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5 Great Snowmobiling Areas for Your Winter Holiday Week

5 Great Snowmobiling Areas for Your Winter Holiday Week



 

intrepid snowmobiler

 

For most riders, it’s hard to get your head around how big snowmobiling is in Ontario. That’s because the province is almost twice as large as Texas and criss-crossed with more than 30,000 kilometres (18,000 miles) of top-notch snowmobile trails. In fact, #ontariosnowtrails rank as the world’s longest recreational trail system, with more total distance than the province’s highway system.

It’s easy to put on 250 to 400 kilometres (175 to 260 miles) day after day in Ontario, without feeling beat or riding after dark. So if you share my passion for racking up the miles, this is the place to ride. Here you’ll discover an endless trail network including old logging roads, abandoned rail lines and utility corridors that will surpass anything in your previous experience…and lots of eye-candy scenery too!

Regardless of how often I ride Ontario, the thrill never seems to end. One reason is that Ontario’s trails are rarely crowded. Another reason is that season length and snowfall also make Ontario a standout. Throughout much of the Southern Ontario snowbelt, a 10 to 12-week season is usual. In many parts of Northern Ontario, season length can exceed 16 weeks, with snow that comes early and stays late.

Trail riding is what Ontario’s all about. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) and its over 200 local clubs have operated this trail system for almost 50 years, investing almost $500 million into trail development during this time. The benefit to riders is that OFSC trails are connected and consistent, mapped and marked for touring and maintained by a fleet of over 300 heavy industrial groomers. The OFSC trail system is well planned to connect hundreds of friendly snowbelt communities, so that fuel, food, service and lodging are frequent, findable and accessible.

So you’ve got a week off to go snowmobiling – where should you go? Based on my extensive riding in Ontario, here are six of your best bets for a snowmobiling vacation (listed in alphabetical order)…

Cottage Country - Muskoka, Haliburton, Bancroft

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Ontario’s summer playground lays out the white carpet for snowmobilers every winter through OFSC District 6 & District 7, in the Explorer’s Edge and Ontario’s Highlands tourism regions. Here, riders can explore over 3,000 kilometres of scenic trails through the Muskoka, Haliburton and Bancroft areas, with plenty of day riding and saddle bagging options. 

Best Eastern Staging Hotel: Bancroft Inn & Suites, Bancroft

Best Western Staging Hotel: Residence Inn by Marriott, Gravenhurst

Bonus: Highlands sledding in Haliburton, Madawaska and Almaguin areas

Eastern Ontario - Calabogie, Ottawa, Cornwall

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Head for the triangle formed by the meeting of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers, where OFSC District 1 grooms almost 4,000 kilometres of trails including eight well-planned loops. Here in the Ontario’s Highlands, Great Waterway and Ottawa tourism regions, you can either ride a saddlebag tour to various destinations throughout the region or day trips out of a town like Morrisburg.

Best Staging Hotel: McIntosh Country Inn, Morrisburg

Bonus: Francophone flair along the Lower Ottawa River.

Nickel Belt Region - Sudbury, Espanola, Manitoulin Island

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Ontario’s oldest planned trail system, the Sudbury Trail Plan, anchors over 1,800 kilometres of superb trail riding in OFSC District 12, now also including three of the best sledding loops anywhere. Stage out of Sudbury for these three day rides and then do some exceptional saddle bagging to explore the rest of Northeastern Ontario tourism region. #rideneontario

Best Staging Hotel: Moonlight Inn & Suites, Sudbury

Bonus: Follow the ice trail to Manitoulin Island.

Northern Corridor Adventure - Cochrane, Kapuskasing, Hearst, Hornepayne

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Stage from Polar Bear Riders Snowmobile Club in CochraneNortheastern Ontario for your saddlebag tour of OFSC District 15. Snowmobile west on TOP Trail A to explore over 1,700 kilometres of primo trails, including five of Ontario’s top loop rides along the way.

Best Staging Hotel: Thriftlodge, Cochrane

Bonus: Ontario longest sledding season means fantastic early and late season sledding.

Southwestern Ontario - Owen Sound, Grey Bruce, Bruce Peninsula

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“Bring on the lake effect snow!” That’s the oft-heard cheer from snowmobilers visiting this northern section of Southwestern Ontario where Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are both major snow generators for the Bruce Grey Simcoe tourism region. Plenty of snow enables OFSC District 9 to deliver over 3,000 kilometres of stellar trails in the Grey Bruce for either saddle bagging or day tripping.

Best Staging Hotel: Best Western Inn on the Bay, Owen Sound

Bonus: Ride up the Bruce Peninsula from Wiarton to Tobermory.

 

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