Snowy bridge in winter

First Day Hike destinations

New Year’s Day is coming up fast — have you picked out a park for your First Day Hike?

This 10-park list rounds up some top options for your first foray into 2021:

Northern Ontario

Rushing River Provincial Park

bridge over river

Enjoy a cross-country ski, snowshoe, or winter walk through the park. Snap a wintry pic of Rushing River from the park’s day use picnic shelter.

Rushing River is 30 minutes from Kenora. 

Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney George Lake winter

Killarney’s iconic wilderness looks even more beautiful when blanketed in snow.

Killarney is 1 hour south of Sudbury, and 4 hours north of Toronto.

Lake Superior Provincial Park

snowman on Nokomis Trail

The Visitor Centre, campgrounds and park roads (i.e., Mijinemungshing and Gargantua) are closed and gated. Visitors are welcome to ski, snowshoe and ice fish.

Lake Superior is 2 hours north of Sault Ste Marie.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park


Winter guests can explore a variety of trails while enjoying some great scenery and wildlife viewing.

Sleeping Giant is 1 hour from Thunder Bay on the shores of Lake Superior.

Near north

Algonquin Provincial Park

Forested trail in the winter

Keen to explore Algonquin in 2021? Spruce Bog Boardwalk Trail features some of the best birding opportunities in the park this time of year.

Feeling more adventurous? Mizzy Lake Trail takes the hiker past a number of frozen ponds and lakes, through hardwood and spruce forests and over a number hills. Be prepared for a long walk (10.8 km). This trail requires an early morning start in winter.

Algonquin is 3.5 hours from Toronto or Ottawa.

Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls Provincial Park

The falls sure look different in the winter!

A short trail leads from the parking lot to a lookout of the thundering whitewater falls. Quite a view!

Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls is just outside Algonquin, and is 3-4 hours from Toronto and Ottawa.

Southern Ontario

Darlington Provincial Park

Burk Trail in winter
Burk Trail

Located just off Highway 401, minutes from Oshawa, Darlington is a lovely GTA destination. Burk Trail (above) moves through fields, meadows and mature forest past a pioneer cemetery to a scenic lookout over Lake Ontario. Winter visitors should also check out McLaughlin Bay Trail and Robinson Creek Trail.

Darlington is less than 1 hour from Toronto, 2 hours from Kingston and 20 minutes from Oshawa.

MacGregor Point Provincial Park

two women standing by wintry shoreline

The park’s boardwalks offer a great winter walk if you’re visiting Bruce County! MacGregor Point is one of our best-kept winter secrets, and you’ll be tempted to add skiing, skating or snowshoeing to your hike at this snowy wonderland.

MacGregor Point is 3 hours from Toronto, and 2.5 hours from Barrie or London.

Rondeau Provincial Park

hiker with dog

Rondeau’s variety of trails, diverse habitats and beautiful winter conditions make it an obvious choice for a first-day-hike destination!

Rondeau is 3 hours from Toronto and 1.5 hours from London. 

Silent Lake Provincial Park

Snowy bridge in the forest

With plenty of roofed accommodations and groomed cross-country ski trails, Silent Lake is an amazing winter destination.

Enjoy your First Day Hike on the Bonnie’s Pond Trail, a 3 km loop past mature beech trees and a beaver pond.

Silent Lake is 2.5 hours from Toronto and 3 hours from Ottawa.

Stay safe

Always remember to give yourself enough time to complete the trail before dark. Check the starting time and length of the trail before you start – if you don’t think you have enough time, don’t start! Winter temperatures can be very cold, and even colder overnight.

Avoid frozen bodies of water and do not go onto the ice. Ice conditions can be unpredictable. And — of course — dress for the weather.