Backyard Challenge

Backyard Travel: Three Tiers of Winter Challenge

As everyone knows, international and domestic air travel is severely limited by the ongoing pandemic. But you don’t have to fly to an adventure. Rediscovering your backyard can highlight the wonder and beauty you maybe didn’t realize was already here.
With health top-of-mind these days, you might consider nordic (also called cross-country) skiing and snowshoeing. They’re both highly accessible and inclusive activities that make social distancing easy. And they provide a vigorous (but not necessarily extreme) workout. The images that were used in this blog were taken prior to COVID-19 we encourage everyone to follow Public Health Guidelines.

Here are three tiers of nordic ski/snowshoe challenge:

Mellow Family Challenge: Nordic Skiing or Snowshoeing Scenic Caves

Known mainly for its namesake Niagara Escarpment caves (open only in the green season) Scenic Caves also boasts a Nordic Centre with nordic and snowshoe trails winding through hilltop forests overlooking Georgian Bay. The trails are beginner-friendly, groomed daily and include access to southern Ontario’s longest suspension footbridge. Rentals available. Children welcome. Scenic Caves also offers two Adventure Playgrounds for youngsters.

More Intense Family Challenge: Skiing Highlands Nordic

This is one of Ontario’s top nordic ski destinations, with 25 km of groomed trails, singletrack for racing and training programs, plus a spacious lodge with cafeteria, pro-shop and rentals. Located near Duntroon, Highlands Nordic also offers winter fat biking, snowshoeing, a dog-friendly trail, night skiing to 8pm, and lessons for kids and adults. The trails are well-marked and safe for all ages and abilities, but slightly more challenging than Scenic Caves.

Higher-Octane Wilderness Adventure: Kolapore

An endurance mission for experienced athletes, skiing the Kolapore Forest Wilderness Trails will test your game. The volunteer Kolapore Wilderness Trails Association manages this 50 km network of trails about 20 km southwest of Collingwood. The trails are not machine-groomed; some are very steep and twisty; no dogs or snowshoes permitted. Access is free of charge. Essential stop: the nearby Ravenna Country Market which carries all kinds of nourishing goodies and also maps of the Kolapore trails. The map is a must, especially for first-time visitors.

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