Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: February 2019
In light of a recent snow storm (or rather storms), we decided to take advantage of the abundance of fresh snow and head up north to spend our Family Day long weekend here in Ontario. We first visited Arrowhead Provincial Park, which boasts of hosting a variety of winter activities, including: skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
One of the main draws of Arrowhead Provincial Park is its 1.3km ice skating trail that loops through the forest. Since the park often reaches capacity on weekends, we aimed to arrive around 11a.m for when the skating rink opens to ensure a parking spot (especially since it was a long weekend).
We forked over $20 for an all-day entrance pass and then drove to the visitor’s centre to park and rent skates. From the visitor’s centre it’s about a 5 to 10 minute walk down to the skating rink. There are various benches and picnic tables to lace up and cubby holes to put your boots in. There were even two fire pits near the rink to keep warm post-skate.
The rink itself is pretty legit and surprisingly pretty smooth. There is a bit of a downhill section towards the end, which made for an interesting challenge, but for the most part the trail was relatively flat. The other fantastic feature of this rink is that it is all one-way, which helps space out the crowds.
We spent about an hour skating and completed five laps around the trail. We traded our skates in for our boots and hiked back to the visitor’s centre to return our skates. We then grabbed our snowshoes from the car.
There are over 6km of marked snowshoe trails in Arrowhead. We first snowshoed along Stubb’s Fall Trail (2km roundtrip, rated easy). The entrance to the trail is located nearby the skating rink. The trail runs parallel to Little Easter River through a pinewood forest. The first part of the trail was along a wide relatively flat path. Once you near the falls, you have to take your snowshoes off to go down the metal steps and cross the bridge to the other side of the river. From here, you can return the way you came or continue down a more moderate path that loops back to the start of the trail. We opted for the latter for a change of scenery.
After we finished up our hike, we drove to the other side of the park to snowshoe along the Mayflower Lake Trail (2km roundtrip, rated moderate). There are two versions of this trail: a long loop and a shorter loop. Given that the difference between the two routes was 500m, we snowshoed along the longer loop around the lake.
By the time we finished up our hike it was around 5p.m and the sun was starting to set. We left the park and drove to our hotel in Huntsville to check in, shower, and then head out for dinner. We planned to spend the remainder of our weekend in Algonquin Provincial Park for more snowshoeing.