Snowshoeing 101

When the snow covers the ground in Grey County, there are many ways to get outside, for the entire family.  Snowshoeing is a great low impact way to explore Grey County’s trails and forests that might otherwise be difficult to hike during the winter months. With ample snowfall and abundant views from atop the Niagara Escarpment, snowshoeing in Grey County is a must-try experience this winter. It’s something the whole family can take part in, from the toddlers to the grandparents. 

Before you head out

While snowshoeing is a fairly ‘easy’ activity for many, it can be challenging for beginners, especially for the kiddos, to get the hang of. There are a few things to consider before heading out, and practice makes perfect, so be patient if it’s your first time. It’s a good idea to test out your snowshoes before you’re already halfway down a trail into the forest. Remember that while you can cover quite a bit of ground on foot, it’s slower going on snowshoes. You can still get a great work out, if that’s what you’re after, but you can also take your time, watch for wildlife, follow tracks and enjoy the silence of a fresh snowfall. One thing to remember is that snow completely changes the landscape. Whether you’re visiting a trail for the first time or heading somewhere you’ve been to many times before, remember that crevices, cracks, rivers and ditches are much harder to see under a blanket of snow. Approach with caution and stay back from the escarpment edges. Many of Grey County’s trails are also multi-use.  When snowshoeing in an area with maintained cross-country ski trails, be sure to respect the groomed ski tracks. Keep well to the side of the trail and leave plenty of room for pole plants beside the track set. Also keep in mind that some multi-use trails permit snowmobiles, so keep yours eyes and ears peeled for them as you go.

Where to go

Be sure to check our Winter Activity Map for the latest updates on winter access, parking and other guidelines.

Snowshoes are also a great way to access some of our waterfalls. Inglis Falls, Weavers Creek Falls, and McGowan Falls are some great places to explore on snowshoes. Always be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out. Some of our locations that are off the beaten path may not have snow removal for parking access immediately after a heavy snow fall or ice event. Check out or winter waterfall with a downloadable map.

Many Bruce Trail hikes are also suitable for snowshoeing. If you’re feeling skilled enough, you can snowshoe to the highest point on the Bruce Trail in Pretty River Provincial Park. Harrison Park in Owen Sound, or the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority’s Arboretum are also great spots for beginners to try out snowshoeing on some fairly flat terrain.

With the sport growing in popularity, several local tourism businesses offer snowshoe trails on site like Scenic Caves Nordic Adventures and Cobble Beach Golf Links.  Both Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery and Georgian Hills Vineyards allow snowshoeing through the vineyards and offer delicious local wine and food to warm you up after.  Blue Mountain Resort also offers the option to snowshoe one of four trails including one called K’Bye which is a scenic loop across the top of the mountain around the Woodview Mountaintop Skating Loop. Be sure to purchase a pass ahead of time.

If you are new to snowshoeing and a guided snowshoe adventure is more of your style, you can contact At Last Adventures or Free Spirit Tours who are ready to share their knowledge and guide you on your snowshoe hike.

When snowshoeing here are a few safety tips to remember:

  • Always snowshoe with a partner, if you must hike solo, share your plans in advance, and check in;
  • Carrying a cell phone, snacks and water is always a good idea;
  • Remember to follow the signs, stay on marked trails and away from any drop offs;
  • Be alert to dangers along the trail such as water, ice, falling snow, cliff edges, etc;
  • Be aware of what time the sun sets and avoid being out after dark;
  • Be aware of hunting seasons in the area you are hiking in, dress in bright colours;
  • Be sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing to suit the weather; snowshoes will be especially helpful to visit those with a longer hiking distance between the parking lot and the falls;
  • Leave only footprints and take only photographs when you leave. Please do not litter or damage any natural areas;
  • Consider the weather, road and trail conditions before heading out. Some parking lots may not be plowed, especially immediately after a heavy snowfall. The trails suggested are not maintained by the County of Grey, and caution should be practiced when using them.

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Let’s all do our part to ensure the year gets off to a good start by staying home and supporting our local businesses from the comfort of our internet browsers.

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