Looking for an easy escape into nature? Darlington Provincial Park is the perfect spot.
It’s great for winter day-use with hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities galore, only 45 minutes east of Toronto.
Here are five reasons you need to check Darlington out this winter:
1. It’s super convenient
For winter adventurers in the city, having a beautiful, protected landscape like Darlington so close is a real plus. The park is on the doorstep of Toronto, just outside Oshawa and right off the 401.
On a clear day, you can even see the CN Tower and the skyscrapers in the distance along the shoreline. There’s no excuse to stay home when winter fun is less than an hour away.
2. The scenic trails
Darlington has plenty of interesting trails to explore.
Hikers and snowshoers will love the Burk Trail, which 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 for an extra dose of scenic winter landscapes.
3. Diverse wildlife sightings
Darlington is an oasis of nature amidst a sea of urbanization. Because of that, the park has become a haven for wildlife, and there’s certainly no shortage of viewing opportunities.
Quiet and observant hikers may spot coyotes, deer, mink, rabbits, and more. Remember, though, that feeding wildlife is prohibited! Please do not toss food, bird seed, or garbage to animals. Observe wildlife from a distance to keep these magical experiences safe for both animals and park visitors.
Also, with all that wildlife comes clues of their comings and goings, such as tracks in the snow or droppings. Winter sleuths may find evidence of birds and mammals of all sizes.
4. Birdwatching opportunities
Birding is popular at Darlington in the winter months. A few years ago, enthusiasts from near and far showed up to view the Boreal Chickadee, a rarity in the area that had flown further south than usual.
Other winter visitors may include Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Cedar Waxwings, Black-capped Chickadees, and many more.
Check out the bird information board at the main park office.
5. A transforming shoreline
In the winter, Darlington’s popular beaches and iconic shoreline undergo a transformation. The summer waves freeze over into unique ice formations that you need to see for yourself.
Trust us, you’re going to be thankful that you brought your camera. Just make sure to enjoy the beauty of winter from solid ground. Not all ice is safe to walk on. Venturing out onto unsafe ice puts your life (and the lives of first responders) at risk.
Come out to Darlington
At Darlington, you can snowshoe through the park, set your own cross-country ski trails, or simply enjoy being outdoors in a natural winter environment.
Keep your eyes on the Ontario Parks Snow Report to monitor snow conditions.
To help guarantee access for day use, our visitors are now able to plan their trips ahead of time by obtaining a daily vehicle permit up to five days in advance.
Reservations can be made online.
For more information, including how seasonal-permit holders can take advantage of this opportunity, please visit our website.