It’s always a fantastic day on the trails at Windy Lake Provincial Park!
Windy Lake is a cool Ontario winter recreation destination located only 45 minutes from Sudbury.
Experience the sound of crisp, fresh snow squeaking under your snowshoes, while cross-country skiers glide by on nearby trails.
Exploring the trails
The park partners with the Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club, which maintains and grooms over 15 km of high quality, well-designed cross-country ski trails.
Volunteers can often be found after a fresh snowfall, grooming the trails on the Club’s Piston Bully or track-setting snow machine. The trails begin at the ski chalet in Windy Lake Provincial Park, where some of the easy trails are located, and continue onto the Club’s property adjacent to the park.
The trails wind through the snow-covered forest of Jack Pine, spruce and birch, and on the more challenging trails, up and over hills and valleys.
The park also has 4 km of snowshoeing trails that lead ‘shoers out along an ancient beach high above Windy Lake, with some great views across the frozen lake. Another 6 km of trails were recently opened on the club’s property, making for over 10 km of trails to enjoy.
No snowshoes? Rent a pair when you arrive!
The trails at Windy Lake are often the first in the area to get snow, and hold it well through the periodic thaws, and lasts late into the season.
The club rents snowshoes, skis, boots and poles on weekends from the chalet, a hub of the trails system located in the park.
On weekdays, visitors can contact the Club through its Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org prior to their visit to arrange xc ski rentals and snowshoe rentals.
The wood stove allows skiers and snowshoers to warm up, and seating and tables provide plenty of space for refreshments from the snack bar or your own lunch. Washrooms are available when the chalet is open.
Windy Lake’s winter season begins right after New Year’s and continues through March. The park and area holds its snow well into late winter, so when the trails are melting down south, Windy still has great skiing and snowshoeing.
Where legends are made
Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club established some fine trails where Devon Kershaw, world champion cross country skier and Canadian Winter Olympian, first learned to ski and spent much of his youth skiing.
Devon grew up in Sudbury, and began cross country skiing at 15 months of age. In 2010, the Club named their 5 km trail, an outside more challenging loop connected to the core park trails, the “Devon Kershaw Trail” and presented Devon with a plaque in recognition of his achievements.
A January 2014 article in the Toronto Star called Devon “Canada’s most successful male cross country skier” to that date.
Ski and stay
Located trail-side are four yurts open year-round. The yurts are winterized, and have electricity, heating and lights.
Two large bunkbeds can sleep six comfortably. For meals, there’s a large BBQ on the deck and table and chairs inside for dining. Each site has a fire pit and firewood is available from park staff.
The park provides a toboggan to haul gear from the parking lot to the yurt. Park staff are available seven days a week to assist visitors to get settled in, and can make arrangements for campers arriving late. There is a heated privy near the yurts and washrooms are available at the chalet weekends during the day.
Two cabins sit on the shores of Windy Lake. For park visitors looking for other winter experiences, these cabins provide great access to the lake for ice fishing. They are only a short distance from the famed Sudbury snowmobile trail network. The cabins can be reached by vehicle or snowmobile via one of the park’s internal roads
The cabins feature a kitchenette and a dining table for inside meals. They sleep six, and mattresses are provided on the beds. Outside you will find a gas barbecue and picnic table. A propane fireplace provides a cozy temperature and atmosphere inside.
Camping out in the winter is a unique experience. Staying in roofed accommodations makes it a warm and comfortable one. With ski and snowshoe trails right at your door, it’s also healthy and fun.