Snowshoeing – A great way to embrace winter

Snowshoeing can be a workout, but it’s also a great way to explore.

Snowshoeing is an activity that if you get into it,  guaranteed you’ll eagerly await the arrival of winter every year and be wishing for more snow all the time.

And you will find that there is “snow better place” to enjoy this winter activity than right here in Thunder Bay and the surrounding Lake Superior region, part of the vast wilderness you will treasure on a visit to Northwest Ontario.

Snowshoeing can be a workout, but it’s also a great way to explore places that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach in the summer, like the frozen shoreline of Lake Superior.

Easy Access Close By

There are plenty of places to try snowshoeing in Thunder Bay, including a number within city limits.

Many who are just getting started are content to visit local golf courses such as Chapples or Strathcona, which are operated by the City of Thunder Bay.

Centennial Park offers several kilometres of packed, groomed trails with plenty of room for snowshoeing.

More experienced snowshoe enthusiasts will find what they’re looking for in locations such as provincial parks and conservation areas:

Hiking trails at each of these places are well suited for snowshoeing. In some cases, the trails are well packed due to their popularity, but there is always room to step off the beaten path and make your own trail through fresh powder snow.

Hazelwood Lake, A Local Favourite

Hazelwood Lake is one of my favourite spots. Start from the visitors’ centre (operated by the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority) and hike down the hill onto the lake. Then aim for any of the ice fishing spots that are usually found scattered around the lake, or follow the shoreline around to the causeway and then walk back along the road to the centre to make it a loop. You may even see or hear wolves, which are a common site at the conservation area.  

Rentals at Loch Lomond Ski Area

Loch Lomond Ski Area, in the Nor’wester Mountain Range (a close drive out Highway 61 from your Thunder Bay hotel) has 3 km of snowshoe trails. Loch Lomond offers snowshoe rentals, so it’s a great way to discover the sport before investing in your own gear. Speaking of hotels, the Nor’wester Best Western is situated close to Loch Lomond on Highway 61, your connecting road to the US border.

Looking for an Epic Adventure

If you’re looking for someone to snowshoe with, Epic Adventures in Nipigon has several outings scheduled throughout the winter and everyone is welcome to join them.  Some of their treks will take you to scenic lookouts over Lake Superior like those on the 8-k Nipigon River Trail that connects the north shore communities of Nipigon and Red Rock.

Hook up with Hiking Association

The Thunder Bay Hiking Association also has weekend snowshoeing adventures in places off the beaten path on great trails like those at Pigeon River Provincial Park on the Ontario-Minnesota border, about a 40-minute drive south of Thunder Bay.

The local Thunder Bay hiking club recently received approval from Ontario Parks to cut a new 1.5-km section of trail to connect the High Falls and Middle Falls trails. The trail offers stunning views of Lake Superior with the hike to Middle Falls, and return by way of the Old Logging Road making for a great 10-km loop. There are some steep climbs and descents that will challenge you, but it's well worth the effort.

Beyond the Giant

The Beyond the Giant Nature Retreats offers a romantic getaway in rustic surroundings on the shores of Lake Superior. Snowshoe the frozen expanse of Black Bay or take the short drive to access trails in nearby Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Remember, you’ll always greet winter when you like to snowshoe! So plan a trip to Thunder Bay to discover winter beauty in the tranquil wilderness here on the shores of Lake Superior.

About Richard Boon

Richard Boon is a Thunder Bay native who spends much of his spare time hiking and doing nature photography.  He is a past member and hike leader with the Thunder Bay Hiking Association and a former broadcaster..

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