On the trail: Where to ski and snowshoe in Lanark County
When the air turns frosty and a thick blanket of snow covers the forest floor, cross country skiers and snowshoers rejoice, heading out onto quiet, snow-covered trails to make tracks. Here in Lanark County, winter is one of our favourite times of the year, and skiing and snowshoeing season is reason to celebrate.
So if the view outside your window is filled with white, grab your skis or snowshoes and head out to explore some of our favourite trails from a wintry perspective. Read on for six places to ski or snowshoe in Lanark County.
PERTH WILDLIFE RESERVE
Bring your sense of adventure to the Perth Wildlife Reserve to enjoy a 2.5-kilometre loop through the woodland area with several wildlife species – so keep your eyes peeled! Get ready for some adventure as the trail is not maintained, leaving you to blaze your own trail through the pristine snow.
Getting There: You can access the trail from the trailhead only short drive from the town of Perth, on Wildlife Road.
MURPHYS POINT PROVINCIAL PARK
For more extensive cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, head to Murphys Point Provincial Park in Tay Valley. The cross-country ski trail network includes 14-kilometres of trail track for classic skiing, 4-kilometres for skate skiing and 8-kilometres for backcountry skiing. Suggested snowshoe routes are along non-groomed hiking trails, hike visitor favourites the Beaver Trail (1-kilometre), and the Silver Queen Mine Trail (2-kilometres).
Getting There: You can enter these trails either at the primary trailhead, located just before the main entrance at the winter parking lot, or at the second trail head, further along Country Road 21 at the Lally Homestead.
44th ANNUAL TAY VALLEY (VIRTUAL) LOPPET
If you want to step up your cross country skiing game, a little competition could be just the thing to get you moving. The 44th Annual Tay Valley Loppet is taking place virtually this year between Jan. 1 and March 14.
This loppet takes you among the Murphys Point trails, where skiers are able to compete any race distance of their choosing at any time between the loppet dates. Choose between a 5-kilometre freestyle or a 16-kilometre classic race and push yourself to new limits.
Getting There: Access Murphys Point from the trailhead locations described above. Maps can be found on the Tay Valley Ski Club Website.
Home to Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, Mississippi Mills is also home to several fantastic ski and snowshoe trails. Head to Mount Pakenham to enjoy 10-kilometres of scenic cross-country ski and snowshoe trails, where you will feel the stress of the day or week melt away.
Mount Pakenham has four trails for you to explore: The Winter Outdoor Wonder (WOW) trail, (5-kilometres); the Blue trail (2-kilometres); the Green trail (5.5-kilometres); and the Yellow trail (2-kilometres). Snowshoers are asked to stay to the side of the trail as not to impact the cross-country skiing trail conditions.
Getting There: Mount Pakenham is located only a few kilometres southwest of the village of Pakenham. Trails can be accessed directly from the main parking area at the ski hill, to the right of the lodge.
MILL OF KINTAIL
Visit Mill of Kintail, one of the seven wonders of Lanark County, for more scenic, woodland ski and snowshoe trails. The Mill of Kintail has a network of forested trails that span 6.5-kiloemtres and can be explored year-round from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. The trails are on mostly level land that makes moderate cross-country skiing conditions.
Getting There: Park in the parking area located just inside the main gates at the Mill. Trails can be accessed from the parking area or continue down the laneway which runs to the on-site museum to access additional trails.
WHEELERS PANCAKE HOUSE & SUGAR CAMP
Wheelers Pancake House and Sugar Camp mixes two of the most Canadian things: maple syrup and winter activities. Enjoy skiing and snowshoeing on seven trails which range from 1-kilometre to 8-kilometres long, looping through the maple filled forest that produce Wheelers delicious maple syrup. Before leaving, head to into the shop for some maple products to cheers to the end of a truly Canadian day.
Getting There: Park right at the pancake house to access the trail loops that are located adjacent to the sugarcamp. Trails are well signed for easy access.