9 Best Winter Horseback & Sleigh Ride Adventures in Ontario

Jingle bells! Go dashing through the snow on these incredible experiences.

Imagine ambling through the frosty forest, listening to the soft crunch of snow under hooves and feeling the steamy breath of your mount. A winter trail ride has a special magic that anyone who loves horses needs to experience.

Looking for a more leisurely winter equine experience? Bundle up for a cozy horse-drawn sleigh ride beneath snow-heavy boughs. Gliding through the trees with the timeless sounds of a team of horses, sleigh runners on crisp snow, and jingling bells is an unforgettable way to revel in the winter landscape.

Whether you visit for just a couple of hours, or plan an equestrian-inspired winter weekend getaway, Ontario’s idyllic ranches and horse farms offer a timeless way to enjoy the magic of snow season.

Wagonwheel Ranch, Val Therese

Just 20 minutes north of Sudbury in the rural community of Val Therese, family-focused Wagonwheel Ranch celebrates winter with a full calendar of horse-drawn sleigh rides, bonfires in the woods and traditional tasty treats. Come in December for Christmas-themed rides through the ranch’s forest trails, or visit during March Break for daily maple taffy sleigh rides. There’s even a petting zoo and pony rides just for the kids.

While You’re There…

  • Sudbury embraces winter with a host of fun and frosty activities. Discover the beautiful Nina’s Way Skate Path, which winds 1.3 km through brilliant white birch trees at Kivi Park. The park also has cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, fat bike rentals and groomed paths for trail riding of the two-wheeled variety.
  • Warm up with a decadent hot chocolate and delicious, home-baked pastry at Beard’s Bakery & Coffee Bar.
  • Experience winter camping in comfort—reserve a stay in a heated yurt at Windy Lake Provincial Park, where you can access 15 km of cross-country ski trails. The park also offers a complete ice fishing rental package, including helping anglers get set up on the ice.
  • Combine your equestrian and outdoor adventures with Sudbury’s top family attraction, Science North. This interactive science museum inspires young minds with hands-on activities, immersive programming and fascinating exhibits. Book a room at the nearby Clarion Downtown.
woman getting horses ready for a winter sleigh ride
Forge a connection. Photo: Destination Ontario

Van Doeler’s Ranch, Rutherglen

Looking for an authentic family ranch experience where you can overnight in a rustic cabin, ride to a raging waterfall, and even try your hand at saddling the horses or moving cattle? Nestled alongside the Mattawa River just east of North Bay, the fourth generation, family-run Von Doeler’s Ranch is open daily for winter riding. Explore miles of gorgeous forest and river trails on the ranch’s well-mannered (and adorable) Bashkir curly horses, suitable for all levels of rider. For a taste of life on a working ranch, their ranch life packages are a horse-lover’s dream come true.

While You’re There…

  • Choose from a variety of Ranch Life Experiences, which can include trail riding, cattle sorting and dummy roping. You can even try your hand at grooming and feeding the horses, barrel racing, or simply learn about the animals alongside friendly wranglers.
  • The 15 cozy, all-season cottages at Mattawa River Resort are just steps away from the frozen river and surrounded by 147 acres of snowy woodlands. Enjoy ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails right out your door. Meal plan packages at the resort’s Cardinal Restaurant make this an easy, all-inclusive stay.
  • Make it a ski-and-ride weekend at Mattawa’s Antoine Mountain, a hidden downhill gem with stunning views of the Ottawa River valley, no lift lines and Ontario’s longest run.

Village Clydesdales, Astorville

Best known for their hairy hooves and enormous size, Clydesdale horses also possess a tranquil temperament that’s perfectly suited to serene sleigh rides through the softly falling snow. The gentle giants at Village Clydesdales take guests across snowy pastures and down wooded trails at this farm in the pastoral countryside just 20 minutes outside of North Bay.

While You’re There…

  • Stay warm and snug in a four-season lakefront cottage at Cozy Camp Cottages on Lake Nosbonsing or Cozy Cove Cottages on Lake Nipissing.
  • Casual fine dining is on the menu at 1886 Lake House Bistro, which serves up mouthwatering meals and inviting, family-friendly ambience on the frozen shores of Callander Bay.
woman holding a pair of horses in front of a barn before a winter trail ride
Get ready for a magical experience. Photo: Destination Ontario

Glen Oro Farm, Oro-Medonte

The rolling hills and hardwood forests of Oro-Medonte invite blissful winter trail rides at Glen Oro Farm, just 90 minutes north of Toronto. Saunter to snowy lookouts and canter across undulating pasture on the farm’s privately guided trail rides. You’ll also saddle, groom and turn out your horse after your ride—all of which help you make a more meaningful connection with your trusty mount. For a truly magical experience, Glen Oro also offers fairytale glamping farmstays in their Eco-Retreat stargazer domes and explorer’s tents.

While You’re There…

  • Perfect for couples, Glen Oro’s stay-and-ride packages combine trail riding with a night under the twinkling stars, surrounded by the silent winter forest and snowy fields. A comfortable king-size bed, wood-fired barrel sauna and crackling campfire add to the woodsy romance. You can even have delicious brunch boxes and dinner options delivered right to your glampsite.
  • After your ride, refuel in downtown Orillia at The Common Stove where farm-to-table specialties are prepared on a wood-fired grill. Just down the street, Rustica Pizza Vino is an inviting and intimate space serving mouthwatering Neapolitan-style pies.
  • The Oro Hills are also home to one of central Ontario’s best downhill ski resorts. At Horseshoe Resort you can hit the slopes for a day or stay in comfortable slopeside accommodations. There’s also cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, snow tubing, fat biking and the heavenly new Vettä Nordic Spa.

Stewart Coughlin Riding Ranch, South River

Creating family fun in the Almaguin Highlands since 1960, Stewart Coughlin Riding Ranch raises graceful Arabian horses for their scenic trail rides. Welcoming riders of all ages, the ranch also has ponies for younger children to take to the trails. Winter trail rides are suitable for all skill levels and are led by experienced guides.

While You’re There…

  • Turn your horsey experience into a weekend escape. The lakeside cedar chalets and rustic chic lodge rooms at The Northridge Inn offer low-key luxury on the frozen shores of Lake Bernard. Enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and outdoor ice skating on the edge of Algonquin Provincial Park.
  • Alternatively, learn to winter camp amid the snowy landscape of Algonquin Provincial Park with Algonquin Basecamp. Fully supported weekend packages offer your choice of cold camping or hot tenting, with everything you need to stay comfortable in the winter wilds.

Back of Beyond Equine Centre, Huntsville

A sanctuary for rescued and retired horses, Back of Beyond Equine Centre offers winter family sleigh rides aboard festive red sleighs pulled along private woodland trails. Before your ride, you’ll tour the farm and meet the 10 resident horses and ponies. Sleigh rides end at a crackling campfire where you can warm up while sipping hot cocoa and roasting marshmallows.

While You’re There…

  • Couples can book a romantic evening sleigh ride-for-two, gliding along snow-covered trails lit with glowing lanterns while tucked beneath a cozy pile of blankets.
  • Just east of Huntsville, hiking to the top of Oxtongue River Ragged Falls is a must for winter enthusiasts. Book a gorgeous log cabin at nearby Wolf Den Nature Retreat and visit the falls in late afternoon when the icy cascades glow with golden light.
  • Extend your adventure at Arrowhead Provincial Park, where the 1.3-km ice skating trail winding among the trees is one of the finest in Ontario. Rent skates at the park.
horse-drawn winter sleigh ride on a trail beside a forest
See the sights to the clip-clop of horses' hooves. Photo: Destination Ontario

Honora Bay Riding Stable, Little Current

The best way to experience the scenic beauty and winter wildlife of Manitoulin Island is on horseback with Honora Bay Riding Stable. Choose from gentle rambles for new riders to fast-paced trail rides for more experienced equestrians. Owner Kyla Jansen is a self-proclaimed horse fanatic who loves to share her passion with visitors of all ages.

While You’re There…

  • Plan a relaxing getaway to Manitoulin Island to experience tranquil vibes and inky dark skies perfect for stargazing. Set on 12 untouched acres in the heart of the island, Twin Peaks B&B offers elegant rooms and unobstructed astral views.
  • Strap on snowshoes to ascend to the lofty heights of the Niagara Escarpment on the Cup and Saucer Trail—one of Ontario’s finest hikes in any season.

Whispered Dreams Ranch, Shabaqua

Get ready for deep, fluffy snow and deep-freeze temperatures on a winter trail ride at this ranch in Northwestern Ontario. Situated 65 km west of Thunder Bay, Whispered Dreams Ranch invites riders to explore the countless miles of peaceful forest trails and off-trail adventuring in their wilderness backyard. Climb and descend hills, marvel at snowy “phantom” trees and view frozen waterfalls while keeping watch for wildlife such as deer, wolves, moose and grouse.

While You’re There…

  • View the awesome spectacle of Kakabeka Falls—the “Niagara of the North”—at Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park. The 40-m falls is even more incredible in winter, when intricate ice formations frame the cascade and hoar frost glitters on every tree branch. Snowshoe to lookouts over the gorge, or ski the groomed cross-country trails.
  • Treat yourself to a cozy log cabin stay and gourmet meal at nearby Rose Valley Lodge.
  • The highlands outside Thunder Bay are also home to two excellent downhill ski areas: Loch Lomond and Mount Baldy offer lessons, rentals and weekend night skiing, along with views of mighty Lake Superior.
children enjoying a trail ride
Sleigh rides are perfect for young families. Photo: Destination Ontario

Gammondale Farm, Thunder Bay

For family fun near Thunder Bay, Gammondale Farm is a popular, year-round destination with lots of farm activities to keep kids enthralled. In winter, dash through the deep powdery snow on a sleigh pulled by two of the farm’s magnificent black Percheron work horses. Snowy pastures sit at the foot of Candy Mountain, with lovely views of the region’s distinctive flat-topped mountains. After your ride, thaw out in the cozy log house or visit Gammondale’s troupe of friendly farm animals.

While You’re There…

  • Gammondale isn’t just for the kids; the farm also offers romantic cutter rides for couples.
  • Don’t miss a family visit to the recreated trading post at Fort William Historical Park. Explore the history of the North West Company and the growth of the Canadian fur trade, learn about traditional Anishinaabe culture, and go for a star walk at one of the largest living history sites in North America.
  • Located just west of the city with scenic views of the Nor’Wester Mountains and easy access to area attractions, the Best Western Plus Nor’Wester Hotel is a convenient home base with a kid-pleasing indoor pool and hot tub.

Plan Your Trip Now

Ontario’s snowy winter wonderland is an unforgettable setting for a frosty trail ride or gliding through the forest in a horse-drawn sleigh. Whether you’re looking for a unique family activity or planning a romantic couple’s getaway, discover the magic of a winter equine escape.

About Virginia Marshall

Virginia Marshall is a freelance outdoor adventure writer, photographer and editor with roots in Muskoka and Lake Superior. Read her work in Adventure Kayak, Canoeroots, Rapid, Paddling Magazine and Backroad Mapbooks.

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