winter hiking in ontario

10 winter hiking trails in Ontario to get away from it all

Hiking trails in Ontario are fun escapes from urban life any time of year. While there are many places great for hiking in the spring or summer and fall, it can sometimes take a bit more effort to track down which places make for a fun and adventurous winter escape.

Here are some hiking trails in Ontario to visit when you want to get away from it all.

Hikes East of Toronto

Heading east of the city can offer a range of hikes that are easy to access with a little less traffic than the more popular western options. If you’re heading this way, stop into Rouge River Brewing Company for a pizza and a seasonal beer before or after your hike.

Rouge Park

As Canada's newest Urban National Park, Rouge Park offers a lot right within city limits bordering Pickering. The hilly park is filled with animals, river views, and on colder days, skating and popular sledding options. 

The hikes here are easy to moderate based on the length and hills. Cedar to Orchard trail is your best route. What makes this one a must in the winter is the hills that will keep you warm, no matter the wind chill.

Parking starts at $4 an hour and does have TTC access if you're up for the trek.

Glen Major

One of Uxbridge’s best hikes, this trail capital of Ontario gem, offers the perfect snowshoe and cross-country skiing options. Unlike the city, there is snow here so you don’t have to worry about the potential muddy paths. 

Parking is $6 for the day which allows you to hike any distance upwards of the 25km that is located in and around this park.

Hikes West of Toronto

Whether you’re up for a short drive to Caledon or Hamilton or a longer one to Niagara these hikes are sure to make the drive worthwhile.

Don’t forget to stop in at Donut Monster or Fairweather Brewing in Hamilton or The Watering Can or Steel Town Cider in the Niagara area for food and drinks after your hike.

Hamilton Waterfalls Walk

Hamilton is Ontario’s waterfall capital so there is lot to explore here. Checking out the ice climbers at Tiffany Falls before heading along the Bruce Trail to Little Falls, Sherman Falls and along the escarpment edge to Canterbury Falls.

Tiffany Falls Hamilton

Tiffany Falls, Hamilton waterfalls.

This hike can be about 10km if you visit it all or shorter with an out and back. Arrive early as parking at Tiffany Falls is limited and quite popular.

Short Hills

Located in Niagara, Short Hills is one of the best hikes in winter Southern Ontario has to offer. The looped trails weave around multiple waterfalls and across rivers for up to 15 km. This hike is especially good for snowshoeing. 

This is an unserviced Provincial Park though the two parking lots are not large so arrive early. 

Silver Creek

Silver Creek Conservation Area is a sleeper hit. The propery offers a range of looped trails that weave in and out of the forest with hills, bridges and local farms along the way. Another part of the Bruce Trail, this sidetrail offers lots in the winter months.

What makes this hike worth visiting is the ample parking yet not too busy feel it offers. The Bennet Heritage Trail is a nice 10km although there are smaller 3-4km options here as well. If you want more, nearby Terra Cotta Conservation Area offers some unique rock explorations.

Forks of the Credit

One of the best in the Caledon area is Forks of the Credit. This popular Provincial Park offers some unique graffiti ruins along with a frozen waterfall. The open fields and snow-capped landscapes are fun to explore, no matter the season. 

Hikes here range from 6-8km and are all dog-friendly. The area is great for skiing, showshoeing and hiking. It is recommended you book early through Ontario Parks to guarantee parking.

Hikes North of Toronto

North of Toronto has endless trail adventures to consider. These four hikes require a longer drive so booking a roofed cabin at Arrowhead or an inn spot in Muskoka or Collingwood is recommended.

Algonquin Park

No matter the season, Algonquin is one of Ontario's best Provincial Parks. The vast size of the park makes it easy to explore and yet never see everything.

Track and Tower is spectacular in the winter. The view overlooking the region from the top is worth the potentially slippy inclines on the 8km route. Book your park entrance in advance and arrive early on sunnier winter days. 

Arrowhead

Located near Algonquin, Arrowhead is the best of winter all in one. They offer a range of trails for every winter activity and places to stay to make a weekend of it. This time of year, the waterfall and lakes are frozen making snowshoeing a great option on the trails.

The park also offers a range of cross-country skiing trails and a Fire and Ice trail for skating which is worth staying late to enjoy in the twilight. The trail is 1.3km long and one of the largest of its kind in Ontario. 

Like other popular Ontario Parks, book early to guarantee parking. There are also ski, snowshoe and skate rentals available if you don’t own gear.

Hardy Lake

Hardy Lake is a perfect 8km looped hike located in Muskoka. This park is slowly gaining popularity as a must-visit Provincial Park near Gravenhurst Ontario. The boardwalks make for picture-perfect views along the snowy water shores. 

Nottawasaga Lookout

If you’re looking to head north yet not quite as far as Muskoka or Algonquin, Nottawasaga Lookout is a great option near Collingwood. A great option to snowshoe and explore some easy rock-climbing along the escarpment will make for a memorable trip.

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