Snowmobile trails at your fingertips: how to use the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club’s (OFSC) Prescribed Snowmobile Trails are the most important reference point for snowmobiling in Ontario, so throughout the season, tens of thousands of Ontario riders visit the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide (ITG). The ITG is a free online tool exclusively available through the website of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs.
OFSC Go Snowmobiling Ontario App
The Interactive Trail Guide (ITG) is also available in two versions of the OFSC Go Snowmobiling Ontario App, a free basic version and a subscription-based, premium PRO upgrade at a minimal fee, which automatically updates the one purchased from the previous season.
Both versions allow you to check trail status beforehand to confirm your intended route, then to view exactly where you are on the trails on your mobile device, whether or not you have cell service, internet access or a data plan, using the latest trail availability information from the web-based Interactive Trail Guide.
Each is available on the Apple and Google stores, and the updated PRO app includes these great new features:
- locate trailside services (food, fuel, lodging, parking and more)
- calculate distance to your destination and trailside services
- high-resolution zoom level
- plan, save and share your trip itineraries
- add friends to share your location or save trips with
- customize your profile with sled and ride details
- rotate screen for mounting on your favorite docking accessory
- view satellite basemaps
- enjoy better search capability (Find Nearest To Me)
- access OFSC trail status as per the last data connection available
- record rides
- get real time notifications of status changes for your favourite trails
- rate completed Snow Tours
The mobile-friendly Interactive Trail Guide can still be opened and used on a smartphone as is, without downloading the app.
Province-wide reference tool
The OFSC Interactive Trail Guide is Ontario's only province-wide snowmobile trail reference tool. This one-stop source provides real time trail status and trail network information on trail-accessible services, fuel and other points of interest. It provides two primary functions that are very beneficial to snowmobilers: "Trail Status" and "Trail Network” (see below).
Snowmobilers need to be aware that the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide is the only authorized source for the most recent Trail Network data, as provided by OFSC member clubs through their districts. For Garmin GPS device users, the OFSC provides this data to its official and only partner in this technology, Trak Maps, which provides OFSC trail data for an annual fee.
Snowmobilers also need to be aware that the OFSC ITG is the only authorized province-wide reference source for the very important Trail Status information that assists in your decision about where and when to ride legally. For both current Trail Network and Trail Status, the OFSC recommends that you check the ITG before accessing any OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trail.
About Trail Status View
When looking at the Interactive Trail Guide, a rider can select to view either Trail Status or Trail Network. Trail Status is the default view that automatically appears when the ITG opens on your screen. Trail Status displays information provided by OFSC districts about trail availability. You can switch to Trail Network View by de-selecting the checked box beside Trail Status in the Legend located in the lower left corner of your screen.
Trail Status should not be misinterpreted as a grooming report. Rather, Trail Status reports provide notice of trail route accessibility. This information is not an assurance of trail quality either. Snowmobilers are reminded that snowmobiling occurs in a wilderness setting. Thus, this non-engineered environment and the condition of the trail can significantly change over the course of a day due to climate, traffic and other conditions. Snowmobilers access trail routes at their own risk and are reminded to exercise caution at all times. Although a trail may have been last identified as available or with limited availability, when in doubt do not enter the trail.
The identified trail or section of trail showing up in green means it is available to ride. But every rider must understand that anything showing as green will likely vary considerably in quality, attributes and terrain over its length. Specifically, "Availability" is not any indication of grooming.
The identified trail or section of trail showing in yellow means it has limited availability. Every rider must exercise extreme care and reduce speed when entering and riding a trail marked as yellow because access is limited and riding opportunities are marginal. Again, "Limited Availability" is not any indication of grooming.
The identified trail or section of trail showing in red means it is unavailable to enter or ride at this time. Every rider must understand that access is prohibited and anyone entering that trail may be trespassing. Entering or riding a trail marked as red could also result in permanent trail closure.
Although this rarely happens, the identified trail or section of trail showing as grey means that no trail status report is entered in the system. If a trail shows grey, riders should assume that it is unavailable until such time as its status and colour change.
About Trail Network View
As noted above, you can select Trail Network View after the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide opens on your screen. Note that while the trail colours in this view may look similar to those shown in Trail Status, they indicate the different kinds of trail listed below and have nothing to do with trail availability.
Trail Network is the view that shows the entire OFSC trail system. It is best used for trip planning, locating trail updates, calculating ride distances, and viewing Snow Tours, attractions, staging areas and services. Network views will display as one of four possible categories on the Interactive Trail Guide:
Club Trails display as orange. When you zoom in, their trail numbers are visible. Club Trails include any local and regional trails that are not part of the Trans Ontario Provincial (TOP) Trail system.
Trunk Trails are shown in red and designated by a single letter of the alphabet (for example, "A"). Each Trunk Trail displays as this colour and letter on every trail guide and all on-trail signage. As the name implies, a Trunk Trail is a main provincial route that crosses through multiple districts and measures a longer distance than other kinds of TOP Trails.
Connector Trails are shown in green and designated by a letter/number combination (for example, "A101D"). Each Connector Trail displays as this colour and combination on every trail guide and all on-trail signage. As the name implies, a Connector Trail links two Trunk Trails. Connectors tend to be all within one region and shorter in length than a Trunk Trail. In the previous example, Connector Trail A101D links Trunk Trail A and Trunk Trail D.
Feeder Trails are shown in blue and designated by a letter/number combination (for example, "C112"). Each Connector Trail displays as this colour and combination on every trail guide and all on-trail signage. As the name implies, a Feeder Trail flows sleds from communities and club trails to the nearest Trunk Trail. Feeders tend to be more prevalent in populated areas and shorter than Trunk Trails. In the previous example, this Feeder Trail C112 flows traffic to Trunk Trail C.
As a public service, the OFSC provides snowmobilers with free access to the Interactive Trail Guide as part of its value-added "thank you" for supporting organized snowmobiling in Ontario. If you're looking to go touring around the province, it's your primary navigation tool. And if you're an avid snowmobiler who isn't already internet savvy, that makes the Interactive Trail Guide one more very good reason to get yourself up to speed.
Last updated: January 3, 2023