With our long, cold winters, Ontarian’s know how to weather the cold. And it seems like year-after-year more amazing Ontario winter getaways and attractions are popping up. One of my favourite winter activities is skating on the incredible skating trails in Ontario that pop up once the ground freezes.
From the world’s longest ice rinks to torch-lit forest paths, these Ontario skating trails help you shake off the winter chill and enjoy our amazing winters in all of their glory.
These skating trails in Ontario can vary in style dramatically, but they all offer an incredible way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and explore the winter wonderland that those in Ontario are blessed have around us each and every year.
So grab some wool socks, strap on your skates, and let’s explore the best skating trails in Ontario.
Arrowhead Provincial Park Skate Trail in Huntsville
One of the most popular Ontario skating trails is the 1.3 km Arrowhead skating trail that winds through the forest outside of Huntsville, Ontario. This trail is absolutely beautiful and is wide enough that the whole family can enjoy this trail together.
Make sure to sign up for the spectacular Fire & Ice nights after January 4th. During these nights the Arrowhead skating trail is lit with hundreds of tiki torches. This makes for a wonderful romantic night out.
The Arrowhead head runs seasonally, as weather permits, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, with fire and ice nights running from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Access is included with park admission. Skates are available for rent at the park office.
Rideau Canal Skating Trail in Ottawa
At 7.8 kilometres in length, and stretching from downtown Ottawa out to the Hartwell Locks, the Rideau Canal skate-way is the longest skating trail in Ontario. In fact, it often clocks in as one of, if not the, longest skating trail in the world.
Because skating trails can change with season, it is only ever beaten, occasionally, by the Red River Mutual Skating Trail in Winnipeg, and the absolutely mammoth 30 km Lake Windermere skating trail in the Columbia Valley in B.C.
The Rideau Canal is practically a festival on its own. In the busy downtown core you’ll find plenty of food and beverage stands, skate rentals, and warming stations. These become less common the further out you go, but they’ll still be available at the major areas of this Ontario skating trail.
The Rideau Skating Trail generally opens around January 18th, weather permitting. Sometimes it can open in late December, and other times it may not open until February. There is no admission fee to access this skating trail.
River Oak Skating Trail in Ottawa
At 3 kilometres long, the frozen paths of the River Oak Skating Trail in Ottawa is dwarfed by the Rideau Canal. But, where the Rideau has size, River Oak has ambience.
This pretty Ontario skating trail winds through old-growth apple orchards and calm, clear meadows on a loop that you could do time and time again. And, unlike most Ontario skating trails, you are welcome to use your hockey stick and puck along the entire trail.
River Oaks has several ice rinks on the property to go along with the skating trail, so you definitely won’t run out of things to do. Friday nights, you can also enjoy the paths lit by romantic tiki torches.
The ice trails generally open in January and run from Thursday to Sunday, weather permitting. Adults (16+) are $12, youth and seniors (6-16 and 65+) are $8.
MacGregor Point Provincial Park Ice Skating Trail in Saugeen Shores
MacGregor Provincial Park in Saugeen Shores might be at its most popular during the summer camping season, but winter in MacGregor Point is quickly becoming high season.
Along with the gorgeous waterfront snowshoeing routes and winter bird-filled marsh walk, the 400-metre skating trail at MacGregor Point makes for an awesome reason to visit this Lake Huron park.
This might be shorter than some of the other Ontario skating trails, but the beautiful scenery and the shoreline forest adds a certain sparkle to this winter skating trail.
The MacGregor Point skating trail is open from dusk till dawn as weather permits. Access is included in the park admission.
Cranberry Marsh Ice Trail in Bala
Feel like combining some mulled cranberry wine with your Ontario skating trails? Than the Cranberry Marsh trail at the Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery is for you.
Not only can you enjoy the fabulous 1.2 km skating trail among 12-acres of pristine cranberry marsh, but you can also enjoy the on-site waterfalls and warm up by the fire while sipping on some hot mulled wine or steaming cranberry-apple cider straight from the farm.
The Cranberry Marsh skating trail generally opens in January. It runs on weekdays from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and on weekends from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, weather permitting. You can also enjoy a torchlight skate every Saturday night from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Adults are $10 and kids 12 and under are $8.
Bentway Skating Trail in Toronto
Even the big city of Toronto is hopping on the Ontario skating trails trend. There have long been great outdoor skating rinks in Toronto, but when this opened up in 2018, it changed the way we look at winter in Toronto.
The Bentway skating trail stretches for 1.75 kilometres beneath Toronto’s iconic Gardiner Expressway. It’s become a way to beautify a once overlooked area of Toronto and bring new life to the Toronto waterfront.
The Toronto Bentway skating trail is open from noon till 9:00 pm. There are skate rentals available, and they are free from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. You’ll find on-site vendors selling everything from Kahlua coffee to hot chocolate and Beaver Tails.
Admission to the Bentway Skate Trail is ree of charge. It typically opens in late December to mid-January weather permitting.
Lift Lock Skate Park in Peterborough
Known as the “gateway to cottage-country,” the beautiful city of Peterborough is home to the Trent River and Trent Canal that connects so many of the amazing lakes of Peterborough and the Kawarthas.
If you haven’t seen it before, the Peterborough Lift Lock is a technological marvel. It was built in 1904 and is still the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world.
During the summer months, this is a popular route for those boating the Trent-Severn waterway. But during the winter months, the area below the Lift Lock is transformed into a winter wonderland with a huge stretch cleared for the Lift Lock skating trail.
There is no cost to access this Ontario skating trail. And on weekends and holidays, you can usually find vendors selling hot chocolate and coffee.
Island Lake Ice Skating Trail in Orangeville
Island Lake Conservation Area is a point of pride for residents of Orangeville. This lovely outdoor space features a picturesque, shallow lake that draws in anglers from across the province as well, as a scenic 8-km walking trail that meanders across boardwalks and through forests.
During the winters, as weather permits, the park opens up a 1 kilometre skating trail along the ice surface. There is also a circular rink cleared for pond hockey and other skating activities.
This is a popular spot for locals on weekends and drawn visitors from the surrounding area as well. Access to the Island Lake skate trail is included with park admission.
Woodview Mountaintop Skating Trail in The Blue Mountains
Not only are the Blue Mountains one of the most popular downhill ski resorts in Ontario, but it is now home to one of Ontario’s best skating trails. This 1.1 kilometre skating trail zips across the trails at the top of the Blue Mountain ski resort.
The Woodview Mountaintop Skating Trail at Blue Mountain resort zips through forests from 6:00 pm till 8:00 pm while the trail is lit by tiki torches. There are skate rentals available on-site if you don’t have your own.
A two-hour admission is $13 for youth and $16 for adults. The Blue Mountain skating trail often opens in mid-December weather permitting.
Discovery Harbour Skate Trail in Penetanguishene
Now going into its third winter, the Discovery Harbour Skate Trail on the shores of Penetanguishene Bay offers an ideal opportunity to experience winter in southern Georgian Bay.
This 1.5 kilometre Ontario skating trail offers the chance to skate along a route filled an incredible naval history of shipwrecks and tall ships.
The Discovery Harbour skate trail generally opens at the end of January and runs through until the beginning of March, weather permitting. Children 5 and under are free. All others require an $8 admission fee. All skate trail access requires a waiver.
Other Great Skating Trails in Ontario
These might be some of the best skating trails Ontario has to offer, but there are some other amazing skating trails in Ontario worth discovering. Here are a few honourable mentions. And we’ll add more as they pop up.
We’re quite sure there will be many more great ice skating trails arriving in the near future.
Laurentian Valley Skating Trail in Pembroke
Another one of the fabulous Ontario skating trails is the 1.5 km forest loop in Pembroke, Ontario. This beautiful skate park is located next to the Timberline Snowmobile Club and has free admission.
Simcoe County Museum Skating Trail in Minesing
Beyond being a great road trip from Toronto, Simcoe County offers some great winter fun. The Simcoe County Museum Skating Trail is a wonderful 1.1 kilometre loop that winds past the Simcoe County Museum and heritage buildings and through a scenic forested pathway.
Admission for adults (25+)is $10 while youth (4-24) are $8. Children aged 3 and under are free.
Colonel Samuel Smith Park Skating Trail in Toronto
Another great Toronto skating trail is the Colonel Samul Smith Park figure 8-trail. Located along the wooded shoreline near the Kipling and Lakeshore area, this popular skate trail draws visitors from across the city.
This Skate trail in Ontario is usually open from mid-January till March break, weather dependent. There is no cost for admission.
Gage Park Skating Loop in Brampton
This short but scenic Brampton skating trail is a popular destination around the holidays. The Gage Park skating trail is gorgeously decorated with holiday scenes and lights.
You’ll find skate rentals available as well as food vendors. There is also a beginners area for those just learning to skate. It’s open from 10:00 am till 10:00 pm with extended hours from December 21 till January 5th. Weather permitting.
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