12 days of Parksmas

The 12 days of “Parksmas”

Wrap up the year with something to remember by trying these great December daytripping ideas!

On the first day or Parksmas, my true love gave to me…

…trail skating at MacGregor Point!

Trail skating at MacGregor

Glide through the woods on MacGregor Point Provincial Park’s ice trail. The 400-metre skating oval provides an unforgettable outdoor experience.

And when we turn the lights on at night, it’s truly magical.

Want a sneak peak at the trail?

Tired of skating? Rest up by a winter bonfire. Don’t forget to bring the hot chocolate and marshmallows!

MacGregor Point is a can’t-miss winter experience, and also offers snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails.

Looking for other outdoor ice rinks and trails. Here’s a list of our favourite spots to lace up your skates!

…two snowshoe-ers hiking…

Snowshoeing at Wasaga Beach

Pack your snowshoes (or rent a pair from the park) and explore Wasaga Beach Provincial Park‘s 10 km snowshoe trail!

The Wasaga Trail Centre offers equipment rentals, light refreshments, and warm-up and outback ski shelters to warm up a lunch on a crisp winter day. Quiet winter wanderers are rewarded with sights of wildlife like white-tailed deer and winter birds.

Wasaga Beach also offers some of the most exciting nordic ski terrain in central Ontario with over 30 kilometres of groomed trails.

Check the Ski Report or call the Wasaga Trail Centre at 705-429-0943 for trail conditions, rental rates and general winter program information.

…three toboggan-ers sliding…

toboggan ride at Quetico

Quetico’s Dawson Trail Campground also has a variety of ski and snowshoe trails that are maintained in the winter. Quetico hosts various ski- and winter-themed events each year. Rustic cabins are also available for rent year-round.

…four campers camping…

Okay, we confess: the Parks Passes are just for day trips, not overnight camping adventures, but…

Winter camping at Frontenac

Frontenac Provincial Park is such a perfect winter wonderland, you may be tempted to stay the weekend. Frontenac’s backcountry sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the Park Office to check availability: 613-376-3489.

Just going for the day? Why not trade your hiking boots for a pair of snowshoes? Nature-lovers come from around the globe to explore ‘s trails.

Frontenac’s also got a lot of snowy events planned, from winter camp training sessions to snowshoe races!

…five skiers stargazing…

stargazing at Killarney

Crisp winter nights make for some of the best stargazing. You’ll love the dark skies of Killarney Provincial Park.

Killarney has 33 km of trail winding through parts of the park only accessible through the winter months. Rent a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes (or bring your own) and explore snow-covered evergreen forest.

Staying over for a star party? Killarney also offers walk-in winter camping and six heated yurts. There is a winter warm-up hut located in the day-use area with a wood stove for use by both day visitors and winter campers wanting a warm place to sit or eat before crawling into their tents.

…six birders watching…

bird-watching at Rondeau

Rondeau Provincial Park is a premiere birding destination, with more than 330 species of bird recorded in the park. This month, don’t miss bird-themed education programs, like Owl Prowls and Super Suet (build-your-own suet feeder).

Rondeau makes for an ideal December day trip for any explorer, boasting hiking, ice-fishing, cross-country skiing (no groomed trails) and snowshoeing.

…seven dogsledders mushing…

eight dogsledders mushing at Algonquin

If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, Algonquin Provincial Park has two trails available for dog sledding. If your own dog isn’t willing to pull, there are two commercial outfitters who offer dog-sledding expeditions in the park, one along Highway 60 and one in the northwest section of the park accessible from the village for South River on Highway 11.

Snowshoeing enthusiasts can go virtually anywhere within the park except on cross-country ski trails. If you prefer a set trail, you might try one of the short walking trails along the Highway 60 corridor or one of the two longer backpacking trails. The Algonquin Visitor Centre is open on winter weekends and daily during the March break.

…eight skiers gliding…

Cross-country skiing at the Pinery

The Pinery Provincial Park provides some of the best cross-country skiing in southwestern Ontario. The 38 kilometres of trails form a series of loops, providing a variety of challenges for beginner and advanced skiers alike. Stay overnight in a yurt to make it a weekend-long winter escape!

…nine anglers ice fishing…

ice fishing at Sibbald Point

In winter, Lake Simcoe at Sibbald Point Provincial Park boasts some of the best ice fishing for perch and whitefish. Other unorganized winter activities within the park include hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The main park road and a parking lot are kept open for winter visitors.

…ten skiers yurting…

a yurt in Windy Lake

When the snow falls there is no better place to be than Windy Lake Provincial Park. The park offers some of the best cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the region. Many winter enthusiasts come for the day, but with four trail-side yurts that are heated and available for winter use, winter camping is easy. Access to the yurts is via ski trails only which is about a 166 m () walk.

You can bring your own ice hut or rent one of the new ice fishing kits at Windy Lake, complete with its own ice auger and pop-up canopy.

The Onaping Falls Nordic Ski Club operates a 15 km trail network, offering professionally groomed trails for both classic and skate styles of skiing for beginner to advanced skiers. The ski chalet is open on weekends from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. For more information on ski trails or conditions please call 705-855-2094.

…eleven foodies tasting…

maple syrup tasting at Bronte Creek

The best part of a winter Parks Pass? It lasts until March 31!

The annual Maple Syrup Festival at Bronte Creek doesn’t start until March 5, but we’re already licking our lips!

Staff dress in historical attire and immerse you in the history and culture of maple syrup. Attractions include: pancake house, fresh maple candy and taffy, guide tours of maple lane, gift shoppe, wagon rides, farm animals, historical tours, family activities and more!

In the meantime, check out Bronte Creek’s Victorian Christmas Festival! Explore the Spruce Lane Farmhouse, try seasonal crafts and games, or sip hot chocolate after a wagon ride. Don’t forget to visit with Santa and skate on the Olympic-sized rink (once it gets a bit colder!)!

Find some featured winter events here or check our full calendar.

…twelve tubers sliding…

tubing at Arrowhead

In the winter, Arrowhead Provincial Park grooms and maintains more than 33 km of cross-country ski trails that are designed for classic skiing or skate skiing. Each trail is rated for difficulty and ranges from beginner to expert.

The park offers a variety of hiking/snowshoeing trails, as well as a skating rink and skating trail. There are two warm-up shelters and an open fire pit at the top of the tubing hill (tubes provided)!

Check out Arrowhead’s tubing hill:

Don’t stay indoors

Get outside and try one of these winterrific activities in our parks:

  • snowshoeing2016 Winter Ontario Parks pass
  • tobogganing
  • stargazing
  • birding
  • dog-sledding
  • skiing
  • ice fishing
  • and more!

Ready to snag a pass? Pick up a winter, summer or year-round daypass here (pst! Order by December 15 to ensure your gifts are under the tree for the holidays!).