Ever thought of honing your hiking skills throughout the winter months but got discouraged when you thought of the deep snow covering those beautiful summer trails. Well there is a way to keep in shape, hone your skills, and get outdoors to enjoy our wonderful Southern Ontario winter.
Once a necessity for survival, snowshoeing is now a great winter sport throughout most of Ontario. I guess it always has been but for many years it was necessary to travel north or west into the “snow-belt” to take find enough snow to make snowshoeing worthwhile. The last couple of years with great snow cover throughout Southwestern Ontario that has all changed.
Many of our conservation areas offer marked trails, facilities, and even snowshoe rentals; many are within a short drive of major urban centers. An added bonus is that snowshoeing is relatively inexpensive. Aside from a good pair of snowshoes, no special equipment is required; you can use the same packs and accessories that you would use for hiking in the summer.
I think that many parks and conservation authorities have made the move away from x-country ski trails and are promoting snowshoeing largely because of the high cost of maintaining groomed trails vs. the low revenues they generated. With snowshoe trails being largely maintenance free everyone benefits.
Here are a few places that promote snowshoe trails in Southern Ontario:
• The Grand River Conservation Authority has trails at Pinehurst Lake, Laurel Creek, and Shades Mills. Go to http://www.grandriver.ca/ for more information.
• Ganaraska Forest Center http://www.grca.on.ca/outdoored.htm
• Halton Conservation Authority http://tinyurl.com/bpdxyz
Check out the trails in your local conservation areas and community parks. Snowshoeing in Southern Ontario is a wonderful way to stay in shape and get outdoors during the long winter months.
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