Winter Adventures in Arrowhead
More Than Just A Skating Trail
Arrowhead Provincial Park is a gorgeous place to visit in the wintertime. The park is located north of Huntsville and when the snow flies, there is no better place to spend the day adventuring. I used to hate the cold weather and winter, until I discovered how many amazing things there are to do in the snow! Arrowhead is host to many of those activities!
Saturday was my second time spending a snowy winter day at Arrowhead and I really enjoyed my time there both visits. Arrowhead is a winter playground for all ages and experiences. You can spend the day snowshoeing, tubing, cross country skiing, skate skiing, skating, or all of the above!!! The rental office at the park rents everything you need, so if you are new to an activity, just rent the gear needed, and you are on your way!
Last year, I had bought a pair of snowshoes, planning on embracing my new found love of winter. The sad thing is, in Niagara, where I lived at the time, winter did not arrive. I found out about all the things you could enjoy at Arrowhead and planned a day to meet some friends there. When I arrived, my friends were still a ways away, so I headed down the Mayflower Trail to test out my new snowshoes.
I was amazed at how gorgeous hiking trails can be in the wintertime. It was truly a winter wonderland and I enjoyed every minute of the trail. It was well marked, so you can’t get lost and I found I was all alone on the trail. Snowshoeing is as easy as walking with big shoes on and a great way to get outside and get some fresh air. Anyone can do it and doing it at Arrowhead is a great place to start. They almost always have snow and if you don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on a pair of snowshoes just to see if you like it, you can rent a pair and test out snowshoeing here before making an investment in equipment.
After my friends arrived, we went out on a snowshoe trail together. It was just as magnificent as the trail I’d done earlier on my own, and I was astounded at how empty the snowshoe trails were, considering their great beauty.
Something I have done very little of, is cross country skiing. My very first time doing it, was actually last year at Arrowhead. I headed to the rental office to rent my skis and with little instruction from my friend, who had skied a few times before, we were on our way. I enjoyed it, but found it a bit difficult.
One of the main reasons my friends from Niagara came to visit this weekend was to go cross country skiing with me at Arrowhead. Since, my first time, I had only skied one other time at Hardwood Hills about a month ago, so I was still fairly new to it. My friends also were not very experienced, but with some advice from an Arrowhead regular, we decided to take on the Arrowhead Lake Trail!
The Arrowhead Lake Trail is rated as moderate and is just over five kilometres long. I was a bit worried about it, but, I actually liked it immensely. When I skied here last year I did some of the easier trails and didn’t enjoy them as much. They were beautiful trails, but, I think I needed a bit more of a challenge. The Lake Trail was awesome! My friends and I really enjoyed it and it was the highlight of my weekend.
The trail has a lot of hills and you go up and down quite a bit but for me, that was a lot more fun than just skiing on flat terrain. It was also very scenic with beautiful bridges, views of the lake, and areas where you felt like you were in an enchanted forest. Again, we were all alone and only saw 3 people the entire two hours we were on the trail. It was like we had the place all to ourselves and it was truly amazing.
Both times I visited Arrowhead, I spent some time on the skating trail. It is definitely a wonderful trail and seems to attract a large amount of people. I mean, who wouldn’t want to skate on a trail that runs through a forest covered in glistening snow? It’s magical to say the least.
When I was here last year, it had been on a Sunday, and it was fairly empty on the trail, but when I was there yesterday, which was a Saturday, it was extremely busy.
We spent quite some time waiting for just the right moment to take the photo on the right, (yesterday), but behind me, you can see the other skaters who had just passed. In last years photo on the left, there are no other skaters and it was far less congested. The difference a day makes!
We had an extremely good time skating at Arrowhead yesterday, and the trail was great. The surface is fairly smooth, well made, and everyone we came across on the trail was very polite. The only thing I would suggest to anyone going is to try and visit the skating trail during the non peak times. I was told that mid week the trail is far less busy, and the busiest day is Saturday. I had fun skating there regardless, but there is something so peaceful about ice skating through a forest covered in snow. It’s just a bit less peaceful when there is a large amount of people there at the same time.
If you decide to head to Arrowhead, I suggest you check out some of the other activities in the park, like snowshoeing and skiing, whether it be cross country or skate skiing. I talked to a few people yesterday who told me they were only at Arrowhead to skate and didn’t know much about the snowshoe or ski trails. Hearing that somewhat inspired me to write this post on a few alternative things to enjoy while visiting Arrowhead and how you can avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to try the tubing hill as yet, but I can’t wait to give it a go.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my winter visits to Arrowhead. When you get tired or cold, there are firepits all over the park, as well as warming huts, where you can sit, have a bite to eat and shake off the cold before heading back outside to enjoy another adventure. I’m already looking forward to my next visit! Hope you are as well!
Cool Things in Arrowhead Provincial Park
The above video was published on Dec 17, 2014
One in a light-hearted series of videos on cool things in Ontario Parks.
For up-to-date information on winter trail conditions at Arrowhead Provincial Park follow on Twitter @ArroPark .
Other Useful Links
- Arrowhead Provincial Park
- Parks Blog: Winter adventure in Arrowhead Provincial Park
- Arrowhead Provincial Park Winter Trails Map
- Parkbus to Arrowhead Provincial Park
- Twitter: Arrowhead Provincial Park
- Tripadvisor: Arrowhead Provincial Park
- Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club
My name is Christina, also known as Camper Christina. I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, but moved to Muskoka to be closer to the places I adventure. My greatest passion is exploring new places and writing about them. Some of my favorite hobbies are camping, kayaking, hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing, skating, photography and blogging. If you would like to read more about me or my adventures, please check out my blog at CamperChristina.com.