Northumberland County, one hour east of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), has 19 places where you can cross-country ski or snowshoe — here are five of the best locations.
Northumberland County Forest
This forest's trails are for cross-country skiers only from December to March. Its seven loops range from a 1.6-km loop, for young families, to a 13.3-km loop, if you're looking for a good workout. The loops are not groomed but they are well-signed and travelled. Dogs are not permitted. The trailhead is located on Beagle Club Road off of Highway 45, north of Cobourg. Discover more at: http://www.NorthumberlandCounty.ca/foresttrails.
Ganaraska Forest, Southern Ontario's largest, has hundreds of kilometres of trails, including many along the ecologically-sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine. A new Ganaraska Forest Centre serves as a focal point for visitors to the eastern portion of the moraine. The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) organizes special events from it throughout the year. A GRCA day pass is required to participate. Details are found at http://www.ganaraskaforestcentre.ca/NewsAndEvents.html.
Presqu'ile Provincial Park
Winter bird-watching on Lake Ontario is excellent at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Sightings may include a bald eagles, barred owls, snowy owls, snow buntings and canvascack ducks (to name a few). Although Presqu'ile's 16 km of trails are not groomed or track-set, they are still popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts. Or take a winter walk along Presqu'ile Beach. Besides birds, you may see a mini water volcano eruption; spotting these is winter park pastime. A daily Ontario Parks vehicle permit is required.
Ferris Provincial Park
Cross the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge to access the trails at Ferris Provincial Park, near Campbellford. Each designated cross-country ski and snowshoe trail is five kilometres long. The trails are maintained by Friends of Ferris Provincial Park. A Daily Vehicle Permit is required. Find out more at http://www.ontarioparks.com/park/ferris#Winter Activities.
Snowshoe the last surviving Old Growth Forest on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Peter's Woods is an Ontario Park Reserve and one of Northumberland County's Unique 100 Experiences. Discover more at http://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/trails-a-z/peters-wood-provincial-nature-reserve-trail.
More trail and travel information (including where to eat and where to stay as well as an Outdoor Adventure Map showing trail locations) can be found at http://www.NorthumberlandTourism.com/.