Though perhaps less known than its sister to the east, Arrowhead Provincial Park just north of Huntsville, Muskoka can definitely lay claim to being one of the coolest parks in Ontario. That’s because, in winter, Arrowhead is a hot spot for some of the most awesome-unique-and-breathtaking outdoor adventures in the province.
Maybe you didn’t know that Arrowhead is home to some of the best Nordic ski trails around? It’s also home to the Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club and can boast of over 30 kilometres of exceedingly well-groomed tracks that will please novices and elite athletes alike. So fine are the trails that the park and club have hosted provincial competitive events, and they annually host the long-standing Muskoka Loppet. Recreational skiers can head out to ski here too – taking your time to enjoy the snow-covered forest – and you can rent equipment if you don’t have your own: no experience necessary. (Watch for the shiny new grooming machine while you’re on the trails…it’s going to make skiing here better than ever.)
Just as incredible as the Nordic trails is the stunning Arrowhead Ice Trail. Opened in 2012, it’s a 1.5 km iced path in the forest that winds its way through the East River campground. With skate rentals available for the whole family, a visit to this fantastic spot has quickly grown to be one of the most popular – and most mesmerizing – winter experiences in Ontario. Watch this season also for multiple evening-skate events (when the trail is lit only with tiki torches!), and for the old Zamboni machine coming through the trees to make the surface of the trail as smooth as can be.
With accommodations located so close to Arrowhead, a getaway to Explorers’ Edge to hit the superb trails – whether you enjoy skiing or skating – is a neat way to feel the genuine and child-like wonder that’s evoked by a quintessential Canadian wilderness experience in winter.
And oh yes – bring your snowshoes too!
For up-to-date info on Arrowhead Provincial Park and the Ice Trail, follow the park on twitter: @ArroPark