Arrowhead Provincial Park Skating and Snowshoeing

Arrowhead Provincial Park makes for a great winter day trip from Toronto or many locations in Southern Ontario. On my day trip to Arrowhead, I got to enjoy snowshoeing through the hardwood forest and skating along a trail through the forest at night time. It made for a really wonderful outing to enjoy the snow and wintertime weather. Arrowhead is so close to Huntsville you can easily leave between activities to enjoy a nice meal at one of the restaurants there as well. The Muskoka area is perfect for a road trip from Toronto. If you’re visiting in another season, check out my guide to Arrowhead here.

Arrowhead Provincial Park Skating

The Arrowhead skating trail is a unique winter experience and definitely is a big reason people visit the park. The 1.3 km trail is nice and wide and takes you on a loop through the snowy forest. It’s a very romantic setting, especially if you skate at night. Arrowhead’s skate trail is worth the trip alone to this winter paradise.

Trail to Arrowhead Skating

On some Thursdays, Saturdays, and on Valentine’s Day, Arrowhead has what is called a Fire and Ice skate night. One these nights, day time skating closes at 3 pm so that they can prep the skating trail for the evening. From 6-9 pm, you can skate through the forest on the Arrowhead skating trail lit up by tiki-torches. Rental opens at 5:30 pm and I highly recommend you get to the skate night as early as possible. I went around the trail four times and it was very quickly getting quite crowded on the trail.

If you don’t own skates, you can rent them from the rental office before walking to the ice skating trail. The start of the skate trail has an area for putting skates on as well as cubbies for storing boots. At night, there are also several fire pits to warm up your cold hands and feet.

Rental Cost: $ 10, rental time 3 hrs or 5:30-8:30 on skate nights. Helmets are not available for rental.
Skate Trail Hours:  11am-close (5-6 pm depending on month),Fire and Ice: 11am – 3pm, 6pm-9pm

Snowshoeing at Arrowhead Provincial Park

I went to the Fire and Ice Skate night but I wanted to see the forest during the day. I chose to go snowshoeing. In the 3 hour rental of snowshoes that I had, I was able to do most of the snowshoeing trails. There is an easy trail here that is groomed and takes you to Stubb’s Falls. The Stubb’s Falls route didn’t feel like much of snowshoeing because the snow is so hard packed you would never sink into it anyways. The forest here is really beautiful though with its mix of evergreen trees and birch trees.

After that, you can continue taking the easier route or head up towards Hardwood Ridge. This route is more difficult because it goes up a very steep hill, but aside from the fall’s, it was the most scenic part of snowshoeing. The forest here is almost all hardwoods and I hardly came across other snowshoers. There was lots of fluffy snow in the forest here to test out the snowshoes off of the trail.

If you don’t feel like snowshoeing, there were many people that were hiking on the snowshoe trails. As a hiker, you are limited to these trails as the cross-country ski trails are only for skiing.

Rental Cost: $10 for 3 hours
Hours: 9 am to park close (5-6pm)

Other Winter Activities at Arrowhead Provincial Park

In addition to the skating trail and snowshoeing, Arrowhead offers up 33km of cross country skiing, a skijoring trail, and a tubing hill. The tubing hill is free with your day pass so if the hill is open, you can use the tubes provided. There are no harness rentals for skijoring so you have to have your own equipment for it (and dog!). If you are cross-country skiing at Arrowhead, instead of the car pass, you have to pay per person and get a ski tag. There are rentals for skiing but it is very popular so on busy days you may end up being out of luck.

Arrowhead Provincial Park Cabins

In addition to all the wonderful trails that Arrowhead has to offer, you can spend the night in a cabin at Arrowhead if you want to experience it all or a day trip isn’t a reasonable option. There are 10 cabins that you can walk, snowshoe, or ski into. These are rustic accommodations that come with basic equipment such as a fireplace, fridge, microwave, and BBQ. If you are interested in renting a cabin you can check out the reservation system here. You will want to book this well in advance as I imagine they are booked up for weekends quickly.

Facilities at Arrowhead

Arrowhead’s rental office was one of the big draws for me. Not owning skates or snowshoes, it makes winter activities easily accessible. In the same building there is a large warming room with lots of tables and chairs, almost cafeteria style. If you bring food, there are a couple of microwaves to warm it up.

Practical Information for Winter in Arrowhead Provincial Park

Hours and Fire and Ice Dates: Check here for the opening hours as well as the dates for Fire and Ice skate nights.

Cost: 20$ per vehicle, or 15$ per adult skiing. Allows multiple re-entries.

Getting to Arrowhead: Arrowhead is just off of Hwy 11 past Huntsville. From Toronto, it’s just over a 2-hour drive. If you don’t drive, you can check out when the Park Bus is running, it costs 84$ per adult.

Arrowhead Parking: While there are several lots open, the main lot at the rental centre seems to be
the most convenient for snowshoeing and skating. The lot does seem to get full on skate nights.

What to Pack: Lunch, snacks, water, winter gear (snowpants!!), helmets for skating (optional). There are chips and chocolate bars available for purchase and a water fountain with water bottle spout for refilling in the rental building.

Check Conditions: Because it is winter, in bad weather some trails need to be closed. Check the Arrowhead Ski Report to make sure the activities you want to do are open.

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Looking to make the most out of winter? Head to Arrowhead Provincial Park near Huntsville, Ontario. This Canadian gem of a park has night skating, snowshoe and ski trails for you to enjoy on this perfect day trip from Toronto #winter #arrowhead #skating #ontario
Arrowhead Provincial Park in Ontario Canada makes for a great day trip location from Toronto in the winter. There is night skating, snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, and more activities available to try out. #ontario #arrowhead #skating #daytrip

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5 Comments

  1. I have never been to Canada but the more I read about it, the more I feel like I need to visit! I’ve been living in the tropics the last 6 years so I’m not if I can survive the winter 😛 but perhaps the summer time! But Arrowhead looks lovely, thank you for sharing your travel tips!

    1. If you’re used to the tropics, visit southern Ontario in August when it gets ridiculously humid and hot! Winter here isn’t so bad if you have the right gear though like snow pants and warm boots 🙂

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