As a continuation of our recent blog post
on what you can do in Ontario's Provincial Parks during the chilly months, here is part 2!
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Sleeping Giant is a must-see among Ontario’s parks. Trails travel to towering iron-red cliffs, numerous lakes and secluded coastal coves. Picturesque Silver Islet (located just outside park boundaries) was once a rich mining town and retains its former charm. There are over 20 distinct habitat types in the park, which makes wildlife watching a favourite pastime here. Deer abound and there are wolves in the backcountry. The park has an international reputation in the world of cross-country skiing, with over 100 kilometres of trail systems, 50 kilometres of these being groomed, as well as the legendary Sleeping Giant Loppet in early March annually.
The visitor centre is very beautiful, and is the place to find out about winter events, or to take in the displays on the natural and human history in the area.
Frontenac Provincial Park
Frontenac Provincial Park is over 5000 hectares of classic Canadian Shield scenery—all small and charming lakes, granite outcrops, wetlands and rugged terrain. Winter really settles in here: cold, windy, with deep snow and few creature comforts. But if the ruggedness keeps most of us at bay, it is a healthy and vigorous place for hardy souls, a paradise for cross-country skiiers and snowshoers who are happy to be away from the rest of us.
There are over 100 kilometres of established but ungroomed trails and over 40 back country campsites. Visitors should be prepared and planned carefully for carrying in all equipment and supplies. Closer to civilizations, there are 11 kilometres of groomed and set track trails. The Park Office provides interesting displays on the park’s ecology and history.
When there are suitable conditions the park also offers 11 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails with set tracks. The only flush toilet is located at the Park Office; it is also home to an impressive variety of displays on local ecology and history.
Rondeau Provincial Park
While Rondeau Provincial Park, hidden away in Ontario’s “Deep South” may not be on the list of many winter-lovers, it is a park not to be overlooked. First of all is the unique setting. Carolinean Forest is home to plants and animals normally found in the southeastern United States. Only 10% of Ontario’s original such forest remains and Rondeau is perhaps the best place to explore this viny, lush habitat.
The normal winter activities here include great hiking. Without an abundance of snow, the roads and trails here are still accessible to those of us who do not strap on skis or snowshoes. There is still good birding here all winter, and local operators will outfit you for ice-fishing. The park has a winter program of nature education and family activities.
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
If there was ever a name associated with summer in Ontario, it would be Wasaga Beach. From sand and surf to go-carts and ice cream, the beach and town plays host to families, bikers, and everyone in between. But all too few travel here for winter time beauty well away from the crowds. Although the terrain is flat-ish (sand dunes and back bays), there is skiing on over 30 kilometres of groomed trails. The Wasaga Trail Centre offers equipment rentals, a concession stand, warm-up huts and shelters. Snowshoe rentals and a 10 kilometre snowshoe trail are also available.