchener

There are plenty of amazing spots to go tubing both in and around Toronto, but the experience is dialled up when you fly downhill at night. Head to Chicopee Tube Park in Kitchener on Saturday nights for tubing sessions that run until midnight. 

Skate on a frozen canal in Peterborough

Skating on a natural ice surface is one of the best ways to embrace winter, and all the better when the setting is scenic. Ice skating trails are definitely worth trying out, but my favourite spot is on the canal in Peterborough underneath the iconic lift lock.

Strap on your skis in Barrie

It might be obvious, but skiing is still one of the most fun ways to make the most of winter near Toronto. Be it cross country or downhill, there's an array of places to hit up within a short drive. For romantic types, you can even try skiing through the woods lit by lanterns in Barrie.

Hit the spa in Caledon

What's the best way to spend time outdoors in the winter without actually doing anything but relaxing? Hot springs! You can soak up the heat after a cold bath at the Millcroft Inn's outdoor spa facility for the ultimate in relaxation. 

Bust out the big tires in Muskoka

Just because it's winter doesn't mean cycling season is over. Fat biking is quickly gaining in popularity, and one of the best places to try the sport is at Algonquin Park's Old Railway Bike Trail, which offers 12 scenic kilometres of hard-packed snow to explore.

Lead photo by

Ontario Parks

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