Winter is awesome. Winter in Algonquin Park? Really awesome!
There is so much to do in one of Ontario’s largest provincial parks, 365 days of the year. Known as one of Canada’s greatest canoeing destinations, the forest, lakes and rivers in the park are equally as beautiful during the winter season. If you are looking for a winter adventure that truly represents the Great Canadian Winter, you will find it Algonquin Park.
The most popular winter recreation activities are snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fat biking, and the park has great trails for each. Don’t worry if you have none of the gear. Algonquin Outfitters has a couple of locations close-by and they have what you need to get on the trails!
Fat biking the Old Railway Bike Trail
If you have had the pleasure of biking the 16km Old Railway Bike Trail in the summer, you know how marvelous it is. Biking this trail during the winter is a completely different experience and one that we recommend to anyone with a flair for adventure. Of course you’ll need to swap your standard mountain bike out for a fat bike to meet the needs of the trail in the winter.
If you are in need of a fat bike, you can rent from Algonquin Outfitters in Huntsville – if you are travelling from the south, Huntsville is on the way to Algonquin Park making the pit stop a convenient one. After fitting you for a bike, they can even hook you up with a vehicle bike rack for easy transportation. The location also rents youth fat bikes for ages 10+ so the whole family can join in on the fun. Talk about stellar service! Just make sure to call ahead and reserve.
Snowshoeing in Algonquin Park
Every Canadian should experience snowshoeing in Algonquin Park to truly appreciate this great Canadian winter activity. The park’s popular hiking trails double as snowshoeing trails during the winter time, and are a great destination for adventure seekers.
The 2.5km Two Rivers trail is recommended as an intermediate trail, as is the 3.5km Hemlock Bluff trail. Both of these will provide moderate tests of endurance. If you have experience and are looking for a stronger test you can try the Track and Tower trail, a 7.5km trail with a beautiful lookout, or the Mizzy Lake Trail, a behemoth 10.8km loop.
No snowshoes? no problem! Algonquin Outfitters Oxtongue Lake has a fleet available for half-day or full-day rentals, and is only 5 minutes from the western gate of the park.
Experiencing Algonquin Park the Nordic way
Algonquin Park is a very popular cross country skiing destination, with several trail networks that are packed, groomed, track-set and ready to go. Skiing Algonquin Park will give you a true appreciation for the stunning nature in our own backyard, and is a recommended destination for skiers who have some experience.
Fen Lake offers 18km of groomed trails, and is accessible right from the parking lot at the West Gate. A beautiful set of trails, this network is best for beginners and intermediate skiers.
Leaf Lake on the opposite end of the park has 45 km of trails and is recommended for more advanced skiers. The 13.5km Pinetree Loop is widely considered one of the premiere ski trails in the province.
If you need to rent skis, the Oxtongue Lake Algonquin Outfitters store has one of the largest rental selections in the area and is only 5 minutes from the West Gate of the park. Full day or half day nordic ski equipment rentals are available, as well as children’s packages.
Things to consider before setting out on your winter adventure
Preparation is key when preparing for a day in the wilderness, especially when it’s below freezing outside. We want you to stay safe and have fun, so here are some tips to consider before heading out.
- Pack some extra food and water
- Dress appropriately for the weather, including warm layers (that can be taken off and packed down), a hat and mittens, and water resistant top layers
- Check the weather before departing
- Bring a map and compass
- If you’re riding a fat bike, a helmet is always a good idea (available with rental from Algonquin Outfitters)
- Allow enough time to be back to your vehicle before dusk
- Do not start out on any trail after 3pm