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While most people are well aware of the fantastic skiing in The Blue Mountains, many visitors are surprised at just how many other fun winter activities there are to do in the area. Ontario’s winter playground is in fact full of fun things to do when the snow flies.
To get you started, here are just a few of our favourite things to do in winter in The Blue Mountains.
Things to do in Winter in The Blue Mountains
When you consider the minimal equipment required and the fact it takes just minutes to learn how to do it, there’s little wonder snowshoeing is so popular in Canada. Snowshoes have evolved a great deal since those clunky old wood models our grandparents once used. Technology has created new lines of light, easy-to-use gear capable of handling all conditions, from deep virgin snow to well-groomed trails.
Collingwood itself boasts a 90 km trail network that’s perfect for snowshoeing, including the beginner-friendly six km Collingwood Loop Trail with its lovely views over Georgian Bay. For those looking to travel a little further afield, the 35 km Georgian Trail follows the old railway line along the shoreline to the quaint towns of Thornbury and Meaford.
Head to the hills and a completely different snowshoeing experience awaits. A good place to start is Pretty River Park, part of the Niagara Escarpment Parks system and the Niagara Biosphere Reserve, and an excellent place to access the Bruce Trail network. This 1,022-hectare park boasts some of the best hiking trails on the escarpment, and therefore some of the most spectacular views over Georgian Bay.
Area businesses also offer some great snowshoeing programs. One of the most popular is the Scenic Caves Nature Adventure, where you can rent equipment and enjoy breathtaking views from its spectacular 130 m-long suspension bridge overlooking Georgian Bay. Guided snowshoe hikes are also fun, especially on a moonlit night. For further details, visit their website www.sceniccaves.com
Go Ice Fishing
There’s something exhilarating about trekking across a frozen lake on a clear winter’s day. And when your target is a fishing hut far off the shoreline, you know you’re in for some serious quiet time. Ice fishing has become a mainstay for many local outdoor adventure companies and area resorts, many of which offer fun fishing excursions for such poplar catches as northern pike, trout, walleye, perch and whitefish.
A number of area providers offer packages that provide everything needed, including heated huts as well as fishing gear… all you need do is turn up and fish.
Go Backcountry Caving
A truly novel way to enjoy the backcountry beauty in and around the southern tip of Georgian Bay is winter caving. While Free Spirit Tours’ experienced guides will take you to some of the area’s most spectacular cliffs and caverns, the adventure begins the moment you start snowshoeing through the trees to the cave entrance high up on the Niagara Escarpment behind Blue Mountain.
It’s like entering another world as you explore spectacular ice formations and subterranean rivers, climbing and crawling your way about underground. Transportation is provided for the three-hour excursion, and equipment and instruction are included.
Beginners, as well as experienced cavers, are welcome (minimum age is eight years), and although some physical exertion is required, it’s a fantastic way for families to bond as they explore an underground environment not normally witnessed during the winter months. Dress for warmth and comfort, and prepare to get down and dirty.
Free Spirit Tours also offers a family-friendly outdoor survival tour on the Kolapor Uplands, including an interpretive snowshoe tour through the forest, a hands-on shelter-building session, tracking, and a bonfire.
Visit their website at https://freespirittours.ca.