Outdoor Activities to Help you get Through Winter: Events, Hiking and More

These outdoor activities will give you a fresh perspective and boost your mood 

Canadian winters can be bitter and seemingly unending. We've arrived at the point in the season where we really start to feel the season bearing down on us; between either continually shovelling loads of snow or dealing with cold snaps, it never seems to end.

What you're feeling is the winter blues and it can be a pain.

But there's a plus side.

At its absolute best, winter can be amazing. There's something great to be said about the way that nature will always find a way to balance itself - no matter how harsh the storm, no matter how cold it might get there will always be days when the temperature becomes just right and a cloudless sky will open up a new world of limitless winter fun.

And let me tell you, when you're in Sunset Country during this time of year, the fun is truly limitless.

It's days like this when you need to take initiative, and allow the wonders of a Canadian winter to set you free. 

Find a trail and go for a hike

Dryden Ski Club
Courtesy of Dryden Ski Club

Getting outside in the summer is as easy as putting on a pair of sneakers and walking out the front door. But when there's 3 feet of snow surrounding you, going for a hike can seem as more of a chore than a leisurely activity.

But loads of snow is precisely what makes winter hiking so amazing.

Hiking is an excellent way to ease a lot of the stresses that may have been weighing you down this winter. There's no better stress relief than trudging through a foot of snow with your over-sized sorels; crunching that fresh blanket cottony power to the forest floor. Trust me, once you're out amongst the tree-walled trails and away from all of the distractions of the city - allowing the fresh winter air to fill your nose and clear your mind - you'll wonder why you didn't go sooner.

Printable PDF of trails around Lake of the Woods

Northwestern Ontario Communities Winter Hiking Trails

Check out the winter carnivals

It doesn't matter who you are - everyone loves a good carnival. It's always great to see locals come together, no matter what the reason, in collaboration for the small yet vital events that hold communities together. Sometimes going to an event and becoming a part of the hordes of enthusiastic partygoers is exactly what's needed to renew your spirits.

Whether it's building snow sculptures, voyageur festivals or dog sled races, winter carnivals are guaranteed to put a spring in your step.

Kenora Winter Carnival 2016

Kenora Winter Carnival
Snow sculpture at last year's winter carnival

Kenora, Ontario

March 4th to 6th


 The theme this year will be "Rat Portage Days", paying tribute to our origins in logging, trade and embracing Kenora's native culture.

Information on Kenora Winter Carnival 

Dryden Winter Festival 2016

Dryden Winter Festival
From last year's Dryden Winter Festival

Dryden, Ontario

February 13th to 15th


Dryden Winter Fishing Derby 2016:

Information on the Dryden Winter Fishing Derby

Kin Carnival 2016

Trapline Dog Sled Race
4th Annual Trapline Dog Sled Race

Vermilion Bay, Ontario

February 20th

2016 Annual Trapline Challenge Dogsled Race:

Information on the Vermillion Bay Trapline Challenge

Voyageur Winter Carnival 2016

Voyageur Winter Carnival
From Visit Northwest Ontario

Thunder Bay, Ontario

February 13th to 15th


Fort William Historical Park:

Information on Voyageur Winter Carnival

Go Ice fishing

Glenn Campana via Pete Maina
Glenn Campana via Pete Maina

Of course! Ice fishing is the epitome of a classic Northern Winter.

Ice fishing is a great way to leave all of the worries of life back on shore and venture out onto a frozen lake of endless opportunity. The window for ice fishing is short and typically only lasts until the end of March, weather permitting, so get out there and enjoy this winter-only activity while the ice is solid!

The weather in Northern Ontario over the last couple of months has been very mild due to El Niño activity. However, due a recent cold-snap over the last few weeks, many of the ice roads in the region have been opened.

It's imperative to exercise caution while ice fishing; even in favourable conditions. Not all ice is created equally and accidents do happen. Be safe when heading out onto the ice and notify people where you're going and when you'll be back.

Don't forget that fishing tags expire on December 31st of every year regardless of when you bought them - so if you haven't renewed your licence you can do so online. Click here for more information on how to renew or buy a fishing licence and Outdoors Card.

Outdoors cards are valid for three years from the year that you purchased them. You can check the expiration date of the back of your card. You can renew your card by visiting here or if you don't have an outdoor card you can click here and order yours today.

Winter Camping

Camping Nestor Falls Fly in Outposts
Courtesy of Nestor Falls Fly in Outposts

I'm a nature person.

My default happy place is out in the wild and is my go to whenever I need to clear my head.

My most recommended way to ease the winter blues is to mark out a few days in your schedule, grab a tent and go explore the wilderness. Spending a few days with only a campfire and the bare necessities can give you new perspective and will definitely help you carry on through the last few months of winter.

Grab a friend, get up and go - you have everything to gain.

For the best experience: Turn off your mobile data and only use your phone for emergencies. Disconnecting from the world is the best way to reconnect with yourself.

Go Camping in Northwestern Ontario

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About Travis Heath

Travis Heath is a graduate of the Film Production Program in Thunder Bay. He worked as a Writing Intern providing content for Ontario's Sunset Country in Kenora.

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