Run Off the Beaten Path: Ontario’s Trail Racing Calendar

Whether racing just for fun or to achieve a new personal best, this comprehensive list of Ontario’s best trail running races will inspire you to hit the trails.

Trail running offers many physical and mental benefits, including increased balance, less impact on bones and joints, therapeutic benefits from reconnecting with nature, and a greater sense of adventure. And with more than 41,000 km of non-motorized trails, there’s no better place to enjoy the benefits of trail running than in Ontario. So, it’s no surprise that there are dozens of Ontario trail races every year, held all over the province.

As an incentive to leave the road behind and embrace the unpredictability of a trail race, Ontario trail runners say they get an elevated sense of accomplishment, challenge and freedom from running in the countryside. Whether you're looking for your first race or your next race, get inspired by this comprehensive list of trail running races in Ontario. Then mark your calendar, lace up and hit the trail.

December

Dec 2, 2023 – Chill Session, Mulmur, ON

Racers can choose to run a 1 km, 5 km or 10 km run through the trails at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre, before cooling down and warming up with s’mores, chilli and hot chocolate.

January

two people trail running in winter
Enjoy the rugged snow-covered trails of Turkey Point in Crazy Cat Adventures’ Polar Paws Winter Trail Run. Source: Sue Sitki

Jan 20, 2024 – Polar Paws Winter Trail Run, Turkey Point, ON

Hosted by Crazy Cat Adventures, this 5 km, 10 km and 25 km winter trail run takes place on the beautiful singletrack trails of Long Point Eco-Adventures on the shores of Lake Erie—expect to do some climbing and cross bridges. What sets this event apart is it’s a dog-friendly event, and racers are welcome to race with their furry four-legged best friends.

February

Feb 2/4, 2024 – The Hoot Winter Trail Series, Thunder Bay, ON

If trail running alone isn’t challenging enough, this winter run is definitely for you. Taking place in February, this series almost guarantees that the already difficult terrain will be elevated by the cold northern snow. The races take place as semi-virtual events that require brave participants to use GPS tracking as they complete the 8.8 km trail. Following the initial races, there is an in-person race (weather dependent) taking place on February 24, 2024.

Feb 3, 2024 – The Flurry, Mount Hope, ON

Cold-weather runners will love this twist on classic trail running as they are encouraged to don their most aerodynamic snowshoes for this 4 km or 8 km trail run. Sanctioned by Snowshoe Canada, the race is sponsored by DION Snowshoes, who will have a limited number of rentals available for the day of the race. Racers are given the option to raise $150 for the CYO Marydale Park One-to-One Program to enjoy the snow-packed event for free.

March

TBD, Mar 2024 – Apex Endure Run, Sudbury, ON

Through the trails of the Laurentian Conservation Area in Sudbury, runners are challenged to travel through the cold to complete a 12.5 km, 25 km or 50 km trail run. For updates, follow along with the Apex Warrior Event Page.

April

people run along a trail in fall during a race near Barrie
Climbs and single-track trails await in Barrie, Ontario’s Pick Your Poison Trail Run. Source: Sue Sitki

Apr 27, 2024 – The Pick Your Poison Trail Run, Barrie, ON

As the name suggests, this spring trail run offers competitors the option to run one loop for 12.5 km, two loops for 25 km, or four loops for a 50 km race distance. Taking place in the Horseshoe Valley and Copeland forests near Barrie, the looped route offers runners the chance to travel through the 98 per cent off-road terrain as the season changes around you. With foliage not yet in full bloom, the spring weather can offer a cool, welcome breeze or a frosty gale as runners take on the many climbs and singletrack trails. Whichever race you compete in, racers leave with a fresh jar of honey, part of the 13-year-old race’s tradition.

May

May 4, 2024 – 5 Peaks Ontario Series, Halton, ON

5 Peaks is an exciting race series that holds races in five regions across Canada and welcomes runners of all abilities. From May to October, southern Ontario is host to five 5 Peaks events. The kick-off for the 2024 Ontario 5 Peaks series is at Kelso Conservation Area. The event features a kid’s race as well as Sport (7.2 km), Enduro (14.5 km) and Grit (21.7 km) distances. Kelso is on the Niagara Escarpment and is a beautiful place to run.

May 11, 2024 – Conquer The Canuck, Cambridge, ON

The 2024 Conquer The Canuck proceeds will raise money for KidsAbility, a non-profit organization working to accommodate healthy living for children and adolescents with disabilities. Run the well-maintained 6.25 km loop through sections of gravel, roots and wood chips as you climb 93 metres per loop. The race distances are 12.5 km, 25 km and 50 km, or you can compete in one of the 12-hour team relays. Register before January to access their early bird registration fee.

a large group of runners compete in a trail race
Sulphur Springs Trail Race takes runners through Dundas Valley Conservation Area as they travel a challenging route. This is Ontario’s oldest ultra trail race. Source: Sue Sitki

May 25/26, 2024 – Sulphur Springs Trail Race, Ancaster, ON

Passing by waterfalls and over rocky terrain, the Sulphur Springs Trail Race takes runners through Dundas Valley Conservation Area as they travel a challenging 20 km looped route. Runners will climb and descend 460 metres of elevation per loop. The race distances for Saturday, May 25, are 50 km, 100 km, 50 miles and 100 miles, while the Sunday, May 26, races are distances of 10 km and 20 km. This trail race started in 1993 and is the longest-running ultra race in Ontario. The 2024 race will be Ontario’s first Western States Endurance Run (WSER) qualifying event. The WSER is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race and takes place in California. Find registration information here.

TBD, May 2024 – Maple Mountain Trail Run, St Joseph Island, ON

This trail run begins by running through a 100-year-old apple orchard and then winds through trails lined with maple trees, wildflowers and trilliums, which are often in full bloom at race time. At the finish line, enjoy St. Joseph Island Coffee Roasters maple coffee and homemade cookies.

TBD, May 2024 – Rugged Raccoon Night Trail Race, St. Mary’s, ON

Turn your headlamps on and run through the night to complete this 25 km forested loop around the Wildwood Conservation Area’s reservoir lake. Shorter races occur during the day, while the 25 km and 50 km night races strategically begin before nightfall, allowing runners to get their bearings before running in complete darkness. The run asks participants to consider raising funds or donating to the Ontario Nature charity. Keep updated on the 2024 date by checking Happy Trails Racing.

June

Jun 1, 2024 – Great Mansfield Outdoors, Mulmur, ON

Nothing washes down the heat of an early spring run like a beer festival. This trail race series has 5 km, 10 km, 25 km and 50 km events taking place at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre. Following the races, participants will receive their medals along with a crisp beer mug so they can sample some of the area's craft talent. Learn more about the event here.

Jun 8, 2024 – 5 Peaks Ontario Series, Milton, ON

The second installment of the 5 Peaks race series takes place at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton. The rocky and rooty Rattlesnake Point location is a fan favourite and takes runners through challenging forest trails that overlook some of southern Ontario’s best viewpoints. From the height of the Niagara Escarpment, runners can choose to run or hike the Sport Race (8.5 km), the Enduro (15.6 km), or the Grit (22.7 km). This series also offers a 1 km and 3 km timed children’s race series. Register now or learn more about the race series here.

Jun 15, 2024 – Niagara Ultra Races, Niagara, ON

This ultra race is an official Ontario Ultra and Trail Racing Series event that takes runners from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls. The trail is paved but offers spectacular views as runners run along the Niagara River for 10 km, 21 km, 42 km or 50 km distance races. Sign up here.

TBD, Jun 2024 – The Sunburn Solstice Trail Race, Mount Hope, ON

This run takes full advantage of the longest day of the year. With more than 15 hours of pure sun, racers can participate in a range of timed runs as they flow through the blooming foliage of Marydale Park. Racers can participate in the eighth, quarter, half or full solstice events—the full distance event starts at 5:39 AM and ends at 9:03 PM. Trail-goers can also opt to participate in the team relay event. Keep an eye on Happy Trails Racing for more info.

July

Jul 6, 2024 – The Limberlost Challenge, Huntsville, ON

Hosted in the 10,000 acres of the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve, runners will run past lakes and through serene natural sections of forested trails as they tackle this technical route. Participate in a 14 km, 28 km, 42 km or 56 km race on the 14 km looped route, which features 335 metres of elevation change. Registration for the 2024 race will open soon.

Jul 13, 2024 – 5 Peaks Ontario Series - Caledon, ON

The third race in the southern Ontario 5 Peaks series is held amongst the dramatic scenery of Albion Hills on the banks of the Humber River. The event hosts three distances, including Sport (7.2 km), Enduro (14.5 km) and Grit (21.7 km).

Jul 21/22, 2024 – Conquer the Crater Trail Run, Sudbury, ON

Hosted by XTERRA, this ultra run series offers 3 km, 5 km, 10 km, 21 km, 42 km and 63 km races. Travelling through the Canadian Shield in the exciting Kivi Park, adventure runners will make their way through stunning landscapes that feature rock faces and endless trail systems with 373 metres of elevation change on the looped route. The proceeds from the race are donated in full to the Northern Cancer Foundation’s Miles Against Cancer Fund. Register here to participate in one of the challenging races in July of 2024.

TBD, Jul 2024 – InSault To Injury 10K, Sault Ste Marie, ON

Red Pine Tours and Bear In Mind Running teamed up to host the first-ever InSault To Injury trail run at the Salty Marie Trails Fest on July 29, 2023. The 10 km race ripped through some of the most beautiful trails in the Algoma region. More info on the 2024 race will be posted here when available.

TBD Jul 2024 – Talley In the Valley, Dundas, ON

The Dundas Valley Conservation Area is the perfect place to host this unique race with a deceivingly difficult elevation change of approximately 130 metres per 7 km loop. Runners can choose from distance-based timed races or participate in the elimination-style event, called The Gong Show. Raise funds for SickKids Foundation and you can join for free.

August

Aug  10, 2024 – Forest Lea Trail Run, Pembroke, ON

This run has a limit of 150 runners due to the tight nature of the trail system. Runners will experience challenging singletrack, steep sections and technical obstacles as they compete in the 10 km or 25 km race through the beautiful Laurentian Mountains. Find more information about the 2024 race here.

Aug 10/11, 2024 – Middle Path Trail Race, Peterborough, ON

Taking place on Kawartha Nordic Ski Club trails, this race promotes a holistic approach to running by providing athletes of all abilities the opportunity to compete in a fun and inclusive environment. The solo races offered are 2 km, 5 km, 26 km and 52 km, each winding through pretty Canadian Shield country. You can also enter the 13 km team race, running collectively with a group of loved ones or friends. Race registration opens on November 1. Find more information here.

TBD, Aug 2024 – Foxtail Hundred, Dundas, ON

Presented by Merrell and the dedication of Paul Turkstra, this race series is hosted on the well-maintained trails of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. The course is considered one of the quickest long-distance trail routes due to its primarily flat and accessible terrain. Competitors can enter the 10 km, 25 km, 50 km or 100 km distance races, or participate in the main event—a 100-mile run that ends after 30 hours. Varying prizes are awarded to all runners who complete their event within the allotted time.

woman trail running during a race
The Happy Trails Running race series hosts an event almost every month of the year, including the Falling Water Trail Marathon, seen here, on the trails of the Beaver Valley Ski Club in southern Ontario. Source: Sue Sitki

TBD, Aug 2024 – Falling Water Trail Marathon, Eugenia, ON

Not for the faint of heart, this race is one of the most challenging trail runs. Slow and steady wins the race is a mindset to maintain while carefully moving through some of the most treacherous portions of The Bruce Trail. This section of the trail is located in Beaver Valley and is named after the numerous scenic waterfalls and flowing creeks that runners will pass. Climbs, rollers and about 3,000 metres of elevation change make competing in this half or full-marathon no small feat.

September

Sep 7, 2024 – 5 Peaks Ontario Series, Milton, ON

The fourth event in the Ontario 5 Peaks trail race series will be held at Crawford Lake Conservation Area in Milton. The event features a kid’s race as well as three distances: Sport (6-7 km), Enduro (12-14 km) and Grit (18-21 km) distances.

Sep 21, 2024 – Monster of the Mazinaw, Cloyne, ON

With autumn colours ablaze, Bon Echo Provincial Park is a dream location for fall running. Whether running the 30 km or 60 km race, participants will weave through sections of the backcountry as they encounter steep rocky pathways, winding climbs and difficult singletrack. Reservations open in early 2024. Stay updated here.

Sep 28, 2024 – Run Off The Grid, Mattawan, ON

This trail race occurs in some of Ontario’s most remote northern terrain. Traversing through the hills of the Laurentian Mountains, runners can experience breathtaking wilderness while competing in one of the 12 km, 25 km or 50 km races. These races are not for the faint of heart as they require much technical running. From gravel to sand to steep rocky sections, this run is as challenging as it is rewarding. Stay up-to-date with registration information here.

TBD, Sep 2024 – Haliburton Forest Ultra, Haliburton, ON

Established in 1993, this ultra trail running event occurs in the heavily forested Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve. The area’s natural beauty is stunning and allows runners to experience scenic views of nestled lakes and winding hilly pathways while competing in 12 km, 26 km, 50 km, 50 mile or 100 mile races. Registration for September 2024’s race is not yet open, stay updated here.

October

Oct 19, 2024 – Phoenix Trail Race, London, ON

This running series takes place in the Fanshawe Conservation Area. It boasts mild elevation, dirt sections and singletrack, and offers runners a chance to run the 25 km loop once or twice to complete 50 km. This mid-fall challenge sets competitors up to enjoy some of the best cool running weather in Ontario.

Oct 19, 2024 – 5 Peaks Ontario Series, Brampton, ON

The fifth and final event in the southern Ontario 5 Peaks series will be held at Heart Lake Conservation Area in Brampton. The area’s namesake lake is a spring-fed kettle lake, which is shaped like a heart. The event features a kid’s race as well as three distances: Sport (7.5 km), Enduro (14.6 km) and Grit (22.5 km) distances.

Oct 19, 2024 – Creemore Vertical Challenge, Creemore, ON

Stay back from the cliff’s edge on this challenging trail run that takes runners on a mixture of gravel roads and technical trails as they compete in the 25 km, 50 km or 75 km race. Though temperatures in October are hardly reliable, you’ll enjoy the ice-cold cans of Creemore Springs that are provided at the end of the race.

TBD, Oct 2024 – UpRiver Running Fall Race, Thunder Bay, ON

The UpRiver Running Fall Races offers 10 km, 25 km and 50 km distances on singletrack trails in Thunder Bay. The 10 km runners complete one loop, while the 25 km runners complete a 12.5 km out to the Cascades Conservation Area and back. The 50 km runners complete that course twice. More details here.

TBD, Oct 2024 – Shine On Trail Run, Sudbury, ON

Sudbury's newest trail run is open to individuals and families. Run through beautiful Kivi Park, distances include 1 km, 5 km, 10 km, and 21 km events. More info here.

TBD, Oct 2024 – Sticks N’ Stones, Hamilton, ON

In support of Oceana Canada, this race takes place in the vast trail systems of the Christie Lake Conservation area. Fall running in this area means fallen leaves, clear views through the woods and rugged terrain. Run the 5 km, 10 km, 26 km or 53 km distances, or grab some team members and run the 53 km relay. Find information on the route and registration here.

November

Nov 17 2024 – Fat Ass Trail Run, Battawa, ON

Since 2003, runners have gathered in the Battawa area of southeastern Ontario to participate in one of the province’s largest trail races. Experience rock, mud, single-track trails and sometimes even snow in this off-road paradise as you compete in 5.5 km, 7.5 km, 10 km, 17.5 km, 25 km or 50 km distance races, or the six-hour timed-run event. The race atmosphere remains inclusive and warm despite the cold shoulder season. To register and learn more about the race, click here.

TBD, Nov 2024 – OUTRace Awards and Ultra Legends Fun Run, Cambridge, ON

The Shade’s Mills conservation area in Cambridge, Ontario, offers a perfect example of southern Ontario’s mature hardwood forest trails and scenery. This fun run is not competitive and invites runners to run as a group while experiencing the camaraderie between competitors. To register for this year’s event, check the information here.

TBD, Nov 2024 – Ugly Sweater Run, Vaughan, ON

Wear your ugly sweaters and festive attire and hit the trails at the Kortright Centre for Conservation. Expect lights and holiday decorations at this event, as it coincides with the opening weekend of the Magical Christmas Forest at the Centre. Run a 3km, 5 km or 10 km race. A portion of the proceeds go to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Sign up here.

TBD, Nov 2024 – The Leftovers, Dundas, ON

Organized by Happy Trails Racing, this mystery run is the perfect event for adventure seekers. Participants won’t know the route or distance until the day of the event when they arrive. Though this run remains mysterious, it will surely be is a great time. Learn more about the event here.

TBD, Nov 2024 – The Beav Trail Race, Milton, ON

Run in November’s unpredictable weather as you race through groomed trails with tricky technical sections scattered throughout. This race takes place in Hilton Falls Conservation Area and offers runners a 10 km, 25 km or 50 km trail race that takes them past waterfalls and along the race’s namesake, the Beaver Dam Trail. Find sign-up information here.

Find the Right Race for You!

Whether you’re a competitive or a casual runner, these Ontario trail races make up some of the most exciting running events in the province and offer something for everyone. Whether you prefer cruisey trails, epic climbs, beautiful scenery or the challenge of a snow-covered trail, there is a race here for you to participate in solo or as a team.

About Marshall Veroni

Marshall Veroni is a poet, songwriter and outdoor enthusiast who has spent most of his free time travelling Canada in one way or another. With a background in creative writing, he is dedicated to immersing himself in small-town Ontario to cover outdoor adventures, music, the arts, food and travel. 

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