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6 easy winter hikes around Ontario that will make you want to embrace the cold

Let's get outside, Ontario! We know it's cold out. But it's also beautiful. We've rounded up a list of beginner-friendly winter hikes around Ontario that you should add to your winter bucket list this year.

We hate to get serious with you like this, but we're not going to let you spend the whole winter indoors. We know what you're going to say: "hiking is for the summer," but we're here to prove you wrong.

This province is jam-packed with gorgeous terrain begging to be explored, no matter the season. There are tons of lovely hikes all over the place that lead you to viewpoints, frozen waterfalls, frosty forests, and much more. For the purpose of this list, we've focused on the quicker and more accessible routes, so you don't need to spend a whole day in the cold or worry about any treacherous terrain.

Regardless of the hiker's level, always check trail reports, closures and warnings, and weather conditions before venturing out. Suitable footwear is your best friend, as well as lots of layers, water, and snacks. Now, let's get to the good stuff! Here's a collection of incredible and approachable winter hikes in Ontario.

Vista Trail, Rouge National Urban Park

Located in the Greater Toronto Area, this gorgeous park is centred around the lovely Rouge River. You can find the urban park near the Toronto Zoo. You can access two trailheads, one on Zoo Road and one on Twyn Rivers Drive. One of the marvellous things about Vista Trail is the two-level viewing platform that offers breathtaking valley views. This little hike is a 1.5km loop, during which you'll see the bluffs, Little Rouge Creek, and the Rouge River valley. The walk is considered moderate. While it is short, you will want to be aware of conditions, especially in the winter. If you're in the mood for a little hike and some unbeatable views, you should save this outing for an incredibly gorgeous day so you can take in all the beauty when you get to the top of the viewing platform.

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park


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There are several easy and truly gorgeous hiking trails to choose from at Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. The park is about 30km from Thunder Bay and is home to a glorious waterfall. Sometimes referred to as the "Niagara of the North," the waterfall is the second largest in the province. We don't take waterfalls lightly in Ontario, so you better believe it's a sight worth seeing for yourself. Countless hikes can get you to the falls, but the Mountain Portage, Little Falls, Poplar Point Trail, and Beaver Meadow Trail routes are among the easiest routes. The falls are a treat for the eyes, and it's a whole different experience in the winter when some of the plunging water freezes over. Whether you're looking for a leisurely walk in the park (literally) or want something longer and more challenging, you'll find it here.

North Loop Trail, Mount Nemo Conservation Area


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If you have not had the pleasure, you must check out the Mount Nemo Conservation Area in Burlington, Ontario. This area is popular for rock climbing, sightseeing, and–of course–hiking. The North Loop Trail is considered easy, though it is about 5.4km and steep in some places, so be aware of that. It's a loop that is very popular for snowshoeing in the winter, but you'll be fine if you have good footwear and ensure the conditions are optimal for some exploring. You'll be treated to a stunning vista that overlooks sprawling farmland. The views are awe-inspiring at any time of year, and on a clear day, you can even see all the way to Downtown Toronto. It's well-maintained, great for most levels, and perfect if you want to spot some local birds and other wildlife.

Black Creek Side Trail

This lovely little trail can be accessed via the Limehouse Conservation Area parking lot. The loop is 3.4km and takes under an hour to complete usually. While it is considered easy, some points might not be ideal for kids or elderly folks. For example, one section with a ladder could be tricky for some. The trail is open year-round and has many incredible qualities, including picnic spots, the famous rock fissures called "The Hole in the Wall," and lush tree coverage. It's simple, scenic, and very well-marked for easy wayfinding from start to finish. You'll need good footwear, but it's absolutely worth treading through a bit of mud. 

Killarney Provincial Park

This beautiful park is located on Ontario's Georgian Bay. The park covers a massive area that includes wetlands, forests, and mountains. The park is a hot spot for all sorts of recreational activities, including biking, birding, boating, fishing, cross-country skiing, and more. Of course, there are tons of opportunities to hike throughout the park. It's important to note that the trails are all uneven and rocky, so they are considered moderate rather than easy. As such, you'll need to ensure your feet are set up with great footwear for uneven terrain. If you're up for a moderately challenging hike, there are plenty of trails to choose from, ranging from 2km up to 6km. This park also offers walk-in winter camping if you'd like to make a weekend of it. There's also a warm-up hut with a wood stove that day visitors are welcome to use too.

Scenic Caves Nordic Centre

You'll find this beautiful place in The Blue Mountains. The Scenic Caves Nordic Centre is a gorgeous place to toss on your Ontario winter bucket list. This place sits on 370 acres of the Niagara Escarpment. You can cross-country ski along 27km of trails or hike 12km of trails with snowshoes. The trails are groomed professionally, and they'll lead you to Ontario's longest suspension footbridge. This one is different because you do need to buy passes to enter, and snowshoes or cross-country skis are required on the winter trails. While it may take a bit more planning than just tying up the hiking boots, it's worth it.