When the snow piles up, it’s piles of fun in South Eastern Ontario! This region heats up in the winter with unique opportunities to make memories outdoors. Get off the couch and into nature – it’s a thrill to make the most of the season!

If You’re Coming From Toronto…

Looking for a winter playground? Begin at Batawa Ski Hill in the Bay of Quinte snow enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy skiing and snowboarding. Offering 12 runs from novice to experienced, spending time on the hills is the perfect way to enjoy winter. It even has a full range of ski and snowboard gear to use and no experience is needed to get out on the slopes – take a lesson to get started!

Continue in the active groove and drive out to Sager Conservation Area for a winter hike. After a short hike, visitors are met with a 30-foot lookout tower that involves some serious stairs – but the view of the wilderness is worth every step. If winter trails are your thing, be sure to check out H.R. Frink Conservation for beautiful winter hiking. More than 12 kilometres of trails give way to an education centre with outdoor programming. This one is a favourite of local birders and photographers – look for the popular wetland ecology boardwalk!

Next, drive to Frontenac County for some serious snowshoeing. Hit the trails snowshoeing at Frontenac Provincial Park to make the most out of winter. The park rents snowshoes during the winter months when the office is open. The modern-style shoes come with trekking poles; according to park info, the most popular trails enjoyed by snowshoers are the moderate 3 km Doe Lake Loop and the easy 1.5 km Arab Lake Gorge Loop.

What’s more Canadian than snowmobiling?! Explore Frontenac County by sled this winter when the snow flies. Grab your permit from the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs and set out on the Frontenac K&P Trail. It’s a great starting point as part of a larger 180-km multi-use recreational trail that connects downtown Kingston with Renfrew. Frontenac County owns and operates the 90-km stretch from Kingston to Wilbur. During winter, this section of the trail is well maintained, with the Lennox and Addington Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club one of the most active in Frontenac. It grooms a portion of the Frontenac K&P Trail, with the Snow Road Snowmobile Club managing more than 470 km of trail including those in North Frontenac.

Start the day taking the ferry over to Amherst Island and experience the magic of birding in winter! Lennox and Addington’s Amherst Island is known for being one of the top spots to birdwatch in the wintertime due to a large number of hawks, owls and waterfowl that live on this island. Keep an eye out for Red-Tailed Hawk, Snowy Owl and Northern Harrier. Did you know that Amherst Island is actually the best place in the province to reliably see Northern Saw-Whet Owl and Long-eared Owl?

Scoot over to Prince Edward County to discover snowshoeing! Even though the white sand is buried under white snow the beaches of the Sandbanks Provincial Park are a special kind of beautiful in the winter. Think snow and ice shimmering in the sun for miles. The park has six different trails that feel like magic. Be sure to visit the Ontario Parks site for more info before heading out. Did you know that even though the park is closed for the season its roofed accommodation rentals are year-round? There’s also the Millennium Trail which is on an old rail line so it’s an easy option for beginners, as is Macauley Mountain Conservation Area! This area is accessed from Macauley Heritage Park and has trail networks with various routes – be sure to check out the Birdhouse Village. Warm-up after your time outside at one of PEC’s award-winning wineries or craft breweries. Some wineries even offer snowshoeing! You’ll earn that beverage.

If You’re Coming From Ottawa…

Start in Prescott & Russell – a veritable winter wonderland. Larose Forest is the place to enjoy everything winter has to offer outdoors. With cross country skiing trails, snowshoe trails and even dogsledding, Larose Forest has both shared trails and those specially reserved for certain activities. Get this: it’s 18,000 acres and one of the largest human-made forests in Canada. Established more than 100 years ago, over 18 million trees have been planted there, making for a wild mix of hardwoods, red and white pine and wetlands that is known for its biodiversity. Even moose and almost 70 species of butterflies call this forest home!

If in Cornwall, be sure to pack a sled for old fashioned sledding at Legion Park Hill or Lamoureux Park. Enjoy some quiet time at Gray’s Creek Conservation Area, embrace winter at Guindon Park! Find your peace, then head over to Big Ben Ski Centre to find your cool! With skiing and snowboarding (and even glow nights every Friday!) Big Ben is a locally legendary place to learn or have fun perfecting those extreme winter skills. This is the perfect playground when the snow flies!

Travel next to SDG Counties to experience the quintessential winter getaway location! Perhaps most unique is skating on a woodland trail through the woods at Countryside Adventures. Skate through the beautiful forest trail and warm up at the bonfire. Then glide into loving the season by sliding down their amazing tube runs – at night they’re even lit up! This is the perfect place for family fun, an energizing date day, or unique friend hang. No equipment? No problem! Skates, snowshoes and even helmets are available to rent here. Continue revelling in a winter wonderland and cross country ski, snowshoe or fat bike at the Summerstown Trails.

If you’re stopping in Prescott, The Heritage River Trail is a popular walking path that runs along the waterfront for one of the longest riverside walking paths in all of Eastern Ontario. This paved path takes walkers along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, and is complete with information boards about the historic industry in the town. In winter, time slows down in Prescott and the river is peaceful – making for a crisp, memorable time spent outdoors.

Go to Brockville  where you can grab a coffee downtown and then hustle onto the historic Brock Trail or venture out of town to Mac Johnson Wildlife Area. Explore the wetland, field and forest, try out cross country skiing through 11 km of wilderness or take a break and throw on some skates at the skating rink pond and bonfire pit. For avid snowmobilers, try Limerick Forest – the trail network offers 30 km of snowmobile trail and biking, cross country skiing and bird watching in winter!  The City of Brockville also operates outdoor rinks and a big community sledding hill at Memorial Park. Harness the kid in yourself and hop on a toboggan!

Swing over to the 1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways and enjoy the peacefulness of water views and woods in winter! The Cataraqui Trail is known as Eastern Ontario’s path to history and nature. Situated on a former rail line, the trail’s most scenic sections are known to be surrounding Chaffey’s Lock. The trail even crosses an old train bridge high above the water with exceptional views. The peacefulness of the water below, the snow, and fresh air make for a beautiful spot for cross country skiing.

For avid snowmobilers, try Limerick Forest – the trail network offers 30 km of snowmobile trail and biking, cross country skiing and bird watching in winter!  The City of Brockville also operates outdoor rinks and a big community sledding hill at Memorial Park. Harness the kid in yourself and hop on a toboggan!

Snow truth: winter is what you make it! It’s invigorating to embrace the white stuff at Kemptville Winter Trail in 1000 Islands Rideau Canal Waterways with about 5.5 km of groomed free-use trails. Whether with snowshoes, cross country skis, fat bikes, or boots, the open areas of the Ferguson’s Forest Centre Arboretum and the tree nursery roads, in addition to a section that goes right into the forest itself, is a beautiful winter experience.

Find yourself in the sky! A short drive to 1000 Islands, Gananoque will put a remarkable spin on an outdoor adventure trip. Take a flight with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours to see the stunning winter landscape and St. Lawrence from high above. A personal pilot will point out all the best sights. Witness the stillness and romance of Boldt Castle when it’s dusted with snow!

End the trip in Kingston to experience skating at historic market square! As the thermometer drops the rink appears on Kingston’s Springer Market Square and people lace up skates and hit the downtown rink behind City Hall. Not only is it a gorgeous location, but it’s near some great restaurants perfect for specialty hot chocolate or adult beverages and apps afterwards. End the day at one of Kingston‘s peaceful hotels or bed and breakfasts, while warming up in a fireplace suite or sauna, sipping a locally-crafted pint from the area.

Have fun adventuring outdoors across South Eastern Ontario as the snow flies! You may end up changing your mind about winter.