When I think about snowshoeing, I often recall an ill-fated school trip during which those who weren’t capable of downhill skiing were made to endure a five kilometre trek through the forests of Quebec. At the time, I found the activity painfully boring and physically exhausting.
How wrong I was.
Snowshoeing through a powder-coated landscape is one of the most scenic ways to enjoy the winter, and while it’s physically challenging, you don’t need to be an endurance athlete to try it out.
The most intriguing snowshoeing adventures near Toronto this winter dial the atmosphere up by taking place at night. You can trek through the heart of a forest with only a head lamp and moonlight to guide you.
There’s actually quite a few places to try out this novel outdoors experience. The folks at Scenic Caves Adventures run regular guided nighttime snowshoe hikes, which include passage across their giant suspension bridge (though it’s obviously less impressive in the dark).
You’ll also find a similar program at Horseshoe Valley, which heads out on the cross country ski trails after darkness falls. There’s also occasionally night skiing through the woods, but it’s less frequent.
Two other nighttime snowshoeing adventures worth mentioning are coming up later this month. Hardwood Ski & Bike will host a moonlight snowshoe and fondue feast on January 27 (and again on February 10), which involves a 5km hike followed by dinner in the chalet.
Astronomy fans, on the other hand, might consider the snowshoe adventure at Cold Creek Conservation Area, which also takes place on January 27. Located near King City, this one is just a short drive from Toronto up the 400.
Most snowshoe events have rentals on site, but even if they don’t, you can rent a pair at Mountain Equipment Co-op before heading out to explore the snowy nocturnal world north of Toronto.