9 Stunning Places to Go Snowmobiling in Ontario

Check out our mini guide to exceptional trail experiences and kickstart your best-ever snowmobile season.


It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to snowmobiling, nothing’s more beautiful to me than trail riding on a sunny, blue-sky day with a perfectly groomed ribbon of white stretching ahead to the far horizon. 

So when asked to list my 9 most beautiful destinations to snowmobile in Ontario, I thought to myself: Any place can be most beautiful at any moment in time when trail conditions are perfect. You know, those places when you and your riding buds look at one another and exclaim, “Boy, it sure doesn’t get any better than this!”

But that wow-worthy beauty isn’t something that can be pin-pointed on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide (ITG) or captured in a tourism brochure. It has to be experienced up front and personal from the seat of your snowmobile. So I concluded that the question really should be: “What are 9 Ontario destinations where I’ve had exceptional trail rides?” 

Fortunately, this province has over 30,000 kilometres of OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trails for recreational riding. So, the odds of having an exceptional trail ride on any given day are remarkably high. 

Listed alphabetically, here are 9 memorable destinations in Ontario that have delivered beautiful trail experiences for me. Each has enough Trans Ontario Provincial (TOP) Trail and Club Trail options that day ride distances can be tailored to suit big milers, couples rides or families looking for great sledding getaways. You can bet that whichever destination you choose will be a thing of beauty for you!

1. Bancroft      

Photo credit: Martin Lortz

Founded in the mid-1800s for the mining and lumber industries, Bancroft (population 3,500) is surrounded by a legacy of old logging and resource roads and rail lines. These historic corridors form an incomparable network of excellent snowmobile trails that enable easy snowmobile access to all area trails. As a town that welcomes snowmobiling, Bancroft even built a snowmobile bridge across the York River so riders can access services more easily from the TOP Trail B106E that runs right through town.

Day Rides

Get More Info: Riding Bancroft Area

2. Cochrane  

Photo credit: Craig Nicholson

Cochrane (population just over 5,000) has lived up to its reputation for delivering “The World’s #1 Snowmobile Trails” for over 25 years. This Francophone community has established itself as the gateway community to the popular Northern Corridor and is big enough to have all the services and amenities snowmobilers need – but small enough that it’s friendly and easy to get around. 

Day Rides

Get More Info: Riding Cochrane Area

3. Huntsville 

Photo credit: Al Fletcher

Thousands of vacationers flock to Muskoka every summer, so this region has become iconic as Ontario’s ultimate cottage country playground. No wonder then, that this notoriety has also made Muskoka a magnet for winter lovers in search of memorable snowmobiling – and Huntsville (population 19,816), located at the region’s north end provides easy access to the best trails in the area.

Day Rides

Get More Info: Riding Huntsville Area

4. Mattawa 

Photo credit: Craig Nicholson

Positioned in the Laurentian Mountain Range and the Canadian Shield, Mattawa (population 2,000) always seems to get good snow conditions and offers a variety of uncrowded and underused trails. Mattawa really embraces winter and caters to snow lovers. It offers a variety of lodgings and restaurants. Most provide easy access by TOP A112A that runs beside and through town.

Day Rides

  • East: Ride TOP A toward Pettawa and return on local club trails
  • West: Explorers Snow Tour Loop
  • Northwest: TOP A102D to TOP A/D, then do a Field-Marten River loop, returning on NB Trail 308.

Get More Info: Riding Mattawa Area

5. Owen Sound       

Photo credit: Martin Lortz

Midwestern Ontario includes what’s commonly referred to as “the Grey-Bruce.” Sandwiched between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, it also boasts a large chunk of the famous Niagara Escarpment known as the Bruce Peninsula. Its largest centre is The City of Owen Sound (pop. 21,341). Located to the north of the region at the eastern base of the Bruce Peninsula, this urban centre is an ideal destination for staging day loops.

Day Rides

Get More Info: Riding Owen Sound Area

6. Pembroke    

Photo credit: Frank Crocco

Positioned in the heart of the beautiful Ottawa Valley, Pembroke (population: 24,000) is at the juncture of TOP Trails A and B, which offer excellent access to a network of well-groomed and signed trails through the Madawaska and Calabogie Highlands, and around “behind the Park”, the strip of territory sandwiched between Algonquin Park and the Ottawa River.

Day Rides

  • Northwest: TOP A behind Algonquin Park to Rolphton or Stonecliffe, then exploring the 100-series club trails back to Deep River & back on TOP A.
  • West: Travel TOP B to TOP B102 through Barry’s Bay and Killaloe, returning on TOP B101A /Club Trail 122 back to Pembroke.
  • Southeast: Loop through Eganville, Arnprior & Westmeath, returning on Top A. 

Get More Info: Riding Pembroke Area

7. Smiths Falls    

Photo credit: Al Fletcher

With a population of 8,780, Smiths Falls is big enough to offer a full range of amenities and services for snowmobilers. It also retains its hospitable, small-town friendliness and a charming, vibrant downtown. Most important, TOP Trail E runs right through town, providing easy access to interesting day loops in every direction.

Day Rides

  • East: loop thru Athens, Brockville, Osgoode, Kemptville, and Merrickville & back into Smiths Falls. Loop north thru Carleton Place east to Constance Bay, west to Pakenham, and returning to Smiths Falls on TOP A311E.
  • West: loop thru Lanark to the famous Wheeler’s Pancake House (Local Trail 1 south of MacDonald’s Corners) for lunch, then Sharbot Lake, returning on TOP E to Smiths Falls.

Get More Info: Riding Smiths Falls Area

8. Sudbury     

Photo credit: Craig Nicholson

Located in OFSC District 12Sudbury (pop. 160,000+) is Ontario’s largest urban centre north of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It offers big city services, amenities, shopping, nightlife, and attractions to more than fill any non-sledding hours and desires. These two attributes make Sudbury an ideal snowmobiling hub.

Day Rides

Get More Info: Riding Greater Sudbury Area

9. Sundridge      

Photo credit: Craig Nicholson

The Almaguin Highlands is a majestic, 8000 square kilometre swathe of Canadian Shield wilderness, tucked away between Muskoka and Lake Nipissing. The region is sprinkled with rural communities, unspoiled lakes, mixed woodlands, rolling hills, and rocky crags. So it’s perfect terrain to deliver an excellent network of sledding trails for your Sundridge Ontario snowmobile ride.

Day Rides

Get More Info: Riding Sundridge Area

Photo credit: Craig Nicholson

All of these Ontario destinations have several key factors in common. First, each is designated by a snowmobile-friendly town that’s a good staging hub. Second, each is located in an active snowbelt with typically reliable snow. And third, they’re all surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of well-maintained and inter-connected OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trails with good fuel & food options. That makes each of these destinations suitable for your choice of day rides, snow tour loops, or launching a regional saddles bag tour. Best of all, each of them is poised to deliver visiting riders the exceptional trail ride that makes snowmobiling such a beautiful thing!

Ontario law requires a snowmobile entering an OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trail to display a valid Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permit.

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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