Snowshoeing Near Me • A Local Guide
For those that may not have the means or desire to go skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing is an awesome alternative to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the great outdoors during the winter months.
Table of Contents
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Go Snowshoeing
- Snowshoeing For The First Time? Read Me
- Good Snowshoeing Trails Near Me (Blue Mountains & Collingwood area)
5 Reasons Why You Should Go Snowshoeing
In case you needed an extra nudge to get out there and try snowshoeing, here are 5 compelling reasons why you should go snowshoeing this winter:
💰 Snowshoeing Is Affordable
You don't even need to buy a pair of snowshoes—you can rent them from us for $15 a day. This means your whole family can enjoy snowsports together at a fraction of the cost of skiing.
📚 Snowshoeing Is Pretty Easy To Learn
Although it can take a bit of practice to get used to, snowshoeing has a gentler learning curve than skiing or snowboarding. You don't need to master the art of control as much since gravity isn't pulling you downhill and you're moving at a pace that you define.
🔭 You Can Explore More
Snowshoeing allows you to discover new ground on trails and in forests that might otherwise be difficult to hike if there weren't snow on the ground. Deep snow is also a huge challenge to walk through with a pair of boots. You need the surface area of snowshoes so you don't sink down.
🧘 Snowshoeing Is Good For Your Body & Mind
If you're feeling a little guilty for indulging in too many holiday sweets, here's a bit of good news: while snowshoeing, you can burn up to 1000 calories an hour! The snow also acts as a cushion for your knees, making snowshoeing a great low-impact activity. Plus, fresh air and exposure to nature can both reduce stress-levels and improve your overall sense of well-being.
🌎 You Can Do It Anywhere
You don't even need to head out of the city to enjoy snowshoeing—you can experience it in local parks (permitting they're open) or even in the streets or on sidewalks if there's enough snow.
🐣 Snowshoeing For The First Time? Read Me
Although it doesn't take long to gear up and head out onto the snowy trails, there are many factors to consider if you're going out snowshoeing for the first time—especially if you plan on exploring new or unfamiliar areas.
🏘️ Before All Else, Practice On Familiar Ground
As stated above, snowshoeing is far easier to learn in comparison to winter sports like skating, skiing, or snowboarding. However, it can be tricky for some beginners to pick up—this especially goes for kids.
Practice makes perfect, and patience is key. If you're snowshoeing for the first time, give yourself and others a chance to get comfortable with your snowshoes.
🔑 Key takeaway: Test walking around with your snowshoes on your lawn, in a nearby park, or on the street/sidewalk if there's enough snow.
🦺 Safety Tips For Snowshoers
Ok, so you've played around a bit with your snowshoes, you're feeling confident, and you're itching to try them out on a nearby trail.
Before you head out, here's a list of safety tips you should definitely review:
Avoid Snowshoeing Alone & Share Your Plans With A Friend
It's much safer to go snowshoeing with others—in fact, we strongly recommend that you take at least one other person with you.
Whether you plan on snowshoeing alone or with a group, tell a friend about your plans and give them an approximate timeline of when you're heading out and returning home. Check in with them during/after your trek.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Snowshoe with a partner or as part of a group. Always share your plans with someone else who isn't going snowshoeing with you.
Check The Elements & Confirm Sunset
Before you head out, check the weather, temperature, road, and trail conditions. It isn't recommended to go snowshoeing in bad weather for obvious reasons. Also, we can't guarantee that all trails/routes are maintained by their respective municipalities or local conservation authorities. Proceed with caution.
Check if parking lots near your trail are plowed—remember that they may not be after heavy snowfall.
Confirm when the sun sets. Make sure you have plenty of time to return to homebase or your car before it gets dark.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Check the weather conditions and confirm time of sunset.
Check Your Snowshoes
Whether you're renting, using brand new or previously used snowshoes—you should always check them. If renting, it's part of your responsibility to check them before you head out!
If there are any questionable cracks in the snowshoe bindings, report them to the renter or get them fixed by a professional. If the snow poles aren't telescoping properly, apply some oil or lubricant to them.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Check the integrity of your equipment before you head out.
Be Visible - Wear Bright Colours
This is one instance where you want to stick out like a sore thumb. Dress in bright colours whenever possible. Even a neon or orange headband can make all the difference if you're lost, injured, or in an area that allows for hunting. If others can't see you, they can mistake you for part of the landscape—or even worse.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Wear bright colours to make yourself easily visible in case of an emergency or if a hunter mistakes you for an animal.
Is It Hunting Season?
Check if hunting is permitted and in-season where you plan on exploring. If so, you may want to consider snowshoeing somewhere else or waiting until hunting season is over.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Avoid snowshoeing in areas where hunting season is active.
Wear Clothing Designed for Winter Sports
Get dressed properly for winter sports—I can't emphasize this enough! No jeans, no cotton leggings or sweatpants, and no cotton t-shirts or sweaters.
If you haven't done so already, it's time to invest in a base layer, head/neckwear, and a few pairs of ski socks. These items are typically made with lightweight merino wool or microfibre fabrics that are designed to keep you warm, wick away moisture, and dry quickly.
Cotton (like in jeans, sweatpants, etc.) cannot wick away moisture—it actually traps it. So, when you begin to sweat under your jacket and snowpants, you'll get soggy and wet. This can lead to major chills, which is both uncomfortable and unsafe in extremely cold temperatures.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Wear clothing designed for winter sports and avoid cotton.
Change Up The Leader & Watch The Pack
"Breaking the trail" means you're the leader of your snowshoe group and taking the first steps into fallen snow. This can become tiring after a while.
A simple remedy to this problem is to switch up the leader every 15 minutes or so. But hey, if your group has a few sporty, energetic members who want to stay in front and set the pace, by all means—as long as it's practical and safe for everyone.
When leading, be mindful of the pace of the slowest member of the group. Make your steps short enough so everyone can follow in them—this helps the followers conserve their energy. Check in with your group periodically and make sure they're comfortable.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Switch up your snowshoe leader regularly and keep a steady pace that works for everyone.
Hydrate & Take Regular Breaks
This one is really important. Remember how we said snowshoeing can burn up to 1000 calories an hour? Even if you're walking on flat terrain, you can burn ~400 calories in an hour (to give you some perspective, that's a Filet-O-Fish from McDonalds!) That's a lot of expended energy!
When we do any kind of strenuous activity, we tend to replenish fluids because we become hot and thirsty. But, in cold weather, you won't notice how much you're actually sweating. Trust me, snowshoeing can be physically demanding and you need to rehydrate and replace those lost fluids.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Snowshoeing burns a lot of calories. Take regular snack and water breaks to replace lost fluids and keep your energy up.
Watch For Wildlife
Observing animals in their natural habitats outside of a zoo or science centre is a true gift. Ontario has a rich natural history with all kinds of ecological niches and animals that are active during the winter, including snowshoe hares, snowy owls, blue jays, white-tailed deer, beavers, woodpeckers, weasels, foxes, and more.
On occasion, you may come across some more powerful, intimidating animals that require special care. Here's what to do if you encounter bears, coyotes, wolves, moose, or other potentially dangerous animals while snowshoeing.
To learn more about the art of tracking winter wildlife, check out this article from Ontario Parks on Becoming a Winter Wildlife Detective, as well as this Beginner's Guide To Animal Tracking from the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Take a few minutes to prepare yourself in case you encounter a potentially dangerous animal while snowshoeing.
Stick To Marked Trails, Tracks, & Signs—And Don't Trespass
Try to follow marked paths, tracks, or signs whenever possible. Snow can change a landscape you've hiked plenty of times just enough to make it somewhat unfamiliar. You don't want to wander too far off and get lost.
Cracks, crevices, ditches, and rivers are also invisible under a blanket of snow. Be cautious around escarpment edges. Stay away from rivers and streams in the winter—they can be quite dangerous.
Don't walk on property marked with red, plastic dots or circles nailed to trees. This means "No trespassing" and that you're on private land.
🔑 Key Takeaway: Stick to marked/defined trails and pay attention to your terrain. Stay away from bodies of water. Don't trespass on private property.
🙇 Multi-Use Trail Etiquette
A multi-use trail is one that permits or is designed for other recreational activities like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
- For trails shared with cross-country skiers, respect the groomed tracks. Keep to the side of the track and leave ample room to plant your poles next to the track set.
- For trails shared with snowmobiles, keep your eyes and ears open. Snowmobiles move quickly over the snow and can come out of nowhere. Stay out of their way.
Always double-check if the trail you're using is multi-use. You can refer to these government resources—both will clearly indicate if a trail or park is multi use:
On the Ontario Parks website, navigate to your park of choice and scroll down the page to see all available activities:
🔑 Key Takeaways: Be mindful of cross-country skiers and snowmobilers. Don't disturb nature and don't be a litterbug.
✅ Snowshoeing Checklists
|To Do - Checklist||To Bring - Checklist|
□ Practice using my snowshoes
□ Backpack (waterproof is preferred)
|□ Tell someone else about my plans||
□ Plastic bag for trash
□ Check the snowshoes and poles to ensure they are in good condition
□ Check the weather and temperature
□ Water - one pint per hour OR one quart per outing, per person
□ Check if the adjacent parking lot is plowed/accessible
□ Warm socks - 1 pair to wear, 2 extra pairs, just in case
□ Check the time for sunset
□ Trail map
□ Check if there is active hunting in the area
□ GPS or compass (not your cellphone)
□ Wear bright clothing
□ Wear base layers, socks, & neckwear designed for snow sports
□ First aid kit
□ Check if the trail is multi-use
□ Fully charge my cell phone
□ Flashlight (not your cellphone)
□ Refer to the item checklist 👉 to ensure I'm packed and ready
□ Pocket knife or multi-tool
□ Familiarize myself with potentially dangerous wildlife and what to do if I encounter it
□ Lighter (or waterproof matches)
□ Print a copy of the trail map
□ Emergency blanket
📍Good Snowshoeing Trails Near Me
We've put together a list & custom trail map of all snowshoeing trails in The Blue Mountains and Collingwood area— basically within an hour's drive of our store—to make it easier for folks renting snowshoes from us to find a place nearby and try them out.
If you have any feedback or want to add more to this map, let us know!
🌱 Where To Practice Snowshoeing
- Harrison Park in Owen Sound
- Grey Sauble Conservation Authority's Arboretum near Inglis Falls
- Harbourview Park in Collingwood
- Bayview Park in Thornbury
🕊️ Free Trails To Snowshoe
|Trail Name||Difficulty||Map||Pet-Friendly?||Ontario Trails||Other Links||Status|
|Chelsey Heritage Trail||Easy||Map||Yes||Link||n/a||Open|
|Wye Marsh||Easy||Map||Yes||Link||Link||Closed due to COVID-19|
|Loree Forest Trail||Easy to Moderate||Map||Dogs must be leashed||Link||Link||Open|
|Beaver River Trail||Easy||Map||Dogs must be leashed||n/a||Link||Open|
|Trout Hollow Trail||Easy to Moderate||Map||Dogs must be leashed||Link||Link||Open|
|Siegerman Side Trail Loop||Easy||Map||Dogs must be leashed||Link||Link||Open|
Nottawasaga Bluffs Loop
Dogs must be leashed
|Walter's Falls Loop||Easy||Map||No||Link||Link||Closed due to COVID-19|
|Eugenia Falls Trail||Moderate||Map||Dogs must be leashed||Link||Link||Closed for the season|
|Bayview Escarpment Nature Reserve||Moderate||Map||Dogs must be leashed||Link||Link||Open|
|Inglis Falls Conservation Area||Moderate||Map||Dogs must be leashed||Link||Link||Open|
|Cobble Beach Golf Links Winter Trails||Easy||Map||Yes||n/a||Link||Closed due to COVID-19|
💲 Paid Snowshoeing Trails
This is a list of snowshoe trails that are either guided or require a fee to access. We recommend visiting the trail's website to find more information or contacting them beforehand if you have questions.
- Georgian Hills Vineyards Wine Tasting/Snowshoeing Tour (booked via Free Spirit Tours) - closed due to COVID-19
- Sawmill Nordic Centre
- Scenic Caves Nature Adventures - closed due to COVID-19
- Highlands Nordic
- Ski Sauble Cross Country
- At Last Adventures (guided snowshoe tours)
- Free Spirit Tours - closed due to COVID-19
This snowshoe guide was created to help plan your outdoor activities in the areas surrounding Rick's Pro Ski Shop. Users are responsible for their own safety—use these routes and trails at your own risk.
Guide users should consider weather, road, and trail conditions, as well as their own level of fitness and experience before snowshoeing. If you have children and/or pets, you should take extra care to check if the trail/route is appropriate for them, too. We've tried to note which trails/routes are pet-friendly.
Also note that we've done our best to identify which of these trails have maintained, accessible parking. You should always use caution when using parking lots, as some many not be maintained over the winter.
Rick's Pro Ski Shop is not responsible for any loss or damage that users may encounter from using this guide. Our staff can't guarantee safety of any route, highway, road, street, trail, or designated waterfall area mentioned in this guide.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this guide, but in light of rapidly changing circumstances as a result of COVID-19, inaccuracies or changes may occur.
Waiver of Liability
Having read the foregoing material and as a condition of using this snowshoe guide, the users of this guide waive, release, and discharge, for themselves and their heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns, any rights or claims which the users have or may hereafter have against Rick's Pro Ski Shop staff, for any and all damages which may be sustained by the users directly or indirectly in connection with their use of this guide or the designated routes and trails.