The Top 5 Hubs for Golden Horseshoe Snowmobilers

Plan your next long weekend getaway at one of these super Southern Ontario snowbelt destinations!

Ontario is a huge place with over 30,000 kilometres of organized snowmobile trails. So how do you discover the best location to go snowmobiling, especially if you live in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe—Canada’s most densely populated region, stretching from Niagara Falls around the western end of Lake Ontario to Oshawa (including all of the Greater Toronto Area)?

There are no snowmobile trails in the Golden Horseshoe, so your choice depends on variables such as how much time you’ve got, how far you want to trailer to get there, who your companions are and how many kilometres your group expects to snowmobile each day.

Today, many snowmobiles are opting for two or three day winter weekend getaways. Sometimes this means saddle bagging from staging accommodations and doing a loop while staying overnight at different places. Other times, the choice is to stay in the same lodgings each night while doing day trips out and back. In either case, you need a snowmobile-friendly destination and lodgings to start from, with lots of trail choices, reliable snow and positioned relatively close to home. There are plenty of good options that fit this bill (not to be confused with dayride-only destinations) and here are a few of my favourites listed alphabetically…


The Town of Bancroft (pop. 3,880) is located at the juncture of Highways 28 and 62, less than a two-hour drive north of the eastern Golden Horseshoe. Bancroft is also where the grooming operations of the Old Hastings Snow Riders, Maple Leaf Snow Skimmers and Paudash Trail Blazers converge. So from Bancroft, snowmobilers can choose to ride three different trail systems, each with more than enough trails for a great day’s ride, including snow tours such as the Bon Echo Loop and the Hastings Highland Tour.

Snowmobile Tour Planner: Big Time in Bancroft

Where to Stay: Bancroft Inn & Suites

Park ‘n’ Ride Location: Bird’s Creek, where TOP B108E crosses Highway 62 just north of Bancroft

Trail Access: TOP B108E

Tourism Region: Ontario’s Highlands #OntariosHighlands #comewander #bancroft #winterfun #snowmobile


Positioned as the “Gateway to Muskoka”, Gravenhurst (pop. 12,000) is accessible from Highway 11, about two hours trailering north of the Golden Horseshoe. It’s a good starting point for the “Muskoka Magic” snow tour and from town, Snowcrest Riders Snowmobile Club trails spoke out throughout cottage country to neighbouring towns like Bracebridge, Port Sydney, Huntsville and Baysville (good starting point for the Lake of Bays Watch Tour).

Snowmobile Tour Planner: Sledding the Highlands

Where To Stay: Residence Inn by Marriott

Park ‘n’ Ride Locations: Gull Lake Rotary Park, Bethune Drive; Muskoka Wharf

Trail Access: TOP C101D

Tourism Region: Explorers Edge #explorersedge #GreatCanadianWinter #RideTheEdge #CottageCountry


Towing your sleds about two hours northeast of the Golden Horseshoe will bring you to the Village of Haliburton, a good staging point for the RAP Tour. Not only does this vibrant cottage town offer access throughout the Haliburton Highlands on trails maintained by the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association, but it also links to the eastern parts of Muskoka, the Kawarthas and northeast into the Madawaska Highlands. Alternatively, you can book a day ride in the nearby Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve, Ontario’s only private trail system.

Snowmobile Tour Planner: Sledding Near Algonquin Park

Where To Stay: Pinestone Resort

Park ‘n’ Ride Location: Head Lake Rotary Park

Trail Access: TOP B103. Tourism Region: Ontario’s Highlands #MyHaliburtonHighlands


Orillia (population: 30,000) is located on Highway 11, less than 90 minutes of trailering north of the Golden Horseshoe. Normally its location benefits from lake effect snow coming off Georgian Bay and area trails offer a good mix of open field and forest riding, including some at the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, with enough options to make your ride as long or short as you wish. In cooperation with the Orillia & District Snowmobile Club, Orillia provides an excellent snowmobile corridor through town via TOP B112B.

Snowmobile Tour Planner: Ride Orillia

Where To Stay: Best Western Plus Couchiching Inn

Park ‘n’ Ride Location: Tudhope Park

Trail Access: TOP B, B112B, B105C

Tourism Region: Bruce Grey Simcoe #ontarioslakecountry

Owen Sound

Stage out of Owen Sound (pop. 22,000), for several day rides, including the Walter’s Fall Tour, Saugeen River Tour and the Queen’s Bush Tour. Located at the base of the famous Bruce Peninsula, Owen Sound provides snowmobilers with small town hospitality and big city amenities little more than two hours from the Golden Horseshoe. One of the pleasures of snowmobiling in the Grey Bruce region is the feeling of being off in the middle of nowhere while you’re really close to everything.

Snowmobile Tour Planner: Grey Bruce Ride

Where To Stay: Best Western Inn On The Bay

Park ‘n’ Ride Location: Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre

Trail Access: TOP B, B110, B107

Tourism Region: Bruce Grey Simcoe #ridegreybruce #explorethebruce #snowyfunBGS

#experiencewinterBGS #winteroutdoorsBGS #snowmobileBGS #winterBGS #BruceGreySimcoewinter

About Craig Nicholson—The Intrepid Snowmobiler

Popularly known as The Intrepid Snowmobiler, Craig Nicholson is an International Snowmobile Hall of Fame journalist who specializes in recreational snowmobiling activities. Craig has snowmobiled in every region of Canada and many states. His one-of-a-kind tour book, “Canada’s Best Snowmobiling – The Ultimate Ride Guide”, chronicles his adventures, as does his website and Facebook page.

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