Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Ontario is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise in the winter months, with thousands of kilometres of groomed and backcountry cross-country ski and snowshoe trails to explore.

A blanket of fresh snow transforms landscapes into a new unspoiled wilderness that cross-country skis or snowshoes allow you to access and traverse with ease.

Hit your stride in one of Ontario’s snow-laden parks or conservation areas, and experience the serenity of silent, sparkling winter wonderlands.

Quick guide to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Ontario

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at an Ontario Resort

Check out Resorts of Ontario for welcoming rural and wilderness getaway resorts, lodges and chalets that offer great winter activities, access to trails and, in many cases, provide equipment.

Winter trails in Ontario Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas

Over a dozen Ontario provincial parks remain open during the winter and offer groomed or tack-set cross-country ski trails, and even more locations offer designated snowshoe trails. Conservation areas and nature reserves are also great destinations for cross-country or snowshoeing adventure.

What you need to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Dress in lots of light layers to adjust your temperature with a good base layer and a quality soft-shell jacket that is lightweight, breathable and protects from the elements. You’ll also want warm gloves and a hat. Waterproof boots are essential for snowshoeing, and you may opt for snow pants. Avoid cotton, Gore-Tex and down jackets. On a sunny day, you’ll appreciate sunglasses as the sunshine reflecting off the snow can be blinding. Here’s a Complete Guide of What to Wear Cross-country Skiing from Nordic Ski Lab.

Fun fact

Algonquin Provincial Park was voted by Canadian Geographic Travel as one of Canada's 10 best cross-country skiing getaways.

Ready to explore more? Get started.

Know before you go

Check the snow and ski report

Use the Ontario Parks Ski and Snow Report to check on trail and snow conditions, route distances and park amenities as you plan your trip.

Equipment rentals

Some ski operators, resorts or lodges have gear and equipment rentals available, such as flat terrain snowshoes, skis and bindings, ski poles, boots and wax. Check and reserve in advance.

Last updated: January 2, 2024

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